Portrait of Dr Patrick Mahoney

Dr Patrick Mahoney

Reader in Human Skeletal Biology


Dr Patrick Mahoney is a human skeletal biologist who specialises in reconstructing the cell mechanisms underlying the morphology of hard tissues, especially deciduous teeth and long bones. This allows Patrick to address questions related to growth and development, bioarchaeology and human evolution. 

Dr Mahoney was awarded a first class BSc degree in Archaeology from University College London in 1999, and a distinction for an MSc in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology from the University of Sheffield in 2000. With Research Council funding, he gained a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2004. Before joining the School of Anthropology and Conservation at Kent in 2008 as a Lecturer in Biological Anthropology, Patrick was employed as a postdoctoral researcher on AHRC and NSF-funded projects researching dental development in humans and fossil primates.

Research interests

Biorhythm of childhood growth

Funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2019-2022). Examining the ways cell mechanisms relate to biorhythms and somatic growth rates across human populations. Collaborating with Professor Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg (Ohio State University), Dr Carolina Loch and Sophie White (University of Otago), Dr Priscilla Bayle (University of Bordeaux), Dr Bruce Floyd (University of Auckland), Dr Gina McFarlane and Rosie Pitfield (University of Kent) 

Deciduous tooth growth in modern humans 

Producing population-specific tooth growth charts in a global sample of children. The charts can be used to estimate juvenile age-at-death and to identify the timing of surface enamel defects. Funded by a Royal Society equipment grant.

Comparisons of great ape and modern human deciduous teeth

Identifying differences in the cell mechanisms that lead to tooth morphology, to contribute towards our understanding of human evolution 

Deciduous tooth growth in the Krapina Neanderthals

Analysing the microstructure of Neandertal fossil deciduous teeth (130 ka BP), via synchrotron radiation microtomography, to characterise the prenatal and early post-natal phases of Neanderthal ontogeny. Collaborating with Dr Alessia Nava (PI on the project; University of Rome, University of Kent), Dr Davorka Radovčič (Croatian Natural History Museum), Luca Bondioli (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome), Alfredo Coppa (University of Rome), Professor David Frayer (University of Kansas).


Dr Mahoney is not teaching this academic year as he is working full-time on a research project.


Dr Mahoney can supervise research projects in human skeletal biology, especially histology projects that aim to understand microstructural growth mechanisms, and is happy to discuss potential projects,

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Emmy Bocaege (British Academy Fellow)
  • Dr Mona Le Luyer (Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellow)
  • Dr Gina McFarlane (Leverhulme Trust Fellow)
  • Dr Alessia Nava (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow)
  • Dr Mona Le Luyer (Fyssen Foundation Fellow, 2016-17) 

PhD and MSc by research (primary supervisor)



  • PhD 2014. Justyna J. Miszkiewicz. 'Ancient Human Bone Histology and Behaviour.'
  • MSc by Research. Simon Chapple. 2016. 'Enamel growth and biorhythms.' 
  • MSc by Research. Alice Moden. 2016. 'Weaning and tooth enamel growth in modern humans: a combined histological and Scanning Electron Microscope approach.'
  • MSc by Research. 2011. Elizabeth Rowing. 'Stable isotope signatures of diet in Iron Age and Anglo Saxon Kent.'
  • MSc by Research. 2011. Katheraine Scane. 'Diet inferred from carbon and nitrogen istope ratios in Neotlihic and Bronze Age Kent.'
  • MSc by Research. 2011. Claire Barrett. 'Masticatory mechanics and the production of dental microwear in Gorilla, Pan and Papio.'
  • MSc by Research. 2009. Helen Bluck. 'The forgotten bones of Medieval Woodchurch: an osteological and palaeopathological assessment.'

Co-supervisor / committee member

  • PhD Chris Aris. 'Enamel thickness and microstructure in ancient England.'
  • PhD Ana Curto. 'The impact of diet and health on bone stable isotope ratios: A comparative study.'
  • PhD Mackie O’Hara. 'Taxonomic and functional implications of enamel thickness in Homo naledi: a comparative approach incorporating developmental variables.' (The Ohio State University) 
  • PhD Tahlia Stewart. 'The effect of different dietary regimes on human bone physiology.' (Australian National University)
  • PhD Thomasina White. 'Health analysis of Medieval Canterbury's St. Gregory's and Cemetery.'


  • Manager of the Human Osteology Lab, which is equipped for dental casting, sectioning hard tissue, thin section preparation, high resolution microscopy, image analysis, and collagen isolation for isotopic analysis.
  • Curator of the Biological Anthropology human skeletal collection.
  • Director of the University commercial osteology unit (KORA).
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