Dr Patrick Mahoney

Reader in Human Skeletal Biology,
Director of Research - Anthropology,
MSc Forensic Osteology and Field Recovery Methods Convenor
+44 (0)1227 827927
Dr Patrick Mahoney


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

Dr Mahoney’s current research interests include:

  • Biorhythms and human growth
  • Histology of hominoid deciduous teeth
  • Evolution of human bone microstructure

Current Projects

Biorhythm of childhood growth

  • Funded by The Leverhulme Trust (4 years: 1/2019-10/2022). PI: Dr Patrick Mahoney. 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 Sophie White (University of Otago). Examining the ways biorhythms relate to cell mechanisms in deciduous enamel and somatic growth rates across human populations.

Evolution of human tooth enamel: unlocking hidden cell mechanisms

  • Funded by a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (2 years: 2/2022-9/2024). Awarded to Mackie O’Hara. Supervised by Dr Patrick Mahoney. Combining 3D and 2D microtomography, histology, and theoretical biology to identify links between enamel growth and thickness to reveal novel traits in our fossil ancestors that will contribute new classification knowledge to our understanding of human evolution.

Weaning Practices in Ancient Italy

  • Funded by a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (2 years: 9/2020-9/2022). Awarded to Dr Alessia Nava. Supervised by Dr Patrick Mahoney. Investigating weaning age during the Neolithic revolution and origins of urbanism in Italy using histological and chemical signals from archaeological and modern samples of bones and teeth

Deciduous dental development of the Krapina Neanderthals (130 ka BP)

  • Dr Alessia Nava (PI on the project). Collaborating with Dr Patrick Mahoney (University of Kent), Dr Davorka Radovčič (Croatian Natural History Museum), Paola Cerrito (New York University), Dr Lucia Mancini (Elettra Sincrotrone, Trieste), Luca Bondioli (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome), Alfredo Coppa (University of Rome), Professor David Frayer (University of Kansas). Analysing the microstructure of Neandertal fossil deciduous teeth using synchrotron radiation microtomography to characterise the prenatal and early post-natal phases of Neanderthal ontogeny.


Patrick convenes the following modules:

  • ANTB5690: Palaeopathology
  • SACO8170: Growth and Disease of the Human Skeleton
  • SAC08120: Research Design and Advanced Analytical Methods
  • SAC08180: Field Excavation and Recovery Methods  

And contributes to:

  • ANTB3020: Foundations of Biological Anthropology
  • ANTB5330: Independent Research Project
  • SAC08130: MSc Dissertation Projects


Dr Mahoney can supervise research in human skeletal biology and is happy to discuss potential projects.

Current Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Mackie O’Hara (Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellow. 2022 - 2024)
  • Dr Alessia Nava (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow. 2020 - 2022)
  • Dr Gina McFarlane (Leverhulme Trust Fellow. 2019 - 2022)

Current PhD students

  • PhD Thomasina White. (University of Kent) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD. Elissia Burrows. (University of Kent) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Kaita Gurian. (The Ohio State University) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Owen Higgins. (University of Bologna) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Tahlia Stewart. (Australian National University) (co-supervisor)

Past Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Emmy Bocaege (British Academy Fellow. 2018-2020)
  • Dr Mona Le Luyer (Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellow. 2018-2020)
  • Dr Mona Le Luyer (Fyssen Foundation Fellow. 2016-17)

Past PhD and MSc by research students

  • PhD Jessica Dolding-Smith. (University of Kent) (primary supervisor)
  • PhD Mackie O’Hara 2021. (The Ohio State University) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Chris Aris. 2021. (University of Kent) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Rosie Pitfield. 2019 (University of Kent) (primary supervisor)
  • PhD Ana Curto. 2019. (University of Kent) (co-supervisor)
  • PhD Justyna J. Miszkiewicz. 2014. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. Simon Chapple. 2016. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. Alice Moden. 2016. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. Elizabeth Rowing. 2011. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. Katherine Scane. 2011. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. 2011. Claire Barrett. 2011. (primary supervisor)
  • MSc by Research. Helen Bluck. 2009. (co-supervisor)


  • Editorial Board Member: Annals of Human Biology  
  • Editorial Board Member: American Journal of Biological Anthropology.
  • 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. 
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