NMU Student holding bone in lab.

Forensic Research Outdoor Station

The NMU Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) is an outdoor research facility that facilitates research and education intended to advance knowledge and understanding of forensic taphonomy, anthropology, decomposition and other forensic sciences, especially as they are affected by considerable snow accumulation and repeated freezing and thawing in a high-latitude climate.

Body Donation Program

FROST and the associated Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory rely on a willed body program for donations of human remains for all research and education purposes. Our willed body program is highly ethical and promises dignified, respectful treatment of all donors. We accept donations from the donors themselves and from legal next-of-kin—we do not accept unclaimed or unidentified persons. Body donations to our program are “forever donations,” meaning the remains are curated permanently at NMU.

Experience Learning

FROST provides experiential learning for students who have an interest in the forensic sciences. After students complete prerequisite courses and training, they are eligible to assist with taphonomy research in the outdoor facility, casework and analysis in the laboratory, and involvement in forensic casework.


Michigan State University Department of Entomology researchers Dr. Eric Benbow and Dr. Jennifer Pechal and their graduate student(s) are conducting a FROST research project in cooperation with NMU’s Dr. Jane (Wankmiller) Harris and Dr. Matt Van Grinsven and NMU undergraduate students. This research will involve analysis of insects, microbes, and soil chemistry as they relate to human decomposition and the postmortem interval.The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, M.D., School of Medicine, Department of Pathology hosted NMU student Rachel Smith in the first ever NMU-WMed forensic anthropology internship. During her four-week on-site work experience, Rachel assisted with daily morgue operations & forensic anthropology casework, and collected data for a research study which she presented with WMed Forensic Anthropologists Dr. Isaac and Dr. Cornelison at the 2019 American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting.Dr. (Wankmiller) Harris and the FROST team are available to assist law enforcement and medical examiners with human/non-human determination, search & recovery, skeletal analysis, forensic facial reconstructions and other services. For more information, visit the "Consulting and Forensic Services" tab. Seen here from left to right are: Max Spiessel, Kara Cox, Dr. (Wankmiller) Harris, Riley Jepkema, Dr. Demel.

Sociology and Anthropology2400 Jamrich906-227-1148frost@nmu.edu