Joseph A. Costa PhD

Joseph Costa

Joseph A. Costa

Instructor (HS)

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Anatomic Pathology; Molecular and Cellular Biology

Contact Information
955 Main St.
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-829-2541
Fax: 716-829-2725

Professional Summary:

I am a functional morphologist with a background rooted in physical anthropology and both human and comparative anatomy. Central to my role as an instructor is the use of digital imaging technology to visualize the human body at both the micro- and macroscopic levels.

While classic teaching methods such as dissection remain vital components of biomedical education, there is a wealth of opportunity to examine the human body more deeply through computer-aided investigation. Of particular interest to me is the impressive potential of imaging techniques such computer tomography (CT) to create both physical and virtual representations of anatomical elements. More recent techniques such as diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT) provide the means to visualize the nuance of soft-tissue architecture and therefore contribute to more realistic digital representations of the various systems of the body. Three-dimensional (3D) printed specimen provide the means to observe both healthy and pathological specimen without the need for potentially destructive dissection. 3D meshes created from scans serve an equally important role as teaching tools, and can prove invaluable to clinicians and researchers alike.

These technologies have proven invaluable to my ongoing research on the function of the long canines of saber-toothed cats in killing prey. I employ both physical and digital three-dimensional models created from scans of fossil specimen in simulated biting experiments. In this way, I attempt to observe the response to mechanical loading on the skulls, jaws, and teeth of animals not seen for millennia. Methodologies such as these have important implications to biomedical education as well as research, and open the door for student learning opportunities both in and outside of the dissection lab.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Anatomical Science, State University of New York at Buffalo (2018)
  • MA, Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo (2012)
  • MS, Education, St. Thomas Aquinas (2006)
  • Liberal Arts, Sara lawrence College (2003)

Awards and Honors:

  • Nomination Preclinical Factulty (2023)
  • Annual Life Raft Debate Winner (2022)


  • Hypermobility Support Brace 3D printed brace device. Prevents disarticulation of interphalangeal joints in individuals with Ehlers Danlos syndrome. (2023)

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association for Anatomy; "In addition to being the primary educators of healthcare profession students in their first year of training, AAA members work in imaging, cell biology, genetics, molecular development, endocrinology, histology, neuroscience, forensics, microscopy, physical anthropology, and numerous other developing areas. " (2018–present)


  • "International Congress for Vertebrate Morphology" International Congress for Vertebrate Morphology Symposium (2023)

Service Activities:

  • Review of articles for The Anatomical Record; Peer Review (2023–present)
  • I currently lead the development of an interactive public outreach project that incorporates in-house 3D models, histological cross sections, and specimen. The goal is to develop a program suitable for effective public outreach which allows the user to browse the department's anatomical collections and observe the impact of the Anatomical Gift Program.; Project leader (2023–present)
  • Presented interactive lecture on human osteology to kindergarten students at Nardin Montesorri.; Presenter (2022–present)
  • Guest lecturer at Holland Middle School. Topic: Form and function of vertebrate anatomy; Presenter (2022–present)
  • Led demonstration of cadaveric prosection to students of SUNY Buffalo State.; Tour guide/presenter (2022–present)
  • Gave interactive presentation to kindergarten class at Nardin Montessori.; Presenter (2022–present)
  • Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences; Faculty Council alternate representative (2022–present)
  • I currently maintain the PAS 3D printers and their associated computers. Additionally, I fulfill printing requests which includes both printing and post-processing.; Technician (2021–present)
  • I am currently developing an anatomy-focused extra-curricular program for high school students at Nardin Academy. Proposed project includes exploration of anatomy and histology that both compliments and supplements current coursework for anatomy elective.; Program planner (2020–present)
  • Responsible for 3D surface scanning of cadaveric specimen and development of three-dimensional digital models of neuroanatomical structures. Digital assets will be implemented in interactive learning tools.; Content developer: JSMBS Brain Museum (2020–present)
  • Presentation at Nardin Montessori Gave presentation on animal dentition within context of my current research. Discussed tooth morphology in relation to diet as well as general cranial adaptations. Students ranged in age from 3-6. Class had opportunities to handle skulls, anatomical models, and 3-D printed objects.; Guest Lecturer (2020–present)
  • Led tours of the gross anatomy lab for students of the University at Buffalo Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP); Tour guide (2020–present)
  • Served as committee member of Curriculum Advisory Task Force. Engaged in discussions with other faculty regarding proposed changes to medical education. Provided suggestions for updating/modifying instructional practices.; Committee member (2020–present)
  • National Biomechanics Day Presented information regarding the biomechanics of sabertooth cats. Presented at one of several individual stations, demonstrating research methods. Presented imaging technology, i.e. scanning, segmentation, 3-D mesh creation, on computer, as well as printed models.; Presentor (2019)
  • Girl Scouts go to Neuro School Led scouts on tours of UB brain museum. Responsible for presentation of specimen and mini lectures on neuroanatomy and pathology.; Presentor (2014–2018)

School News:

In the Media:

Clinical Specialties:

Clinical Offices:

Insurance Accepted:

Contact Information

955 Main St.
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-829-2541
Fax: 716-829-2725