David C. Hyland

David C. Hyland


Professor of Human Body Structure and Function


Courses: MED 512 Human Body Structure and Function

Dr. David C. Hyland has had a long and successful career as a scholar-teacher and as an academic administrator. Hyland earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. Early in his career he taught human anatomy for the Physician Assistant program at Gannon University, Erie, PA, and served as a staff archaeologist at the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute before joining the faculty of Mercyhurst University full time, earning tenure, and progressing to full professor.

Dr. Hyland has taught over 4,000 students and published or presented more than 100 articles, book chapters, papers, reviews and reports. He has also overseen and managed numerous labs—including the Organic Residues Analysis Facility and the R. L. Andrews Center for Perishables Analysis—the Department of Biology, the School of Health Professions and Public Health, and Mercyhurst North East, a branch campus, all at Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA.

As chair of the Department of Biology, Dr. Hyland revamped the academic program, developed a Bachelor of Science degree, increased the number of majors from 25 to 155, and designed and oversaw the construction of the Donald and Judith Alstadt Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Research, the Ecology Laboratory, and the Hirtzel Human Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology Laboratory.

As Vice President for Mercyhurst North East, Dr. Hyland oversaw and managed a $604,000 project to create the Hirtzel Maternity and Pediatric Simulation Learning Center, a $500,000 project to re-envision and renovate the Student Union and create a Help Hallway, and a $900,000 project to reinvigorate and overhaul the campus’s dining hall.  Dr. Hyland also oversaw and, in conjunction with the Sisters of Mercy, championed the development of the unique Women With Children program designed to provide year round, on campus living assistance and an avenue to earning a college degree for single mothers.  From the academic side of the house, Dr. Hyland played a central role in stabilizing and improving the ADN-Nursing program, conducting a thorough program review of the PN-Nursing and Massage Therapy programs, and spearheading a marketing study to inform the development of singular academic programs in the fields of math and information technology.

More recently, Dr. Hyland returned to the classroom and has focused on teaching anatomy to master’s students in Athletic Training and Physician Assistant Studies. Dr. Hyland is now proud to be joining Saba University School of Medicine where he is looking forward to applying his deep anatomical experience to the education of tomorrow’s doctors.

  • Human Anatomy
  • Adaption to Extreme Environments
  • Prehistoric Protein Residues


Dr. Hyland has published or presented more than 100 articles, book chapters, papers, reviews, and consultant reports principally in journals of archaeology and anthropology.

Though principally trained as a biological and archaeological anthropologist, Dr. Hyland’s interests are wide and varied. His most recent project involved an investigation of the anatomical variations in the architecture of the thumb. In the past, he has explored the social connections between theories of culture and artistic movements, conducted archaeological fieldwork in faraway places like Mongolia and Ukraine, analyzed the material culture and perishable industries from numerous North American archaeological sites, and developed immunological techniques for identifying historic and prehistoric protein residues. Taken together, Hyland’s work has always been about creating a multi-vocal and holistic picture of the structure, function, history, and culture of the human species.

Dr. Hyland has presented dozens of papers, guest lectures, and public presentations to local medical organizations, forensic workshops, scientific societies, historical societies, high schools, state parks, alumni events, and recruitment efforts. The topics of these talks include the analysis of protein residues, skeletal paleopathology, human anatomy, fieldwork in the Gobi Desert, Native American history, and archaeological heritage.


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