Dr. Schmidt recieved his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1998. He is a biological anthropologist and Eastern Woodlands archeologist. His research interests include dental anthropology, skeletal biology, dietary reconstruction, subsistence, and human-paleofauna interactions.
His current research focuses on reconstructing lifeways for the earliest inhabitants of Indiana. He has studied prehistoric populations from throughout the state and led excavations at sites dating from 1,000 to over 5,000 years old. In 2003 he led the excavation of a site that dates to around 10,000 years ago and includes the remains of a mastodon. He is particularly interested in seeing how diet affects the human body in terms of overall health and body size. He reconstructs diet by studying the diseases, overall wear, and microscopic wear (i.e., microwear) on human teeth. Once a population's diet is reconstructed he then documents the condition of the rest of the skeleton to see how through time certain pathological conditions (like bone disorders and trauma) are associated with each dietary regime early people had.
As director of the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory, Dr. Schmidt is active in his field and works to get his students involved in fieldwork and research. He has published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the Journal of Forensic Science, and Indiana Archeology. He is also President of the Indiana Archeology Council.