Just Hairy Isotopes 

In episode ten of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], we spoke with Dr. Gwyneth Gordon,  from Arizona State University.  Dr. Gordon and her team have developed methods to use the isotopic abundance of elements in hair to learn more about the history of an individual. This NIJ funded research, used in the investigation of unidentified dead, isotopic analysis will measures strontium, trace elements, and even rare earth minerals to shed light on diet, birthplace and residential history.

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View Gwyneth Gordon’s R&D Symposium webinar


Just Blood Spatter

In episode nine of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], we spoke with Dr. Marc Smith,  from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Dr. Smith’s NIJ funded research in blood spatter has connected computational fluid dynamics with empirical studies to improve the understanding of blood spatter onto solid, slanted surfaces. His work looks at many variables, including droplet size, speed, surface roughness and wettability. 

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View Marc Smith’s R&D Symposium webinar


 Marc K. Smith is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He received his Ph.D. degree in Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University in August 1982.  After post-doctoral work at MIT, Department of Mathematics and Cambridge University, DAMTP, he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  He moved to the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1991.  His research interests include interfacial fluid mechanics, boiling flows, droplet impact, and hydrodynamic stability, with particular emphasis on surface tension effects and surface-tension-driven flows.  His recent work includes studies on the acoustic enhancement of boiling heat transfer and condensation for enhanced heating and cooling applications, and droplet impact during blood spatter for forensic applications.  His teaching interests include fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and numerical methods for engineers.

 

 

 


Additional Content:

Marc Smith’s Faculty Page

Georgia Tech’s Fluid Mechanics Page

 

Just the Facts About Campus Sexual Assault

In episode eight of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], we spoke with Dr. Christopher Krebs,  a Senior Research Social Scientist at RTI International.  Dr. Krebs’ research has shed light on the problem of sexual assault on college campuses and prisons. We discuss the history of RTI research in the area and how to interpret the data considering the methodology of social science. This could be a lesson in data interpretation and statistics that may be useful for forensic scientists, but it also raises the awareness of an issue of which the magnitude is not yet fully understood. Some content in this podcast is sensitive and may evoke emotional responses or may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

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FTCoE Sexual Assault Landing Page


Christopher P. Krebs, PhD, has extensive research experience in the areas of corrections, substance abuse epidemiology and treatment, intimate partner violence and sexual violence, HIV transmission among and associated high-risk behaviors of offenders and inmates, criminal justice systems, and program evaluation. He has led and worked on a number of projects for the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He has employed both quantitative and qualitative methods in his research and has extensive experience designing studies, developing survey instruments, analyzing data, and disseminating findings. Dr. Krebs has published and presented numerous research papers on a wide variety of topics.

 


Additional Content:

Disclosure of sexual assault experiences among undergraduate women at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
Campus climate survey validation study. Final technical report (2016)
View all publications for this expert

Victim Resources:

https://www.rainn.org/
Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)

Just Dry Bones

In the seventh episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], guest speakers Dr. Melissa Connor, Dr. Eriek Hansen, and Christiane Baigent discuss their NIJ funded research. A study was launched in late 2015 using two methods, Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and Total Body Desiccation.  Observations from three years of study at Colorado Mesa University created a qualitative scoring system, the Total Body Desiccation Score (TBDS), showing major changes over time by desiccated remains.

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Archived Webinar for Christiane Baigent’s 2017 R&D Symposium Presentation


Biographies

Melissa Connor, Ph.D. presently directs Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station, one of seven “body farms” in the world. She teaches forensic science, specializing in forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology. She has 30 years of archaeological experience, and has worked in forensic science for the last 15 years. Connor is the author of Forensic Methods: Excavation for the Archaeologist and Investigator, published by AltiMira Press in 2007. Connor specialized in mass grave sites, working in post-conflict area throughout the former Yugoslavia, and in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, and Nigeria. She gained her initial experience in battlefields working on archaeological sites such as the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana. She is co-author of Archaeological Perspectives on the Little Bighornand They Died with Custer: Soldiers’ Bones from the Battle of the Little Bighorn, both published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

 

 

 

Eriek S. Hansen, PhD, earned both a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and a Master of Science in Aquatic Ecology from Utah State University.  He earned his PhD in Ecology from the University of Wyoming.  Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Colorado Mesa University. His research interests are broad, with research in aquatic ecology ranging from physiological experiments to large scale riparian restoration, and research in the forensic sciences.  Currently he is investigating bioelectrical impedance analysis as a technique for quantifying the lipid composition of fishes and as a technique for predicting the postmortem interval in human remains.  In addition to research, Dr. Hansen is interested in science education at both the K-12 and college levels.

 

 

 

 

Christiane Baigent, MSc. is a full-time research assistant at Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station. Prior to joining CMU-FIRS she acted as Laboratory Manager and Case Coordinator in Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Human Identification Laboratory (MSUD-HIL). Here, she assisted federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with the search, recovery, and analysis of human skeletal remains while teaching courses in skeletal pathology, physical anthropology, and forensic anthropology. Additionally, she completed a year-long Investigative internship program with the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Internationally, she has analyzed skeletal material from the tomb of Sipan, the site of El Brujo, and collaborated with the Proyecto Académico de Investigación Bioarqueológico e Historiográfico Francisco Pizarro (PAIBHFP) across several field seasons in northern Peru. She received her MSc. in forensic bioarcheology from University College London; the resultant thesis investigated patterns of taphonomy and periosteal new bone deposition in the perinate skeleton and was jointly awarded the Institute of Archaeology Master’s Prize for outstanding dissertation. Her current research includes the effect of altitude on decomposition and concomitant patterns of longitudinal osseous taphonomic change, the effect of postmortem interval on the presentation of perimortem blunt force trauma, region-specific models and standards for the estimation of postmortem interval, and the development of diagnostic criteria for taphonomic change. She will matriculate into the graduate program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in the fall of 2017.


Additional Content:

Just Budgets

In the sixth episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], guest speaker Dr. Paul Speaker discusses the FORESIGHT program. Dr. Speaker,  an Associate Professor at West Virginia Universitywill describe how The FORESIGHT program helps crime laboratories manage their finances and track their performance by using data. This episode will stress the importance of knowing business jargon, and how it can help crime laboratories persuade policy makers.

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Biography

Dr. Paul J. Speaker is a faculty member of the West Virginia University Finance Department. Dr. Speaker also holds the position of Vice President of Operations Management Consultants LLC and the position of President of Forensic Science Management Consultants, LLC, which specializes in the business of forensics using the forensics of business.

Dr. Speaker’s research activity is concentrated in economic modeling, including regulated industries, business valuation, process engineering, financial institutions, the role of not-for-profit institutions, the impact of technology, and the business of forensics. His teaching areas include corporate finance and business valuation. He has been active with curriculum design, integration of course work, and developments in distance learning technology. […] 

Contact Dr Paul Speaker: Paul.Speaker@mail.wvu.edu

 

 


Additional Content:

WVU Forensic Business Studies

FORESIGHT Landing Page

Dr. Speaker’s Google Scholar Page

Just DNA Mixture Interpretation 

In the fifth episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], guest speaker Dr. Catherine Grgicak discusses DNA Mixture interpretation, currently a hot topic in forensic science. Dr. Grgicak and her colleagues at Boston University have developed tools and resources that are openly available to the forensic science community. This episode covers the CEESIt (Computational Evaluation of Evidentiary Signal) and NOCIt (Number Of Contributors) tools along with some of the other contributions that Dr. Grgicak and her colleagues have made to the forensic community. Listen and subscribe to learn more.

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Biography

Dr. Grgicak (Gerg-i-chuck) is an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Forensic Sciences Program at Boston University’s School of Medicine.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Sciences and Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor, in Ontario Canada.  She then went on to attain her Masters of Science in Forensic Sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Ottawa in Ontario Canada.  She currently teaches courses in forensic DNA analysis and chemistry.  Her forensic operations experience was obtained at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in the CODIS unit and at Cellmark Diagnostics in Germantown MD.  She is Executive Secretary of the OSAC subcommittee on Biological Data Interpretation and Reporting and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.  Her current research focusses on analysis and interpretation of noisy signal from samples originating from complex environments.

 

If you wish to learn more, please visit Dr. Grgicak’s FTCOE Knowledge Transfer registration page click here.

 


Additional Content:

Software/Tools:
NOCIt (Number Of Contributors)Outputs the a posteriori probability distribution for the number of contributors from which the sample arose. [Download Here]
CEESIt (Computational Evaluation of Evidentiary Signal)Outputs the likelihood ratio, likelihood ratio distribution, and p-value for an unknown. [Download Here]

Boston University: MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences [Visit Site Here]
PCAST Report [PCAST PDF]

Just Subjective Probability 

For episode four of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], we will be diving into the world of statistics and how it applies forensic case work with Dr. Christophe Champod and Dr. Tacha Hicks from the University of Lausanne. They, along with RTI International resident fingerprint expert, co-host Heidi Eldridge, will be discussing subjective probability and how it can be used in forensic science. There are many different viewpoints and methods about how to use statistical analysis in the courtroom and this episode will help listeners better understand these differing viewpoints. Subscribe and listen to learn more about how logical thinking must be applied appropriately when determining subjective probability through examples given by the guests.

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Biographies

 

 Dr. Christophe Champod received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. both in Forensic Science, from the University of Lausanne. Remained in academia until holding the position of assistant professor in forensic science. From 1999 to 2003, he led the Interpretation Research Group of the Forensic Science Service (UK), before taking a full professorship position at the School of Criminal Justice (ESC) of the University of Lausanne. He is in charge of education and research on identification methods and maintains an activity as an expert witness in these areas. He is also operational manager of the ISO/SEC 17025 accredited forensic laboratory of the ESC. He is a Steering Committee member for the International Fingerprint Research Group (IFRG), past member of SWGFAST (Scientific Working Group on Friction Analysis, Study and Technology) and, since 2014, an invited member of Friction Ridge subcommittee (part of the Physics and Pattern Evidence Scientific Area Committee) of the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC). His research is devoted to the inferential aspects associated with forensic identification techniques. The value to be attached to fingerprint evidence is at the core of his interests.

 

Dr. Tacha Hicks is a forensic scientist, with a specialization in interpretation of evidence. Early in her career, through her PhD research on glass, she specialized in assessing forensic results given activity level propositions. She worked for three years at the former Forensic Science Service in R&D in the Physical Science department. After a postdoc in the area of DNA at the University of Lausanne, and since 2010, she delivers online interpretation courses tailored for forensic caseworkers. She publishes extensively on interpretation issues.

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi Eldridge has been a forensic scientist for over 12 years, 10 of which have been as a latent print examiner. Heidi is a Certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI, sits on the JFI Editorial Board, and was a member of SWGFAST until its dissolution. She is now a member of the Friction Ridge Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) and of the Academy Standards Board’s Friction Ridge Consensus Body.  Heidi has been teaching latent print testimony for more than 5 years and is currently a PhD candidate in the Forensic Science program at the University of Lausanne. She recently left the bench and is now a Research Forensic Scientist with RTI International.

 

 

 

 


Additional Content

University of Lausanne BS Degree in Forensic Science Information 
Certificate of Advanced Studies in Statistics and Evaluation of Forensic Evidence
FTCOE Stats Workshop 

Just 3D OPTICAL TOPOGRAPHY

Episode Three of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], features Dr. Ryan Lilien, from Cadre Forensics and Todd Weller, from the Oakland Police Department talking about their groundbreaking research in optical topography and firearms identification. Optical topography is a means to give firearms examiners data that is close to a perfect representation of an impression. This research provides the possibility that in the future we will be able to relate the human examiner’s judgment to a statistical representation.

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Biographies

Ryan Lilien, MD/PhD.  Ryan is the head of research at Cadre Research and has worked in scientific computing for over twenty years. His research expertise focuses on the use of advanced scientific computing and statistical models to solve interdisciplinary research problems. Ryan earned an MD/Ph.D. from Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth’s Department of Computer Science. Ryan was faculty at the University of Toronto cross-appointed between Computer Science and the Faculty of Medicine. The Gates Foundation recognized his drug discovery research with a prestigious Grand-Challenges Grant. He has received additional research funding from the NIJ, NIST, and Canada’s National Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Ryan leads development of the TopMatch-GS 3D system (a novel 3d imaging and analysis system for firearm forensics and virtual microscopy). He’s presented his group’s steady progress on developing and validating the system at recent national and regional AFTE meetings. Ryan is also currently a member of NIST’s OSAC Subcommittee on Firearms & Toolmarks.

 

 

 

Todd Weller has been a Criminalist for over 17 years.  He worked for the Oakland Police Department for over 16 years and now is in private practice.  He has performed casework in drug analysis, DNA, crime scenes, and for the past nine years has worked in the firearms identification specialty.  He graduated from the National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA) in 2009. Todd has a B.A. in biochemistry/molecular biology from Dartmouth College and a M.S. in forensic science from the University of California, Davis. For his master’s thesis, Todd collaborated with NIST to study confocal microscopy on test fires from consecutively manufactured firearms.

 

 

 

 


Additional Content

Cadre Research link: http://www.cadreresearchlabs.com/
TopMatch GS 3D: http://www.cadreforensics.com/
OpenFMC file format X3P: http://www.openfmc.org/
NIST Ballistics Toolmark Research Database: https://tsapps.nist.gov/NRBTD
Forensic Optical Topography Working Group Meeting, Report: https://rti.connectsolutions.com/p2isay529wa/
Free FTCOE Knowledge Transfers featuring Ryan Lilien:  https://rti.connectsolutions.com/e8wu61osp0y/event/registration.html

Just Human Factors

In episode two, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], Dr. Tom Busey explores the importance of human factors as it relates to fingerprint analysis and interpretation. He, along with RTI International resident fingerprint expert, co-host Heidi Eldridge, will discuss the dangers in performing large database searches and the top issues that involve human factors in the forensic laboratory. Why should the forensic science community care about psychology and psychological research? Find out in this episode!

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Biographies:

Professor Tom Busey received his BA from Cornell University and a PhD from the University of Washington in Cognitive Psychology. In 1994 he joined the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, which is the oldest continuously operated Psychology Department in the US [Faculty Page Link]. He began a collaboration with John Vanderkolk of the Indiana State Police in 2002, which has resulted in a range of publications on the mechanisms of perceptual expertise in fingerprint examiners, supported by two NIJ-sponsored grants. Dr. Busey served on the editorial board of NIST’s Expert Working Group on Human Factors and contributes to several ongoing policy-making bodies in forensics. His primary research focus is on the factors that contribute to errors in perceptual decision making in forensics, and include eye tracking, electrophysiology and behavioral research methods [Dr. Busey’s Research Website].

 

 

 

 

Heidi Eldridge has been a forensic scientist for over 12 years, 10 of which have been as a latent print examiner. Heidi is a Certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI, sits on the JFI Editorial Board, and was a member of SWGFAST until its dissolution. She is now a member of the Friction Ridge Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) and of the Academy Standards Board’s Friction Ridge Consensus Body.  Heidi has been teaching latent print testimony for more than 5 years and is currently a PhD candidate in the Forensic Science program at the University of Lausanne. She recently left the bench and is now a Research Forensic Scientist with RTI International.

 

 

 


Additional Content:

Contact Dr. Tom Busey to participate in his research at busey@indiana.edu
Dr. Busey’s Knowledge Transfers:
          SURE FOOTING: FUNDAMENTAL FORENSIC SCIENCE RESEARCH-PART II
Heidi Eldridge’s Knowledge Transfers:
          The Basics of Error Rates in Pattern Evidence
          THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES: A GUIDE TO LATENT PRINT TESTIMONY

 

Just Lab Management

The first episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110], will feature guest speaker Barry Fisher. It will dive into Barry’s legacy, which goes back to the 1960s, and how he used leadership in the crime laboratory to overcome obstacles. The FTCoE will be releasing a Forensic Leadership Series in 2017, which Barry helped develop. Leadership is the anchor for how forensic scientists can improve the confidence of the public in casework, analysis, and the results that come out of the crime laboratory. Listen and subscribe to learn more.

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Biography

Barry A. J. Fisher served for over 20 years as the Crime Laboratory Director for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He started in the lab as a criminalist in 1969, when it was known as the Scientific Services Bureau, becoming Chief Criminalist in 1979 and director in 1987. He is a Distinguished Fellow and past president of the American Academy of Forensic Science and has also led the International Association of Forensic Sciences, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors—Laboratory Accreditation Board. He retired in 2009 and continues to write and consult for companies and governments around the world [Park Dietz& Associates Website]. His Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, Eighth Edition (Forensic and Police Science), now in its 8th Edition, has become a foundational text for students of forensic science [Buy on Amazon].

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Additional Material:

THE NEED FOR A RESEARCH CULTURE IN THE FORENSIC SCIENCES, Jennifer L. Mnookin, Simon A. Cole, Itiel E. Dror, Barry A. J. Fisher, Max M. Houck, Keith Inman, David H. Kaye, Jonathan J. Koehler, Glenn Langenburg, D. Michael Risinger, Norah Rudin, Jay Siegel, and David A. Stoney, 58 UCLA LAW REVIEW 725 (2011), (http://www.uclalawreview.org/the-need-for-a-research-culture-in-the-forensic-sciences-2/).

American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, http://www.ascld.org/