DNA Kinship Testing Webinar Series

DNA Kinship Testing Webinar Series


DNA kinship tests are proposed as a method within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for confirming the presence of a biological relationship between two individuals for immigration purposes, preventing human trafficking, and identifying mass disaster victims. This webinar series discusses the findings from research conducted at The George Washington University (GW) to offer improvements on kinship testing methodologies.  This research was supported by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The following topics will be covered over the course of this series:

  • Cost-benefit analysis of kinship testing involving full siblings and half siblings
  • Evaluation of the use of DNA analysis for family reunification
  • Evaluation of population-specific sibling relationship determination during kinship analysis
  • Evaluation of linked markers

Collaborators and Funding

This webinar series is brought to you by the National Institute of Justice's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) in collaboration with the DHS S&T, SNA International, and GW. Funding for this webinar series has been provided by the FTCOE.

Christopher (Chris) Miles is Deputy Director for Standards Integration and Applications in the Capability Development Support Group/Office of Standards of the DHS S&T. He manages the Rapid DNA program for family relationship verification and previously managed the biometrics basic research portfolio efforts in multi‐biometric research, standoff biometrics, and decision fusion research. Mr. Miles served as Co‐Chair of the White House National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Biometrics & Identity Management and is a federal liaison to the National Science Foundation Center for Identification Technology Research.

Founder of SNA International, Dr. Amanda Sozer assists governmental agencies worldwide in developing and expanding their forensic and mass fatality response programs. Dr. Sozer began her career at Cellmark Diagnostics and then accepted a position at Fairfax Identity Laboratories in 1992, where, as the Associate Director, she managed all aspects of the laboratory operations for paternity, convicted offender testing, and forensic casework. Dr. Sozer served as a Technical Contractor to the National Institute of Justice, facilitating the National Institute of Justice Kinship and Data Analysis Panel for the World Trade Center Victim Identification Program and was instrumental in writing the Lessons Learned from 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents.

Dr. Daniele Podini is a forensic DNA expert whose current research focuses on microhaplotypes (clusters of SNPs) and on the use of next generation technologies for human identification purposes. His forensic experience ranges from processing crime scenes for biological specimens to processing evidence in the laboratory, and from DNA profiling to testifying in court as an expert witness. Dr. Podini has been on the faculty of the Department of Forensic Sciences at GW since 2004. He is also a member the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and serves as a member of the Subcommittee on DNA Analysis 1 of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) to aid efforts in strengthening forensic sciences in the United States.

Dr. Moses Schanfield is an expert on the genetic markers on antibodies, and has applied genetic marker testing, both protein- and DNA-based, to the study of anthropologic and forensic genetics. He is currently a professor of forensic science and anthropology at GW, and has been the chair of the Department of Forensic Science since 2002. Prior to joining GW, he was the director of the Monroe County Public Safety Laboratory in Rocherster, NY. His major accomplishments include the establishment of the Genetic Testing Institute, a paternity testing facility, and Allo-Type Genetic Testing, a non-DNA forensic testing facility that became Analytical Genetic Testing Center.


Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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