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Stakeholder Meeting for Estimating the Postmortem Interval (PMI) Using Microbes – Feb. 18th, 2019

February 18, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm EST


Stakeholder Meeting for Estimating the Postmortem Interval (PMI) Using Microbes

Date & Time

Feb. 18th, 2019 from 8:30am-5pm ET

Location & Room

Hilton Baltimore: Hilton Key Ballroom 4 in Baltimore, MD


Research supports the emergence of “microbial clocks” for estimating PMI. Recent advances by several teams have proven the concept of microbial tools for forensic analysis. This meeting, held prior to the AAFS meeting, convenes stakeholders in the microbial clock technology ecosystem (researchers, developers, legal, pathology, practitioners) to 1) understand recent research and gaps in microbiome technology for PMI and 2) envision the steps for adopting this type of forensic technology into casework.

The Stakeholder Meeting for Estimating the Postmortem Interval (PMI) Using Microbes meets on February 18th, 2019 from 8:30am-5pm ET, before the 71st Annual American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting in Baltimore, MD. This is an open meeting where attendees can learn about the impact of recent research advances (and remaining gaps in knowledge) and comprehend the steps to transition the research into casework.

Note that this meeting is not part of the AAFS conference; meeting participants are not required to register for AAFS to attend. There is no cost to attend this meeting.

Please contact Amy Witsil at awitsil@rti.org for questions about this event.

To learn more about this topic, read “Estimating the postmortem interval using microbes: Knowledge gaps and a path to technology adoption” by Dr. Jessica Metcalf.



Morning: Microbiome Technology in Forensic Sciences


Session 1: Knowledge Gaps in Use of Microbes to Estimate Postmortem Interval (PMI): Time Frames
Presentation Topics:
• Establishment of Early Postmortem Time Frames: Findings from Morgue Studies
• Results from a Multi-Institute Collaborative Study on Active and Advanced Decay
• “Bone as a Clock”: Methods to Estimate Late Postmortem Time Frames

Session 2: Knowledge Gaps in Use of Microbes to Estimate PMI: Sample Types and Environmental Variables
Presentation Topics:

• The Gastrointestinal Tract and Soils: Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxille’s Anthropological Research Facility
• Internal Organs for estimating PMI: Studies from cadavers in the Morgue
• Skin Microbiomes: Studies from Sam Houston State University’s Anthropological Research Facility
• Analysis Approaches for Incorporating Environmental Variables in PMI Analysis

Session 3: Perspectives of Sample Collection and Workflow from Practitioners
Presentation Topics:

• Perspectives of sample collection and workflow from practitioners at
o Colorado Mesa University Forensic Investigation Research Station
o University of Tennessee Knoxville Forensic Anthropology Center
o Department of the Medical Examiner in Honolulu, HI


Afternoon: Adopting Forensic Research Into Casework

Presentation Topics:
• Processes, Experiences, and Hurdles of Transitioning Technology in the Forensic Community
• Considerations for Successful Transition of PMI Technologies
• The Medical Examiner’s Role in Testing New Technology
• The Role of Crime Lab Directors in Technology Adoption
• Introduction of New Technologies into Casework: Frye and Daubert Standards
• Incorporating Microbiome Research into Forensic Science Education
• The future of technology adoption


February 18, 2019
8:30 am - 5:00 pm EST