Just Speak into the Microbe-phone

In the first episode of our new R&D Season, Just Science host Dr. John Morgan speaks with Dr. Bruce Budowle, the Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

Did you know that if you swab a 1cm square area of skin you’ll recover up to ten thousand bacterial cells? Microbiome profiling for forensic identification complements partial or inconclusive STR profiles to increase resolution for human source attribution. Performance assessment is underway and preliminary data indicate that the candidate panel can characterize human-based selected microbes even at initially low abundant body sites.

Listen along as John and Bruce explore research surrounding human microbiome flora and their implications on forensic science.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Dr. Bruce Budowle received a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1979 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From 1979-1982, Dr. Budowle was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working under a National Cancer Institute fellowship, he carried out research predominately on genetic risk factors for such diseases as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, melanoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.

In 1983, Dr. Budowle joined the research unit at the FBI Laboratory Division to carry out research, development, and validation of methods for forensic biological analyses. Dr. Budowle has contributed to the fundamental sciences as they apply to forensics in analytical development, population genetics, statistical interpretation of evidence, and in quality assurance. Dr. Budowle has worked on laying some of the foundations for the current statistical analyses in forensic biology and defining the parameters of relevant population groups. He has published approximately 600 articles, made more than 720 presentations (many of which were as an invited speaker at national and international meetings), and testified in well over 250 criminal cases in the areas of molecular biology, population genetics, statistics, quality assurance, and forensic biology. In addition, he has authored or co-authored books on molecular biology techniques, electrophoresis, protein detection, and microbial forensics. Dr. Budowle has been directly involved in developing quality assurance (QA) standards for the forensic DNA field. He has been a chair and member of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Methods, Chair of the DNA Commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and a member of the DNA Advisory Board. He was one of the architects of the CODIS National DNA database, which maintains DNA profiles from convicted felons, from evidence in unsolved cases, and from missing persons.

Some of Dr. Budowle’s efforts over the last 15 years also are in counter terrorism, including identification of victims from mass disasters and in efforts involving microbial forensics and bioterrorism. Dr. Budowle was an advisor to New York State in the effort to identify the victims from the WTC attack. In the area of microbial forensics, Dr. Budowle has been the chair of the Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genetics and Forensics, whose mission was to set QA guidelines, develop criteria for biologic and user databases, set criteria for a National Repository, and develop forensic genomic applications. He also has served on the Steering Committee for the Colloquium on Microbial Forensics sponsored by American Society of Microbiology, an organizer of four Microbial Forensics Meetings held at The Banbury Center in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and on steering committees for NAS sponsored meetings.

In 2009 Dr. Budowle became Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas. He currently directs the Center for Human Identification. His research efforts focus on the areas of human forensic identification, microbial forensics, emerging infectious disease, molecular biology technologies, and pharmacogenetics.

 


Additional Resources:

DR. BUDOWLE’S 2018 NIJ R&D ARCHIVE RECORDED AT AAFS