DNA evidence has had a significant impact on the criminal justice system. Since the National Commission on the Future of DNA evidence in the 1990s, DNA has evolved into one of the most respected disciplines in forensic science. The DNA season of Just Science focuses on DNA evidence and its use in forensic investigation. Topics include the impact of DNA evidence, the use of familial DNA in investigations, databases, case studies, and strategies to improve workflow efficiencies.



Latest All DNA Episodes

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Special Release: Just CMEC

In this special release episode, Just Science interviews Dr. Hope Smiley-McDonald and Connor Brooks about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners.

The last Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners was conducted in 2004 and stands as one of the most important resources for budget makers and policy changers. Since then, the realm of MDI has changed dramatically. With that in mind, BJS and RTI International are working tirelessly to create a useful tool that captures all the nuances of this field. Listen in as our guests discuss the development of the survey, the types of data being collected, and the impact that the survey will have on the MDI community.

2019 NIJ R&D

The 2019 NIJ R&D Season of Just Science will focus on the research featured at the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium. Some of these interviews were recorded at the 2019 AAFS 71st Annual Scientific Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. This conference, held by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, is a multidisciplinary professional meeting that provides leadership and opportunities to advance science, foster research, and promote collaboration within the various forensic science disciplines. Some of the episode topics include research with alternative light sources and bruising, infant abuse,  age estimations of bloodstains, image cloud platform use, raman microspectroscopy, and much more.

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Imaging Flow Cytometry
Release Date: July 22, 2019
Guest: Dr. Christopher Ehrhardt 

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Flies and Their Artifacts
Release Date: July 12, 2019
Guest: Dr. David Rivers

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Raman Spectroscopy and GSR
Release Date: July 4, 2019
Guest: Dr. Igor Lednev

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Putrid Databases
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Guest: Dr. Audris Mockus

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Headspace Solid Phase Microextraction
Release Date: June 20, 2019
Guest: Dr. Jorn Yu

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Screening Blood and Urine
Release Date: June 13, 2019
Guest: Dr. Rebecca Wagner

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Detecting Gunshot Residue
Release Date: June 6, 2019
Guest: Dr. Suzanne Bell 

2019 NIJ R&D: Just RNA and Bloodstains
Release Date: May 29, 2019
Guest: Dr. Robert W. Allen 

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Fundamental Mechanics and Infant Skull Fractures
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Guest: Dr. Brittany Coats

2019 NIJ R&D: Just Skin Deep
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Guests: Dr. Katherine Scafide and Dr. Daniel Sheridan

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness about sexual violence and provide methods to prevent it. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Just Science interviewed Pat Speck, a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and professor at the University of Alabama – Birmingham School of Nursing, about sexual assault testing and victim-centered care.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Just the Evolution of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Guest: Dr. Patricia M. Speck


The Identification season of Just Science will focus on many of the different aspects of identification in forensic investigations. A majority of these interviews were recorded at the 2018 International Forensic Educational Conference in San Antonio, Texas. This conference, held by the International Association for Identification, represents a diverse and knowledgeable membership that meets annually to educate and share techniques, methods, and research into the various forensic science disciplines. The conference features lectures, poster presentations, and workshops dedicated to sharing knowledge and enhancing the forensic sciences. This season will include episodes covering sexual assault kit processing, psychological survival in violent careers, latent print examination, forensic art, microanthropology, and more.

Forensic Advancement

The Forensic Advancement season of Just Science will focus on many areas that challenge forensic leadership within the community. A majority of these interviews were recorded at the 2018 American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) Annual Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia. The ASCLD Symposium is an industry-leading conference designed for leaders and managers in the forensic laboratory space. The symposium boasts workshops and plenary talks designed around all aspects of forensic science, but particularly focuses on enhancing leadership and management in a forensic laboratory. This season will include episodes covering performance tools, ASCLD efforts in rapid DNA, return on investment for DNA databases, witness testimony, millennial personnel, laboratory public relations, and more.


Special Release: Medicolegal Death Investigation

Just Science’s Medicolegal Death Investigation season will consist of episodes recorded with guests from the IACME board. This season is to promote the ways in which IACME supports, trains, and aids the community of coroners and pathologists. Episodes will include topics like vicarious trauma, work/life balance, wellness, forensic nurses as coroners, and understanding not only the logistical difficulty of a mass shooting but the strain involved on the justice community.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.

Just So You Know: FTCoE Team

Just Science is releasing a special Just So You Know series in celebration of National Forensic Science Week. Get to know the leadership, scientific, and technical staff that help keep the center running smoothly year round. Guests include Dr. John Morgan, Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller, Donia Slack, Nicole Jones, Heidi Eldridge, Dr. Megan Grabenauer, Sarah Norsworthy, Nichole Bynum, Katherine Moore, Erica Fornaro, Molly Dix, and Dr. Kelle Barrick.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.


2018 NIJ R&D

Just Science is releasing a season for the 2018 NIJ funded Research and Development. These guests were NIJ awardees that traveled to the annual AAFS Symposium this year in Seattle, Washington. Dive into the community’s efforts to forward science and create a stronger justice system through knowledge. Some of the episode topics include research with skin microbiomes, SNP genotypes, implementing portable mass spec, and  CT image databases.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.


In this season, Drugs,  topics will range from legalization of marijuana in relation to police officers, the opioid epidemic, Electronic Dance Music Festivals, how witnesses’ and victims’ memory of events can be affected by alcohol, current vaping research, drug courts, and much more.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.

2018 IPTES

In this season we will cover content given at the NIJ Forensic Technology Center of Excellence’s Impression Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium.  The symposium was held January 22nd -25th 2018 in Arlington, Virginia, it had over 200 onsite attendees and over 400 online attendees. This season will include episodes discussing nature’s patterns, fracture mechanics, juror’s interpretations of testimony, toolmarks, and footwear with each topic discussing real-world examples. If you missed the symposium and wish to watch the archives, please click here.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.

Episode Ten: Just Talking Testimony
Release Date: April 9, 2018
Guest: Xiaoyu Alan Zheng, Henry Swofford, Mr. Chris Fabricant, Dr. Steven Lund, Dr. Hari Iyer, and Dr. Alicia Wilcox

Episode Nine: Just Bayesian Brawl
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Guests: Dr. Jose Almirall, Dr. Steven Lund, Dr. Hari Iyer, Dr. Cedric Neumann, Dr. Daniel Ramos, and Dr. Alex Biedermann

Episode Eight: Just Handwriting Statistics
Release Date: March 26, 2018
Guest: Cami Fuglsby

Episode Seven: Just Consecutively Manufactured Toolmarks
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Guest: Robert Thompson

Episode Six: Just Footwear Size Does Matter
Release Date: March 12, 2018
Guests: Chris Hamburg and Jeff Jagmin



Special Release: Leadership

In this special release season on Leadership, you will hear interviews highlighting different areas where guests have excelled, along with some of their lessons learned. The season will highlight forensic professionals and teachers of leadership including Ben Swanholm, Jody Wolf, Martina Bison-Huckaby, and Jeremy Triplett. We will discuss their personal philosophies on leadership, how they came to be leaders in their own lives, and what their affiliations have added to the conversation. Stay tuned as Just Science helps to shed light on the complex issues of leadership.

Just So You Know: Leadership Series
Release Date: December 21, 2017

Epsiode Four: Just Guidance Leadership
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Guest: Jeremy Triplett

Episode Three: Just Motivational Leadership
Release Date: December 11, 2017
Guest: Martina Bison-Huckaby

Episode Two: Just Strategic Leadership
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Guest: Jody Wolf

Episode One: Just Servant Leadership
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Guest: Ben Swanholm


Case Studies

In the second season, Case Studies, Just Science interviews the prosecutors, investigators, victims, and crime lab directors that were involved with high profile cases. This season will highlight cases that seemed unsolvable at the time, but with some new technologies and innovation, these criminals were brought to justice. Topics include Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Human Trafficking, Odontology, Atlanta Olympic Bombing, International cases, Louisiana Serial Killer, and many more

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.

R&D Symposium

Just Science released a special season for NIJ funded Research and Development. Dive into the community’s efforts to forward science and create a stronger justice system through knowledge. Episode topics include research with one-pot meth, bath salts, gunshot acoustics, and postmortem interval estimation.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.


The first season of “Just Science,” titled Numbers will give listeners content focusing on issues that forensic scientists are faced with, such as error data or proof of data. We will explore new technologies and systems that provide more efficient ways of delivering quantitative results, as well as the human factors that go into producing solid data.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each episode.

RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences presents Just Science, a podcast for forensic science professionals and anyone with an interest in learning more about how real crime laboratories are working to do their job better, produce more accurate results, become more efficient, and solve more crimes. This podcast deals with a range of issues, including leadership in the crime lab, new technologies, sexual assault response, and broader challenges for science and public security. We cover every type of forensic discipline, including DNA, fingerprints, trace evidence, toxicology, controlled substances, crime scene investigation, and much more!

Just Science was developed by RTI International and funded in part by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence,  a program of the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice and funded in part through cooperative agreement [2016-MU-BX-K110].

Just Science is hosted by Dr. John Morgan, Senior Director of the Center for Forensic Science at RTI.

Senior Director, Center for Forensic Sciences

EDUCATION: PhD, Johns Hopkins University | MS, Johns Hopkins University | BS, Loyola College

EXPERTISE:  Optoelectronic materials,  Chemical/biological agent detection, Mass spectrometry, Forensic science, Personal protective systems, Materials


 [Click here to read more] 


Lauren Mangum is a Multimedia Communication Specialist at RTI International. Lauren believes that through her work with the Center for Forensic Science Office she can better disseminate information to the forensic community.  She is the producer of the Just Science Podcast, which is designed to highlight key leaders in forensic science research, practice and innovation. Before working at RTI International Lauren was an Event Technology Specialist at SAS for two years where she coordinated and ran AV for conferences and meetings. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media Communication from North Carolina State University.

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