NIJ R&D Success Stories

All of our webinars, reports, podcast episodes, and other educational resources are available to the public at no cost.

Funding for the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

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fingerprints

Success Story: LatentSleuth: A Case Study on the Impact of Federal R&D Funding

National Institute of Justice and the Latent Print Research Community Date December 2021 Overview The development of technologies to improve the objective collection, analysis, and interpretation of evidence is driven by the multiple stakeholders that make up the forensic science…
DNA strands in green

Success Story: Advancing Mixture Interpretation Analysis with NOCIt

National Institute of Justice and Rutgers University Date September 2020 Overview DNA samples recovered from crime scenes often contain at least two contributors. Complex forensic DNA mixture interpretation can be challenging and requires computational advancements that support its use. Using…
Data points

Success Story: Revolutionizing Laboratory Efficiency Assessments Through Project FORESIGHT

National Institute of Justice and West Virginia University Date March 2020 Overview Crime laboratories are expected to provide consistent and high quality services across multiple domains to criminal justice stakeholders, even though these laboratories may have limited resources and constrained budgets.…

Success Story: Enabling Forensic Field Testing with Paper Microfluidic Devices

National Institute of Justice and Florida International University Date April 2019 Overview Forensic investigators, law enforcement, and military personnel are often placed in potentially dangerous situations when they come across suspected drugs, explosives, and bodily fluids while in the field.…

Success Story: Improving DNA Mixture Interpretation with the Help of Machine Learning

National Institute of Justice and Syracuse University Date March 2019 Overview When DNA is recovered from a crime scene, victim, or suspect, it may be a mixture of genetic information from multiple individuals. To successfully interpret a mixture of DNA,…

Success Story: Advancing 3D Virtual Microscopy for Firearm Forensics

National Institute of Justice and Cadre Forensics Date March 2019 Overview Examining bullets and cartridge cases from crime scenes can help link crimes, moving investigators one step closer to identifying a suspect. Firearm forensic analysis can also link recovered evidence…

Success Story: Uncovering Key Details of Skeletal Remains through 3D-ID Software

National Institute of Justice and North Carolina State University Date January 2019 Overview When forensic anthropologists investigate unidentified remains, they look for important clues that can help identify the subject. For example, the size and shape of the skull can…

Success Story: Establishing a “Microbial Clock” to Improve Time of Death Prediction

National Institute of Justice and Multi-Institute Academic Team Date April 2018 Overview The postmortem interval (PMI) is the time that has elapsed since a person’s death. Determining the PMI at a crime scene may help to recreate the victim’s timeline…

Success Story: Maximizing the Use of Mitochondrial DNA in Identifying Remains and Aiding Missing Persons Casework

National Institute of Justice and the American Registry of Pathology Date April 2018 Overview Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) serves as an important tool in situations where traditional nuclear DNA analysis is unlikely to yield probative information. mtDNA sequencing has traditionally focused…

Success Story: NIST’s Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee Builds on Achievements by SWGDOG

National Institute of Justice and Florida International University Date April 2018 Overview Dog “detector teams” support law enforcement and first responders in a variety of applications ranging from drug and contraband interdiction to locating human remains. Dogs offer a useful…
wood burning

Success Story: Advancing the Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquid Fuel Fires

National Institute of Justice and JENSEN HUGHES Date February 2018 Overview Investigating fires with “liquid fuel” is particularly challenging, as the combustion of building materials often conceals the presence of the fuel. JENSEN HUGHES, led by Dr. Daniel Gottuk, evaluated…
DNA strand

Success Story: Forensic Epigenetics – Markers for the Identification of Body Fluids

National Institute of Justice and Florida International University Date February 2018 Overview  The identification of body fluids recovered from crime scenes can provide valuable information to further aid investigations. The biological origin of body fluids can facilitate the identification of…
vehicles driving in tunnel

Success Story: Improving the Reliability of Forensic Data from Vehicle Data Records

National Institute of Justice and Synercon Technologies Report Date December 2017 Overview Event Data Recorders (EDRs) are available in commercial vehicles. EDRs store relevant information about operation and other environmental variables. These devices contain content that support criminal investigations involving…
burned house and sofa on fire

Success Story: Identifying Ignitable Liquids in Fire Debris and Providing Error Rates for Purposes of Testifying

National Institute of Justice and University of Central Florida Date November 2016 Overview Determining the presence of ignitable liquid residue among the fire debris in an arson investigation is a complicated forensic problem. Most ignitable liquids commonly encountered consist of…
skeletons

Success Story: Creating an International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification

National Institute of Justice and University of South Florida Date September 2016 Overview According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Missing Person and Unidentified Person Files, there are approximately 13,500 unidentified individual cases in…
mitochondria and DNA strands

Success Story: Customizing NextGENe Software for Forensic Applications

National Institute of Justice and CHORI – Collaboration with SoftGenetics® and California Department of Justice Date April 2016 Overview Degraded and mixed DNA samples are often encountered in forensic cases and pose interpretation challenges. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers are ideal targets…
DNA strand gloved hand with tube

Success Story: Addressing a Key Challenge for PCR-Based Forensic Tests

National Institute of Justice and DNA Polymerase Technologies Date April 2016 Overview Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) inhibitors are present in blood, soil, and reagents, and represent a key challenge for PCR-based forensic tests, resulting in false negatives and poor sensitivity…
ammunition and smoking gun

Success Story: Demonstrating Objectivity in Ballistic Identification

National Institute of Justice and Intelligent Automation, Inc. Date April 2015 Overview Firearms experts are seeking to strengthen their understanding of the accuracy and reliability of methods they use to associate fired ammunition recovered from a crime scene with a…
DNA strands with barrier tape

Success Story: Introducing New Methods for DNA Analysis

National Institute of Justice and Midwest Research Institute Date April 2015 Overview Dr. Micah Halpern, formerly of Midwest Research Institute, used National Institute of Justice (NIJ) research grants to develop a unique genotyping method that is capable of rapidly producing…
sam quinones headshot

Success Story: Understanding the Ecology of Human Decomposition Methods for Estimating Postmortem Interval

National Institute of Justice and the National Museum of Health and Medicine Date April 2015 Overview Data on the microbiome of decomposing and skeletonized remains are providing an avenue for understanding how microbial communities may be used to augment medicolegal…
outline of man with skulls and blue lines

Success Story: Improving Identification of Mexican Hispanic Remains

National Institute of Justice and Texas State University Report Date April 2015 Overview In the United States, the Mexican Hispanic population ranks second in total size, yet Mexican Hispanic individuals often remain unidentified in forensic anthropological cases. The reason? There…
DNA strand in magnifying glass and handcuffed hands

Success Story: Bringing Short Tandem Repeat DNA Identification to Law Enforcement

National Institute of Justice, UC Berkeley, and IntegenX Date April 2015 Overview Dr. Richard Mathies, chemist and professor at UC, Berkeley, was awarded NIJ funding to develop faster, more reliable, higher throughput, more sensitive, and more integrated technologies for forensic…