NIJ R&D Success Stories and Beyond

2020 Stories

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NIJ and Rutgers University:
Advancing Mixture Interpretation Analysis with NOCIt
September 2020

“One could argue that a better approach than opting for the minimum number of contributors to a mixture might be to determine the number of contributors best supported by the data." - Jaheida Perez, et al., The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

NIJ and Purdue University:
Advancing 3D Imaging for Footwear and Tire Impressions
May 2020

“Purdue’s 3D scanner promises to be a game changer as it allows the fast collection of the 3D detail of impressions with minimal training.” – James Wolfe, Alaska State Crime Laboratory, retired

NIJ and West Virginia University:
Revolutionizing Laboratory Efficiency Assessments Through Project Foresight
March 2020

“Iron sharpens iron. Project FORESIGHT is built on collaboration among peers, and enhanced with academic and economic support—it provides actionable and realistic data to assess how well a lab is performing.” – Bruce Houlihan, Director, Orange County Crime Laboratory

2019 Stories

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NIJ and Florida International University:
Enabling Forensic Field Testing with Paper Microfluidic Devices,
April 2019

“I’m impressed with the potential for replacement wet color tests. The multiplexing capabilities have potential to address the challenges field forensics investigators encounter with non-pure, intermixed drugs as well as unknown powders.” —Dr. Michael Buerger, PhD, Professor of Criminal Justice, Bowling Green State University, and former New Hampshire police officer

NIJ and Syracuse University:
Improving DNA Mixture Interpretation with the Help of Machine Learning,
March 2019

“This is something that every DNA crime lab worldwide should investigate. We now have a tool that with the press of one button does the entire suite of services and provides you with the end result. Having the simple decisions made for you enables focus on addressing the issues of most importance.” —Vic Meles, Marketing & Business Director, NicheVision

NIJ and Cadre Forensics:
Advancing 3D Virtual Microscopy for Firearm Forensics,
March 2019

“High-resolution 3D surface topographies coupled with advanced software analysis are providing firearm examiners unprecedented new tools for microsurface examination.” -Dr. Ryan Lilien, Chief Scientific Officer, Cadre Forensics

NIJ and North Carolina State University:
Uncovering Key Details of Skeletal Remains through 3D-ID Software,
January 2019

“3D-ID has been an invaluable tool for us. Many of our unknown persons come from populations south of the Border. We use this program for every case with great success. It has also been a great tool to combine with chemical isotope data, providing a very accurate and powerful result, even in the most complex cases.” -Erin Kimmerle, PhD, Director, Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science (IFAAS), University of Florida

2018 Stories

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NIJ and Multi-Institute Academic Team:
Establishing a "Microbial Clock" to Improve Time of Death Prediction
April 2018

"This research clearly demonstrated that there is potential to develop microbiome tools for estimating time of death. Developing connections with the right interdisciplinary collaborators was instrumental to the success of this project.” -Jessica Metcalf, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University

NIJ and the American Registry of Pathology:
Maximizing the Use of Mitochondrial DNA in Identifying Remains and Aiding Missing Persons Casework
April 2018

"The complete mtGenome reference data developed in this project serve as important milestones for the understanding of coding region heteroplasmy and the acceptance of full mtGenome sequencing in worldwide forensic genetics." -Dr. Walther Parson, Co-PI and Associate Professor, Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University

NIJ and Florida International University:
NIST's Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee Builds on Achievements by SWGDOG
April 2018

"SWGDOG set the stage and provided a strong foundation of canine detector best practices that the OSAC Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee is currently developing into scientifically robust standards. The Subcommittee continues to uphold SWGDOG’s mission of defining credibility and enabling improved reliability and performance of detector dogs." -Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, DVM, PhD, BS Director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center, School of Veterinary Medicine; NIST OSAC Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee Member

Advancing the Forensic Analysis of Ignitable Liquid Fuel Fires
February 2018

“Dr. Gottuk’s work has reduced the number of inaccurate arson determinations based on low burns and holes in the floor. It has even played a role in reversing some wrongful convictions based on the misconception that ignitable liquids burn holes in floors.” ‒John Lentini, CFI, D-ABC Scientific Fire Analysis, LLC

NIJ and Florida International University:
Forensic Epigenetics – Markers for the Identification of Body Fluids
February 2018

“Our laboratory is excited about DNA epigenetic markers as they offer the possibility of an objective confirmation of what cell type the DNA profile is originating from. If proven, the methodology could replace traditional serological approaches to body fluid confirmation.” -Mark Powell M.Sc., F-ABC Crime Lab Manager, San Francisco Police Dept.

2016 & 2017 Stories

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NIJ and Synercon Technologies:
Improving the Reliability of Forensic Data from Vehicle Data Records
December 2017

“The Synercon Smart Sensor Simulators are not only a forensically sound way to download digital evidence from electronic control modules, they are also a time-saving and safer way to collect this data from a wrecked heavy vehicle that has been involved in a crash.” — Scott E. Skinner, Sergeant (Retired), Oregon State Police

NIJ and CHORI—Collaboration with SoftGenetics® and California Department of Justice:
Customizing NextGENe Software for Forensic Applications
April 2016

"Mitochondrial analysis holds significant potential for the forensic community and represents a great market opportunity for SoftGenetics®. As part of Dr. Calloway’s NIJ funding, we were able to initiate a collaboration to customize the NextGENe® software for forensic use." — John Fosnacht, Co-Founder/VP Sales & Marketing SoftGenetics®

NIJ and DNA Polymerase Technologies:
Addressing a Key Challenge for PCR-Based Forensic Tests
April 2016

“DNA Polymerase Technologies has done impressive work engineering Taq mutants and in determining the proper combination of PCR enhancer cocktails to assess STR profiles in challenging samples." — Robert Bever, Ph.D., Laboratory Director Mitotyping Technologies, A Division of American International Biotechnology

NIJ and University of South Carolina:
Improving Detection of Crime Scenes

August 2016

“This technology provides the ability to detect blood in all sorts of circumstances, even in some cases where traditional techniques can’t.” ─ Stephen L. Morgan, University of South Carolina

NIJ and University of South Florida:
Creating an International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification (DHI)
September 2016

“Forensic anthropology today is largely about applying methods and theory from studies in human variation to aid in the identification of human remains. The key is to find an approach which takes into account biological, cultural, and legal diversity so that families of the missing and the broader community find resolution and peace.” — Erin Kimmerle, Ph.D., Director, Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Sciences, University of South Florida

NIJ and University of Central Florida (UCF):
Identifying Ignitable Liquids in Fire Debris and Providing Error Rates for Purposes of Testifying

November 2016

“This technique provides an alternative objective method for classifying ignitable liquid residues, which is one of the only viable options for helping to progress fire debris analysis beyond a subjective comparison technique.” — Glen P. Jackson, Ph.D., Forensic and Investigative Science & C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University (WVU).

2015 Stories

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NIJ and Intelligent Automation, Inc.:
Demonstrating Objectivity in Ballistic Identification Statistical Validation Using Topographical Imagery
April 2015

"The problem firearms examiners have had when testifying in court is that their conclusions are guided by experience and are difficult to quantify. With this and related studies, there is now a body of science that can help firearms examiners convince a jury of the accuracy of firearms identification for certain firearms barrels.” - Benjamin Bachrach, PhD Intelligent Automation, Inc.

NIJ and Midwest Research Institute:
Introducing New Methods for DNA Analysis

April 2015

"The importance of this work is in the ideas it brought forward. It opened up new ways for the forensics community to think about how to do rapid genotyping.” - Micah Halpern, PhD Principal Investigator Formerly, Midwest Research Institute

NIJ and NetBio:
Advancing Rapid DNA Analysis

April 2015

"The NIJ was the first group to really give us a chance, to believe that there was something to our vision, and the NIJ grants that we were awarded were major building blocks in our development.” - Richard Selden CEO NetBio

NIJ and the National Museum of Health and Medicine:
Understanding the Ecology of Human Decomposition Methods for Estimating Postmortem Interval

April 2015

“In life and death the body is its own ecosystem.” -  Franklin Damann, PhD National Museum of Health and Medicine

NIJ and Texas State University:
Improving Identification of Mexican Hispanic Remains
April 2015

"Without the NIJ funding, none of this would have happened. We wouldn’t be getting proper sex estimates for people who are considered Hispanic, or properly be able to identify their geographic origin with confidence. The funding was absolutely crucial.” -  Kate Spradley, PhD Biological Anthropologist Texas State University–San Marcos

NIJ, UC Berkeley, and IntegenX:
Bringing Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA Identification to Law Enforcement
April 2015

“Ultimately, I think the most powerful application of this technology is going to be performing immediate analysis on DNA samples that are taken when people are arrested for felonies, because it will help keep serial criminals off the streets.” - Richard Mathies, PhD Chemist and Professor UC Berkeley