Pathology & Medicolegal Death Investigation

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.

To filter, simply click on the topics below.

test tube & molecules

Use of Rapid Toxicology Screening Tools in Medical Examiner/Coroner Offices

Date November 2021 Summary All medical examiner/coroner (ME/C) offices must make difficult decisions when allocating resources for timely, complete medicolegal death investigations. In some cases, toxicological analysis of a decedent’s biological specimens (e.g., blood, urine, tissue) can help determine cause…
bug & DNA

Molecular Identification of Insects Relevant to Medicolegal Casework

This webinar originally occurred on December 2nd, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Accurate insect identification is critical to their use in estimation of time of colonization (TOC) and post-mortem interval (PMI) during medicolegal death investigations. Insect specimens are currently identified by…
US and forensic science disciplines

2021 Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders Public Meeting

Overview The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), held a Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders meeting on November 8, 2021 from 9:00AM…
landscape

Harnessing Data to Implement Real-Time Data-Driven Overdose Response Strategies

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on December 7th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour In response to the lack of real-time reporting of both non-fatal and fatal overdoses across the United States, the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug…
certificate of death and drugs

Death Certification by the Medical Examiner/Coroner in Drug-Related Deaths

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 30th, 2021  Duration: 1 hour Considering the steadily rising number of overdose deaths in recent years, public health systems rely on the vital role of medicolegal death investigation…
tiles and data

Data Systems Imperative in 21st Century Forensic Services

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 16th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Forensic science and service providers are, almost universally, experiencing a two-fold challenge to achieve effective results: diminishing resources and increasing demands for quality…

The Importance of Data to the MDI Community and Stakeholders

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 2nd, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Many stakeholders rely on medicolegal death investigation (MDI) data to support efforts that help save lives and promote justice. These stakeholders include federal,…
feet, person touching tablet, human diagram

Medicolegal Death Investigation (MDI) Webinar Series

Overview The medicolegal death investigation (MDI) system, which includes Medical Examiner and Coroner offices, serves a fundamental role for supporting public safety by conducting death scene investigations, performing forensic autopsies, providing cause and manner of death determinations, and completing death…
question marks and silhouettes

2021 National Forensic Science Week Practitioner Interviews

← Back to Main Page Overview The FTCoE has conducted a variety of written interviews with forensic professionals in various stages of their careers. From recent graduates to retired professionals, the FTCoE showcases real-world perspectives on the current state of…

2021 National Forensic Science Week FTCoE Student Research Poster Session

Overview  As fall semesters are getting back into session and in honor of the upcoming National Forensic Science Week (September 19-25, 2021), the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) would like to highlight student research in the forensic sciences! The…

Overdose Fatality Investigation Techniques: Lessons Learned from Project ECHO

This webinar originally occurred on Thursday, October 7th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour State and territorial public health agencies rely on timely and accurate overdose mortality data to drive effective prevention initiatives. As the number of overdose deaths in the United…

Criminal Justice and Public Health Response for Emerging Drug Threats

Overview In a joint effort with the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), FTCoE develops capabilities that meet the needs of forensic science organizations to improve collaborations across the criminal justice and public…
FADAMA logo with skull

Introduction to the Forensic Anthropology Database for Assessing Methods Accuracy

This webinar originally occurred on August 31st, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Data availability is the cornerstone of progression of any scientific inquiry. For forensic anthropologists, the data sources are limited, as they must be contextually appropriate (temporal, geographical, etc.) for…
type writer with stack of papers

Multiple Perspectives on Overdose Fatality Reviews

This webinar originally occurred on July 27th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar provided an overview of overdose fatality reviews (OFRs) with a specific focus on engaging partnerships with coroners, medical examiners, and medicolegal death investigators.  The presenters highlighted OFRs…
hand touching hexagons

Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation

Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation The National Institute of Justice and its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence convene the Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation in collaboration with and supported by the Centers…
microphone and headphones

Just Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Pathology Portfolio

Original Release Date: June 18, 2021 In episode three of our 2021 NIJ R&D and Beyond mini season, Just Science sat down with Danielle McLeod-Henning, a physical scientist and program manager in the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at NIJ, to discuss Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Pathology.   Danielle McLeod-Henning has been the physical…
three xray scans

Post-Mortem Computed Tomography Webinar Series

Overview Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) is a valuable tool for medicolegal death investigation.  PMCT examination may be used to supplement traditional autopsy or anthropological examinations. Further, PMCT combined with external examination may be used as an alternative to full autopsy…
microphone and headphones

Just the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System

In episode eight, Just Science interviews DeMia Pressley from the DEA’s Diversion Control Division to discuss the importance of information sharing across law enforcement and public health agencies through forensic partnerships.  The National Forensic Laboratory Information System, otherwise known as NFLIS, is a…
microphone and headphones

Just Alternative Crisis Response: One Community’s Experience

In episode six, Just Science interviews Tim Black of the White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon about the CAHOOTS program, a community-based public safety model that provides mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and substance use…
microphone and headphones

Just Partnerships To Enhance Overdose Fatality Review

In episode five, Just Science interviews Dr. Mallory O’Brien, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, to discuss how partnerships can enhance Overdose Fatality Reviews.  The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is the only state-based reporting system that covers all types…
microphone and headphones

Just The Importance of Identifying Emerging Drug Threats

Original Release Date: February 5th, 2021 In episode three, Just Science sat down with Amanda Mohr and Dr. Alex Krotulski from the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education to discuss the analytical and interpretative challenges associated with emerging drug threats.  The Center for Forensic Science…
microphone and headphones

Just the Intersection of Opioids and Illicit Stimulants Part 2

Original Release Date: January 29, 2021 This week, we continue the conversation with Dr. Zibbell as he discusses the American history of drug epidemics, what we can learn from past stimulant crises, and the importance of tailoring interventions in this episode of Just Science.  This season is in…
Person holding vile

The National Institute of Justice and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence’s National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum

Report Date July 2020 Introduction The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence hosted the National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum on July 18-19, 2019, in Washington, DC. The forum explored…
microphone and headphones

Just Blowflies and Extreme Temperatures

In episode five of the 2020 R&D Season, Just Science interviews Dr. Travis Rusch, a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M University, about fluctuating temperatures in forensically important blowflies. Forensic entomologists use predictable developmental rates of certain necrophagus insects to estimate time of colonization, postmortem interval, and time of…
microphone and headphones

Just Skeletal Remains Identification

In episode two of the 2020 R&D Season, Just Science interviews Dr. Heather Garvin, Associate Professor of Anatomy at Des Moines University, about her work with OSTEOID, an online resource for species identification of skeletal remains.  Approximately 30-40% of cases involving skeletal remains received by forensic anthropologists end up being…

2019 National Institute of Justice Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…
a field of red flowers

Forensic Epidemiology: Monitoring Fatal Drug Overdose Trends

This webinar originally occurred on February 11th, 2020Duration: 1 hour Given the vital role of medical examiners and coroners (ME/C) in recognizing emerging trends in drug overdose deaths, partnering epidemiologists with ME/C offices can greatly enhance the utility of the…
scientist measuring bruises under blue and green lights

Detection and Visibility of Bruises Using Alternate Light: From Science to Practice

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) Bruising is one of the most common types of soft tissue injury noted on victims of violence, including those suffering intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child…
five scientists having a discussion behind glass

Handling Difficult and Disturbing Forensic Cases for Coroners and Medical Examiners

This webinar originally occurred on October 17th, 2019 Duration: 1 hour There are over 2000 medical examiner and coroner offices throughout the United States. All are involved in determining the cause and manner of death and communicating this information to…
microphone & headset

Special Release: Just the Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners

<<< back to all podcasts Just the Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners 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…
chemical compounds

Opioids & Emerging Drug Threats – Integrating Public Safety and Health Data for a Forensic Response Webinar Series

Overview Building on the momentum of the National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum held earlier this year in Washington, D.C., the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) will assist the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in a complementary initiative surrounding the topic by hosting…
Decorative banner mimicking the appearance of concrete with Forensic Technology Center of Excellence fingerprint logo

The Opioid Epidemic: An Update from the Coroner/ME Perspective

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 Duration: 50 minutes Between 2016 and 2017, overdose deaths increased from 63,632 to 70,237. Of these, 47,600 overdose deaths involved opioids. In 2017, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia were the top…
Decorative banner mimicking the appearance of concrete with Forensic Technology Center of Excellence fingerprint logo

Medicolegal Death Investigation: Locating and Notifying Next of Kin & Donation 101

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 Duration: 1.75 hour(s) Locating and notifying the next of kin is an important part of medicolegal death investigation. This presentation provided examples of resources at the scene and online to assist medicolegal death investigators (MDIs) with…
old hand holding young hand

Cradle to Cane: Investigation of Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims

Overview: In 2017, the National Institute of Justice, Charleston Southern University, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, and the Shaken Baby Alliance worked together to create and host “From Cradle to Cane: Investigation of Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims.” This two-day conference, held in Charleston, SC, focused…

Online Workshop Series: Probabilistic Genotyping Of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results

Overview The Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory has partnered with the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence to create a series of online workshops aimed at increasing knowledge, understanding, and the reliable application of probabilistic genotyping to…
microphone & headset

Identification: Just Forensic Microanthropology

<<< back to all podcasts Just Forensic Microanthropology In episode seven of the Identification season, Just Science interviews Carlos Gutierrez, a lecturer at Chaminade University of Honolulu, about the new field of Forensic Microanthropology. After finding an unidentified bone, forensic…

HHRRC – Building Forensic Capacity Post-Conflict: Lessons from Uganda

This webinar originally occurred on March 28th, 2019Duration: 1.5 hours This presentation introduces research conducted in Uganda at the nexus of forensic science and transitional justice, highlighting a large-scale forensic investigation and human identification capacity-building workshop for Ugandan stakeholders. Detailed…

HHRRC – Stable Isotope Analysis in a Humanitarian Context

The webinar originally occurred on March 12th, 2019Duration: 1.5 hours This webinar will introduce stable isotope analysis and its validity as analytical tool in establishing the geographic origin and life history of unidentified individuals from forensic and humanitarian contexts. In…

HHRRC – Isotopes Aiding Identification of Undocumented Border Crosser Human Remains

This webinar originally occurred on February 6th, 2019Duration: 1.5 hours This webinar highlights the theory and methods of isotopic analysis to explain how it can be used to assist in the identification of human remains for undocumented border crossers who…

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…

Variability in Blow-Fly Development – Research and Implications for PMI Practice

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 2:00 PM ET – 4:00 PM ET Duration: 2 hour(s) Dr. Leon Higley’s work to characterize blow-fly species indicates that there is variation within a single population–the bell curve is wide. Dr. Higley will share his…

Advancing Research Initiatives and Combatting the Human Trafficking Epidemic

Thursday, November 1, 2018 1:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) Trafficking in persons is a multi-faceted global epidemic which has seen a significant increase in public awareness. However, there is a substantial need to expand capacities…

Estimating Blow Fly Age and Reducing Error in Postmortem Interval Cases

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 2:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration: 2 hour(s) Insect evidence can provide valuable information during death investigations. Forensic entomologists estimate the ages of the immature insects like blow flies, which can provide useful information…

Strengthening the Medical Examiner–Coroner System Through NIJ-funded Programs: 2018 Medicolegal Death Investigation Stakeholders’ Meeting

Report Date September 2018 Report Summary On February 5–6, 2018, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation agency of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), convened a diverse group of stakeholders from across the United States…

Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center Webinar Series

Overview The Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center (HHRRC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) with support from the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence provides needed resources and support to apply modern forensic science…

Forensic Workforce Resiliency: Vicarious Trauma & Workplace Stress Webinar Series

Overview Professionals throughout the criminal justice system are exposed to the aftermath of violent crime and its victims. These individuals may include forensic nurses, crime scene investigators, forensic practitioners, medicolegal death investigators, and other professionals in related fields. Research has…

3D-ID-Geometric Morphometric Classification of Crania for Forensic Scientists Software Best Practices

Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) Attendees will be introduced to the new features of the new software release, how to maximize results, and how to best interpret results for forensic casework…

Three Part Online Workshop Series: Best Practices Guidance for Advancing Research Initiatives and Combatting the Synthetic Drug Epidemic

Archives   Overview The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) is a world-leading center in novel drug identification and interpretation. The CFSRE is working in association with NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), led by RTI International,…

Conference Proceedings: 2018 Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…

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…
microphone & headset

Just Dry Bones

Just Dry Bones In the seventh episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence , guest speakers Dr. Melissa Connor, Dr. Eriek Hansen, and Christiane Baigent discuss their NIJ funded research. A study was launched in…

2016 National Institute of Justice Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…

HHRRC – Stable Isotope Forensics & Unknown Persons Investigations

This webinar originally occurred on May 24, 2017 Duration: 2 hours This webinar discussed applications of stable isotope analysis for predicting region of origin of unidentified border crossers found within the United States. Participants will understand the applications and limitations…

HHRRC – Analysis and Conservation of Human Remains in Cambodia

The webinar originally occurred on May 16th, 2017 Duration: 1 hour This presentation provides an introduction to the work conducted in Cambodia to analyze/preserve human remains from violence committed by the Khmer Rouge. Specifically the site of Krang Ta Chan,…

Advanced Radiologic Imaging in Medicolegal Death Investigation

Overview In conjunction with the University of New Mexico, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted a technology transition workshop focusing on advanced radiologic imaging for medicolegal death investigation on November 11-13, 2016. The workshop was held at the New…

2013 R&D: Straight to the Bone: Advances in Forensic Anthropology

This archival portion of the 2013 R&D Seminar Series covers the following presentations: • Improving Sex Estimation from Crania using 3-Dimensional CT Scans – Natalie Shirley • Independent Validation Test of Microscopic Saw Mark Analysis – Jennifer Love • A Subadult…

2013 R&D: Postmortem Interval and Molecular Autopsy – Part II [Archival]

This archival portion of the 2013 R&D Seminar Series covers the following presentations: Applications of Curvilinear Development Modeling for the Blow Fly Lucilia Sericota – Leon Higley Investigating Unexplained Deaths through Molecular Autopsies – Yingying Tang Funding for this Forensic…

2013 R&D: Postmortem Interval and Molecular Autopsy – Part I [Archival]

This archival portion of the 2013 R&D Seminar Series covers the following presentations: Microbial Community Change Associated with Decomposing Corpses – Rob Knight Using Differential RNA Degradation to Estimate an Extended Postmortem Interval – Joshua Moore Funding for this Forensic…

2017 NIJ R&D Series Anthropology & Microbial Forensics

Archival Version – The NIJ Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium was a free and open meeting where attendees learned about NIJ-funded research across a variety of forensic science areas. Afternoon Session I – Anthropology & Microbial Forensics Speakers & Presentations…
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…
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…