Just Improving Forensic Technology Transition

Just Improving Forensic Technology Transition

Original Release Date: January 12, 2024

In episode one of our Roadmap to Improving Technology Transition season, Just Science sat down with Lucas Zarwell, Director of the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at the National Institute of Justice, and Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller, Principal Scientist and Director of the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence at RTI International, to discuss a newly published roadmap that guides the transition of forensic research and technology innovations into the forensic practitioner community. 

During the development of new forensic technologies, there are various challenges that result in products not actually being utilized in forensic laboratories. To help the community overcome these challenges, the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group, or FLN-TWG, introduced a roadmap report with action items to help seamlessly and successfully implement new forensic technologies into practice. Listen along as Director Zarwell and Dr. Ropero-Miller describe ways that forensic research products can become unsuccessful, the importance of collaboration between forensic researchers and practitioners, and the process of developing the FLN-TWG roadmap report.

This episode is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award No. 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU). 

Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

Listen to or download the episode here:

View or download the episode transcript here:

Episode Citation

Shute, R., Zarwell, L., Ropero-Miller, J. (2024, January 12). Just Science. Just Improving Forensic Technology Transition. [Audio podcast episode]. The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence. 

Guest Biography

Lucas Zarwell is the Office Director for the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). He leads a team of dedicated forensic scientists who work to facilitate research and implement new technologies nationwide. Prior to this position, Mr. Zarwell served as Chief Toxicologist for the District of Columbia Chief Medical Examiner, DC Pre-Trial Services Forensic Drug Testing Laboratory, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Forensic Toxicology Laboratory.  Mr. Zarwell maintains his certification from the American Board of Forensic Toxicology and has a Masters in Forensic Science from George Washington University. He currently co-chairs the Office of Justice Programs/Department of Health and Human Services Federal Interagency Medicolegal Death Investigation Working Group, which is hosted by NIJ.

Dr. Jeri D. Ropero-Miller, F-ABFT, is a Principal Scientist in the Justice Practice Area of RTI International. With expertise in the areas of forensic toxicology and criminal justice research, she has published on topics of postmortem drug studies, emerging drugs, hair drug studies, drug surveillance and intelligence, program evaluation, and technology evaluation and adoption. Ongoing projects she leads and supports include the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence and its Criminal Justice Technology and Evaluation Consortium, the Drug Enforcement Administration-funded National Forensic Laboratory Information System, the Bureau of Justice Statistics-funded 2022 Census of Medical Examiners/Coroners’ Offices and 2019 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories. She is a certified Fellow in the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, currently serves on the Forensic Science Standards Board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Organization of Scientific Area Committees, and is Treasurer for the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. She is the 2021-2022 Past President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and its 2022 Rolla N. Harger Award recipient for Career Excellence in Forensic Toxicology. She is a Laboratory Inspector for the ABFT and has also served as a Laboratory Inspector for the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP). She received her doctorate in Clinical Chemistry and Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida College of Medicine. Her work has been extensively published and she is recognized nationally and internationally for her work in forensic and criminal legal systems research. Her work has been extensively published, and she is recognized nationally and international for her work in forensic laboratory and criminal justice research.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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