Florida International University
The International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) at Florida International University (FIU) has been a leader in forensic science research since its founding in 1997. More than 10 active faculty researchers in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biological Sciences participate in IFRI and are engaged in 19 active research projects. The IFRI faculty and students published 34 peer-reviewed papers and presented more than 100 oral and poster presentations in 2014. Two patents were awarded in 2014 and several other new provisional patent applications continue to grow the IP portfolio. The IFRI coordinates FEPAC accredited academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level and houses one of the largest PhD programs in Forensic Chemistry and in Forensic Biology in the U.S. with almost 50 PhD students. The goals of the new I/UCRC research site are to bring together industrial partners (including the end-user community) and academic researchers with an aim to develop, implement and commercialize new tools that benefit the national forensic science enterprise. The new I/UCRC will leverage the existing research portfolio at FIU (~ $ 5.M in active funding) and state-of-the-art research laboratory facilities in toxicology, material sciences and forensic DNA analysis.
George Washington University
The George Washington University Forensic Science Research Center (GWUFSRC) blossomed after moving the Department of Forensic Science to the Mount Vernon Campus in 2009. This allowed for the accommodation of expanded research space and FEPAC Accreditation. More than 10 active faculty researchers in the Department of Forensic Science participate in GWUFSRC research, either as mentors of the 47 FEPAC students or as investigators on the eight funded projects. GWU has one of the oldest and largest forensic science programs in the United States, with a total of 98 graduate students working on master’s degrees in forensic science, with one Ph.D. student from the Chemistry Department with a concentration in forensic science. We presently have collaborations with industrial partners. Participation in the I/UCRC will allow the department to extend the interaction of the academic researchers with industrial partners and increase the approximately 1.4 million dollars in active funding using our state of the art laboratory facilities in analytical chemistry, trace evidence and forensic molecular biology.
The Northeastern Forensic Research Center (NFORCE) site at Northeastern University, in the educational hub of Boston, Massachusetts is one of several research sites within the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS). NFORCE is fully committed to working across Industry, University and Government sectors to provide solutions to emerging threats that exist within our society. Emerging threats present themselves in a variety of ways including energetic materials, toxic substances, radiation exposure, DNA damage, and security breaches; all of these factors challenge our general sense of security and provide pertinent areas for forensic science research.
Such an effort takes the leadership and talents of many parties and Northeastern can meet this challenge. The formation of strong partnerships between Industry and Academia through the established NSF I/UCRC model is an effective way of addressing these needs and accomplishing the goals of each party at the speed of business. The NFORCE site is fully committed to working with other Principal Investigators at our partner sites within CARFS as well as faculty researchers at the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis here at Northeastern.
The Barnett Institute was established in 1973 as a center for advanced interdisciplinary research in the chemical analysis sciences. It is housed in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology in the College of Science at Northeastern and had its initial beginnings in forensic science through a grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, which later became the Office of Justice Programs. Today, the Institute is recognized internationally as one of the premier centers for cutting-edge research and advanced training in analytical chemistry for biomedical applications. Students and staff are trained to think analytically and understand the complexity of sample characterization as well as an in-depth appreciation for the goals of the applications under investigation.
Specific areas of interest include:
Human Identification and Source Attribution: Processes and protocols for association of unique bacterial strains to individuals and their past histories (e.g. travel), crime scenes, or evidence. Potential products: Standardized kits and protocols for human identification, crime scene investigation, and evidence analysis.
Taphonomy: Investigation of microbial succession and microbial interactions with the necrobiome as a means to determine post mortem intervals. Potential commercial products: Kits and processes for PMI determination, unique bacteria and enzymes for commercial development, antibiotics and quorum sensing compounds for pharmaceutical application.
Counterterrorism/Drug interdiction: Development of processes and protocols for investigation of clandestine activities related to drug production and transport, explosive manufacture, etc. Potential commercial products: New counter terrorism techniques and associated procedures and kits.
Validation Services: In house testing and validation of external protocols, procedures and instruments appropriate for the field of Microbial Forensics. Potential commercial interest: Beta-testing, development, and validation of new products and procedures.
Subject Matter Experts: Concentration of expertise in the field microbial forensics. Potential commercial interest: Access to expertise for problem solving, guidance on kit development, software development, concept development for novel applications, and focal point for training for technology transfer.
University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama (USA) site for the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science focuses on Digital Forensics Information Intelligence (DFII). Broadly defined, DFII is the development, testing, and implementation of novel approaches to understand not only how devices, information systems, and software can be compromised, but also how one can reliably determine how those compromises occurred. We strive to enhance the body of knowledge in digital forensic science through core long-term research thrusts in malicious software analysis, technology evaluation, and detection and exploitation. Eleven faculty members at the School of Computing are working in areas relevant to the Site, primarily in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Shelby Hall, home to the School, is a 165,000 ft2 state-of-the-art research and teaching facility dedicated to computing and engineering. Located on the central Gulf Coast, USA is a growing research institution of over 16,000 students in a region experiencing robust economic development. The area has one of the highest growth, highest employment, and most diverse economies in the South featuring key industry sectors in shipping, shipbuilding, chemical, aerospace, energy, and tourism.