Skip to Main Content

Our academic sites are located at Florida International University (FIU) and the University of South Alabama (USA). Within USA, the affiliate site includes Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Boston University (BU), where research spans the field of forensic digital security (USA) and forensic microbiology (TAMU).

CARFS - Memorandum of Understanding

Florida International University logo   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 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Department of 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 Ph.D. programs in Forensic Chemistry and in Forensic Biology in the U.S.A. with almost 50 Ph.D. students. The goals of the new NSF-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 NSF-I/UCRC will leverage the existing research portfolio at FIU (~ $5 million dollars in active funding) and state-of-the-art research laboratory facilities in toxicology, material sciences, and forensic DNA analysis.

Research Faculty

University of South Alabama logo   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 understanding 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 ft 2 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.

Research Faculty

Texas A&M AgriLife Research logo   Texas A&M University

Texas A&M AgriLife Research is a state agency who is affiliated with the Texas A&M University System. Specifically, all faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (AGLS) at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas have an appointment in AgriLife Research. In addition to the faculty in the 14 academic departments that make up AGLS, there are 13 Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centers throughout the State of Texas where AgriLife Research faculty are located. Faculty at the Research and Extension Centers also hold an appointment in an on-campus department in AGLS.

AgriLife Research serves as the umbrella agency for the CARFS supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice through Texas A&M University.

A multi-disciplinary forensics team of researchers from within AGLS as well as other scientists from across multiple colleges at Texas A&M University ( College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Medicine) forms the forensic science research group. Collaborators from other universities including the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Texas State University are also an integral part of the program.

Undergraduate students are able to pursue their education in the forensic sciences through a FEPAC accredited Forensic & Investigative Sciences Program (B.S.). Graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) also are offered in a wide array of scientific disciplines affiliated with the forensic science research group.

The core forensic science concept at our site is forensic microbiology. Microbes influence numerous areas to include health, energy and food production, environmental remediation, and forensic science. Our research will investigate the role microbes play in decomposition. We will utilize lab and field-based experiments spanning microbiology, entomology and human biology through the implementation of cutting edge technologies including recently developed high throughput sequencing technologies to learn about the process; harvesting nature and its products to better serve humanity.

Results generated from this site will result in novel methods for solving crime, suppressing pathogens of humans, livestock and companion animals, while also creating new sources of energy, alternate sources of protein and protecting our infrastructure. Collaborations possible through CARFS will allow for multi-disciplinary training of students to address challenges faced today and possibly tomorrow in forensics and beyond.

Research Faculty

Boston University logo   Boston University

Boston University's Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at the School of Medicine is home to two world-class forensic science master's programs with eight faculty members available to participate in CARFS related research activities: the MS in Biomedical Forensic Sciences and the MS in Forensic Anthropology. With approximately 80 students enrolled in both programs, a highly dedicated faculty, cutting edge research facilities and instrumentation, students in our programs are part of a strong community that supports them in their research and professional endeavors. Students have access to a wide array of research facilities and state-of-the-art equipment housed within our Chemistry, Biology, DNA and Microscopy laboratories. All students obtain extensive instrumentation and analytical experience through their required laboratory courses and independent research. Students learn the fundamentals of crime scene investigation, documentation and chain of custody records by processing a mock crime scene at our 3-bedroom crime scene house, set on a 30-acre property that includes a barn and pond.

  • Forensic DNA Laboratories: Students learn and research the fundamentals of human identity by utilizing advanced techniques such as laser microdissection, qPCR, DNA sequencing and STR fragment analysis. Emphasis is placed on analysis of complex DNA mixtures.
  • Chemistry/Trace Laboratory: Students learn to quantitatively and qualitatively characterize materials such as controlled substances, ignitable liquids, energetic materials, hairs, fibers and other solid-state materials via the use of GC/MS, LC/MS-MS, FTIR, UV-Vis spectrophotometry and microscopy.
  • Biology and Dark Room Laboratories: Students practice general evidence examination and documentation including the use of alternate light sources and comparison quality photography. They learn biological screening using wet-chemical techniques, immunoassays and microscopy. Advanced technologies such as cell detection via fluorescence are also available.

Research Faculty

Sam Houston State University logo   Sam Houston State University

  • Sarah Kerrigan

    Sarah Kerrigan
    Professor, Chair of the Department of Forensic Science, Director [...]

  • Patrick Buzzini

    Patrick Buzzini
    Associate Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • J. Tyler Davidson

    J. Tyler Davidson
    Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • Madeleine Gates

    Madeleine Gates
    Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Programs, Department of Forensic [...]

  • Rachel Houston

    Rachel Houston
    Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • Sheree Hughes

    Sheree Hughes
    Associate Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • Tim Kalafut

    Tim Kalafut
    Associate Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • Geraldine Monjardez

    Geraldine Monjardez
    Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

  • Jorn Yu

    Jorn Yu
    Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University