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A collection of press releases about forensic science research conducted by Penn State scientists.
Research in Action: NIJ Grant Allows Penn State Scientists to Explore Heteroplasmic Variants in Mitochondrial DNA
21 January 2015A new grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will help scientists from Penn State’s Eberly College of Science delve deep into the world of mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, used to help solve crime in forensic investigations.
Research in Action: With New Grant, Penn State Aims to Bring Next-Generation DNA Sequencing to Working Crime Laboratories
08 January 2015Penn State’s Forensic Science program is a partner on a new National Institute of Justice grant that will test DNA investigative tools that utilize next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. Penn State will work in conjunction with the Battelle Memorial Institute, the lead institution on the grant, and six other federal and local laboratories. As the sole university partner, Penn State will be performing evaluations of forensic investigative tools that will expand the capabilities of forensic DNA laboratories.
Probing Question: Do Women Dominate the Field of Forensic Science?
08 May 2013Exhuming corpses, analyzing bloodstained clothing, collecting "crime scene insects" (yes, maggots)...these are some of the grittier realities of life as a forensic scientist. Yet defying the stereotype that females tend to be squeamish about such things, an entire generation of young women have become entranced by the profession, inspired in part by characters such as Abby Sciuto on the television drama NCIS. In fact, they've pursued this career in such numbers that—unlike almost every other scientific discipline—one could argue that the booming field of forensic science is a female domain. Has forensic science, in fact, become a woman's field?
Pinpointing accuracy: Research helps solidify evidence in court
02 October 2012This article, written by Barbara Kennedy and featuring the work of Penn State scientist Cedric Neumann, originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times (CDT) on 30 September 2012 in the bimonthly "Focus on Research" column, which highlights different research projects being conducted at Penn State.
Barriers to the Use of Fingerprint Evidence in Court Unlocked by Statistical Model
08 February 2012Fingerprints that are potential key pieces of evidence in court currently are not being considered due to shortcomings in the way this evidence is reported, according to a report by a Penn State Assistant Professor of Forensic Science and Statistics Cedric Neumann, published today in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. Neumann has devised a statistical model to enable the weight of fingerprint evidence to be expressed in quantitative terms, paving the way for its full inclusion in the criminal-identification process.
Penn State University's Eberly College of Science and Its Forensic Science Program Establish Partnership with the University of Split in Croatia
01 December 2011The Eberly College of Science at Penn State University, in conjunction with its Forensic Science Program, has established a partnership program with the University of Split in Croatia to expand educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and to encourage relationships between the faculties of the two universities. The new partnership will facilitate student exchange programs; faculty exchanges; joint research projects; educational programs in forensic science and other scientific disciplines; faculty development; and the exchange of scientific materials, publications, and information.
Penn State Forensic Scientists to Study Reliability of Fingerprint Identification Techniques
01 November 2010While most of America’s knowledge of forensic science doesn’t extend much further than the CSI coming from their TV screens, those involved in science know there’s much more to it than that. Forensic science is a major “to die for,” and it is really an area of science in which constant research is being conducted and new discoveries are being made. CSI is actually right on point in their attempt to test fingerprints, but there is never mention of questioning of the tests. Since fingerprint comparison is one of the cornerstones of forensic crime investigation, and is recognized as an efficient means of personal identification, it is critical that the forensic examination of fingerprint retains public confidence.
New Insights Into the Smell of Death Could Help Recover Bodies in Disasters and Solve Crimes
17 August 2009In an advance toward the first portable device for detecting human bodies buried in disasters and at crime scenes, two Penn State forensic scientists report early results from a project to establish the chemical fingerprint of death. According to Dan Sykes, senior lecturer and director of analytical instructional laboratories at Penn State and the project's leader, "Acertaining a profile of the chemicals released from decomposing bodies could lead to a valuable new addition to the forensic toolkit: an electronic device that could determine the time elapsed since death quickly, accurately, and onsite." The team is presenting its research in a poster at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society at 7:00 p.m. on 16 August 2009.

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