All posts by Danny Nichols

NFSTC releases evaluation of the Applied Biosystems AmpFℓSTR® Identifiler® Plus STR amplification kit

To assist forensic laboratories in understanding the general performance of commercially available STR amplification kits, NFSTC has evaluated the Applied Biosystems AmpFℓSTR® Identifiler® Plus amplification kit as an addition to a previous study of eight kits manufactured by Applied BiosystemsTM and Promega Corporation. The kits were assessed for: sensitivity, peak height ratios at heterozygous loci, baseline noise, stutter ratio and amplification artifacts. These criteria were evaluated by analysis of single-source human DNA samples and a mixture series.

The current study was performed using the same sample set and performance standards as the previous amplification kit study.

Visit the Technology Evaluations page to download the complete report.

NFSTC earns honors in Ultimate Management Team awards

LARGO, Florida (December, 2010) – The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) executive team was again recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the area’s top management teams. CEO Kevin Lothridge, COO David Epstein and Chief Projects Officer David Sylvester accepted the award at the Journal’s event in early December. NFSTC took the #5 spot in a field of 21 finalists. The current management team has worked together since 2003 and has led the organization to new success levels over the past three years.

Selections were based on the organization’s achievements and growth in multiple areas.  NFSTC’s highlights included recent expansion plans and creative business solutions, but the secret of the team’s success has been to focus on building a strong staff team.

Executive team at awards luncheon
NFSTC's executive team proudly display their Ultimate Management Team award at the luncheon on December 2.

NFSTC’s efforts to attract and maintain a talented and satisfied workforce include a rich employment package with employer paid health benefits and retirement contributions, wellness and professional development benefits, and schedule flexibility. Overall retention rates of greater than 97 percent reflect outstanding staff satisfaction.

Key examples of NFSTC’s commitment to staff wellness, career growth, and employee satisfaction include:

  • A strong corporate culture: NFSTC staff is making a difference in the world, not just going to work
  • Organizational attitude that empowers individuals
  • Controlled growth to provide expanded opportunities for challenging work and professional development
  • Recruitment process that gives priority to internal candidates to provide growth opportunities to existing staff before opening positions to external sources
  • Semper Gumby mentality (be flexible and positive)
  • Strong focus on work/life balance and staying healthy
  • Benefits package that aims to ensure staff does not have to make decisions about their health or personal life that could negatively impact the employee or the company
  • An extensive orientation process that helps newcomers get to know the company and targets communication, conflict resolution and stress management

In addition, NFSTC seeks out opportunities for community participation, both locally and within the forensic science community. The executive team strongly believes in contributing to industry development through education and programmatic awareness.   NFSTC community leadership in Tampa Bay included the special CSI Night event in January, tours for STEM students in June and hosting the community science education event, SciCafe, in July.

Learn more about the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Ultimate Management Team 2010 event:

NFSTC’s Executive Team selected as finalist for 2010 Ultimate Management Team Award

NFSTC’s Executive Team—Kevin Lothridge, CEO, David Epstein, COO and Dave Sylvester, CPO—has been selected as a finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Ultimate Management Team Award. This competition recognizes the best and brightest management teams in the Tampa Bay area. Award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony held Thursday, December 2, 2010.

In 2009, NFSTC took the 5th spot in a field of 20 finalists. The current management team has worked together since 2003 and has led the organization to new success levels each year.

For more information and a list of finalists, visit the Tampa Bay Business Journal website at

Register Now! DNA Mixture Interpretation Workshop

Register now to attend the free, 3‐day DNA Mixture Interpretation Workshop for public US Crime Laboratories.

When:    March 15‐17, 2011
Where:  Clearwater, FL.


  • The evolution of DNA mixture interpretation
  • SWGDAM Guidelines, past and current
  • The design and execution of validations studies for establishing DNA mixture interpretation procedures
  • How modified procedures used to increase the sensitivity of DNA analyses impacts DNA mixture interpretation procedures
  • Reporting DNA mixtures and CODIS entry
  • Overview of statistical applications for DNA mixture interpretation
  • Practical exercises
  • Data analysis
  • Final Panel discussion

Cost: Free (Travel, lodging and meals are included)

Experience Level requirement: Qualified DNA Analysts employed at public US crime laboratories

To Apply:
Register now at Class size is limited.

Download flyer here: 

  DNA Mixture Workshop Flyer

Medicolegal Death Investigation Training Program Approved for Continuing Education Units (CEU) from ABMDI®

NFSTC is pleased to announce that the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) is offering Continuing Education Units for NFSTC’s Medicolegal Death Investigation Training Program. ABMDI has approved the online course for 16 hours of CEUs and an additional 16 CEU hours for completion of the onsite instructor-led course, which is comprised of approximately 24 hours of lecture, demonstration and hands-on activities. Those who successfully complete both courses are eligible for a total of 32 CEU hours from the ABMDI.

The ABMDI is a voluntary national, not-for-profit, independent professional certification board that was established to promote the highest standards of practice for medicolegal death investigators. ABMDI certifies individuals who have the proven knowledge and skills necessary to perform medicolegal death investigations as set forth in the National Institute of Justice publication, Death Investigation: a Guide for the Scene Investigator.

The purpose of this program is to provide medical examiners, coroners, and medicolegal death investigators with general knowledge of the scope and application of forensic sciences within the criminal justice system. To date, 149 students have enrolled to take the online course and 25 have attended an onsite capstone session.

The training is provided in partnership with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) under a Cooperative Agreement Award (#2009-DN-BX-K197) and is offered to eligible coroners and medicolegal death investigators. The training program will be completed as of May 31, 2011.