All posts by Danny Nichols

NFSTC hosts medical examiners for Medicolegal Death Investigation Training Program

NFSTC hosted 25 forensic pathology fellows from around the country last week to learn to apply forensic science techniques to their everyday work. This hands-on class is part of a larger program to reach 100 medical examiners, coroners and medicolegal death investigators. This particular class included forensic pathologists fulfilling the requirements of their fellowship program. 

Students prepare for final presentations
In preparation for final presentations, students gather in groups to analyze their efforts at the mock death scenes.

Feedback from students attending the first on-site session was positive: 

“This is an excellent course and it was the most worthwhile course I had in a very long time.”  

“The training was very effective at enhancing the curriculum for forensic pathology fellowship. All topics presented were areas in which I’ve had little prior experience.”  

“I feel my photography skills will be better [after the course]. I think I will be much more effective in working with our crime lab team at the scene in order to make decisions on how to process a body/scene.” 

The capstone training focused on using scenario-based practical exercises that put students into mock physical death scenarios. Students learned how to determine what evidence was present that should be collected, as well as how to collect and preserve the evidence. 

NFSTC hosted this program in conjunction with the Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice under a Cooperative Agreement Award (#2009-DN-BX-K197). 

Mock death scene
Mock death scene
Evidence collected at mock death scene
Evidence collected at mock death scene

NFSTC tests mini-vacuum for collection of DNA

The most common method of collecting DNA is swabbing. It’s effective, affordable and has been used for decades. But is there a better method than the tried-and-true swab technique to collect biological evidence? To determine if the BioTx Innovac® II, a small, lightweight vacuum device, was more efficient at collecting DNA from a variety of surfaces, NFSTC conducted a thorough evaluation. Visit the Technology Evaluation page to download the complete report.

NFSTC puts PHAZIR™ through its paces

Polychromix PHAZIR handheld near-infrared analyzer
Polychromix handheld PHAZIR™ near-infrared analyzer

Near-infrared spectroscopy is currently utilized in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, environmental monitoring and petrochemical production. But is it the right technology for rapidly identifying materials such as controlled substances and explosives? NFSTC recently evaluated the Polychromix PHAZIR™ analyzer to find out. Visit the Technology Evaluations page to download the complete evaluation report.