Category Archives: Laboratory

First and only DNA analyst online training now updated

NFSTC has released the only DNA analyst online training with updates to conform to and include the latest FBI Quality Assurance Standards (QAS), new techniques and technologies. The program is used as the knowledge base for new analysts in the laboratory, and can also be offered as supplement to university course work.

While the fundamentals of the training remained unchanged since its creation in 2005, there have been numerous updates to the technology and techniques in the intervening years. NFSTC has taken on the challenge and enhanced the training content to benefits laboratories and analysts around the world.

“Science doesn’t remain stagnant. It keeps advancing and so should the training we offer to the laboratories,” explains Kevin Lothridge, NFSTC CEO. “We took it upon ourselves to update the nine modules with the advancements we’ve seen in the field.”

These advancements include rapid and touch DNA; both of which are changing how quickly DNA can be analyzed and how much of it is needed to do so. Laboratory Technical Leaders will be able to access the program and resources, monitor student progress, receive assessment results and have the authority to establish thresholds for issuing certificate of completion.

Individual analysts or laboratory teams can enroll in the new training program through NFSTC’s website. Training costs are determined by the number of students enrolled.

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ROTC cadets begin two-week forensics internship


NFSTC is hosting 12 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets for two-weeks of instruction on forensic science and site exploitation at the NFSTC facility in Largo. This marks the fourth year NFSTC has provided this training and experience to ROTC cadets at no cost. With an ever growing need for battlefield forensics, this program aims to help cadets understand how the U.S. military uses forensic science to gather intelligence.

From July 16th through the 26th, these cadets from around the country will take part in classroom training, hands-on demonstrations and practical scenario-based exercises on crime scene investigation, photography, biological screening, improvised explosive device awareness, post-blast investigation, trace chemistry, firearms examination, fingerprinting, and basic digital forensics.

“NFSTC takes great pride in our country’s military forces and is happy to give something back in the form of this opportunity for ROTC cadets to experience battlefield forensics in a hands-on environment,” says NFSTC CEO Kevin Lothridge. “We hope the knowledge and experience they receive here has a positive impact and helps them in their careers.”

Cadets practice evidence photography.

Looking for training or technical assistance?

Does your agency need crime scene investigation training, forensic consulting, technology assessments or reviews?  During these lean economic times, forensic support can help bridge the gap between your agency’s limited resources and your challenging service requirements.

NFSTC is a Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) provider for the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), providing these and other services and support for local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies.  Whether you need to train personnel or find a way to increase case efficiencies, NFSTC’s nationwide network of forensic scientists and consultants are ready to help.

To request assistance, please let us know a little bit about the support you need using our quick and easy form online:  http://www.nfstc.org/resources/bja-tta-application/ 

We’ll reach out to you and coordinate submitting your request to BJA for approval. 

NFSTC also maintains a wide variety of online training at no charge. Visit http://projects.nfstc.org to see what is currently available for you and your investigative team.

NFSTC provides BJA TTA Services under cooperative agreement #2009-D1-BX-K028.  Organizations requesting training or technical assistance (TTA) will be required to provide information and justification for their request. All requests must be submitted at least 30-45 days prior to the anticipated date of service. BJA does not consider requests to purchase equipment as technical assistance requests.

Biological fluid collection device comparison

As technology advances and forensic scientists are able to examine ever smaller amounts of DNA, it becomes more important than ever that collection of biological material is done in a manner that is efficient, nondestructive and with the least possibility for contamination.

But while DNA analysis may employ high-tech equipment, a decidedly low-tech device is key to performing this process: a swab.

To determine whether some swabs are more efficient at collecting and releasing dried biological fluids than others, NFSTC scientists examined nine different swabs of varying materials/styles to gauge their performance in this application. In addition, the frequently utilized “double-swab technique” was examined to determine if it provided any additional advantages.

To review the results of the study, download the Swab Collection Comparison Study now.  To view additional reports, visit the NFSTC technology evaluations page.

This project was funded through the NIJ Forensic Technologies Center of Excellence, Award No. 2010-DN-BX-K210.