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VGL Scientists Named to Forensic Science Standards Organization

November 13, 2014

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The Organization for Scientific Area Committees, established to coordinate development of standards and guidelines for the forensic science community, has named 402 new members to 23 subcommittees on forensic disciplines ranging from firearms to DNA analysis. (Image credit: NIST)

Two forensic researchers in the school’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory were recently selected to serve on the first centralized organization to establish standards and guidelines for the forensic science community. Christina Lindquist and Jenny Giles are among 402 experts (from 898 total applicants) chosen by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to assist the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).

“This organization (OSAC) is the first real move to centralize standards for all disciplines of forensic science in the United States,” said Lindquist who will assume directorship of the VGL Forensic Unit in December. “It is quite exciting for our laboratory to be involved.”

The experts will serve on 23 subcommittees of the five Scientific Area Committees including: Biology/DNA, Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis, Crime Scene/Death Investigation, Digital/Multimedia and Physics/Pattern Interpretation. Giles and Lindquist will serve on the subcommittee on Wildlife Forensics and focus on standards and guidelines related to application of a range of scientific disciplines to legal cases involving non-human biological evidence. These disciplines include genetics, morphology, chemistry, pathology, anthropology and veterinary sciences. The organization is bringing a uniform structure to what was previously an ad hoc system with the goal of improving the quality and consistency of forensic science in the United States.