Faculty, Students Present at National Forensic Science Conference

Among the presenters on a STAFS project were (l to r) Angela Rippley, Dr. Joan Bytheway, Kim Perez and Kevin Derr.Among the presenters on a STAFS project were (l to r) Angela Rippley, Dr. Joan Bytheway, Kim Perez and Kevin Derr.

Faculty and students from Sam Houston State University recently presented their research at an annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Atlanta.

The conference included more than 800 scientific papers, breakfast seminars, workshops and other special events. The AAFS consists of 11 sections representing a wide range of forensic specialties, and the annual scientific meeting gathers these professionals who present the most current information, research and updates in their expanding fields.

Sam Houston State University was well represented by faculty and students from the Master of Forensic Science Program and the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. A total of 10 scientific papers were presented by SHSU at the 2012 annual meeting.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Dr. Sarah Kerrigan, Director of the Forensic Science Program. “The publication record of our students is outstanding. Last year we published 17 papers in peer reviewed journals or at national scientific meetings. So far, 2012 is off to a great start thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of our students and faculty.”

Sam Houston State University offers a Masters of Science in Forensic Science, which includes coursework in biological sciences, chemistry and criminal justice. The courses are designed to provide both classroom and laboratory exposure to the fields of criminalistics, toxicology, DNA , crime scene investigation and anthropology. Since the program began in 2006, SHSU will graduate a total of 100 forensic science students by May, and 90 percent of the MSFS students have found jobs in their desired field of study.

“Getting students involved in national conferences such as this lets them see the complete picture,” said Dr. Joan Bytheway. ”They spend so much time collecting data, analyzing it, preparing posters and then they get to show it off at the conference. The students get to discuss and debate their findings with other scholars, and it is always helpful. Students come back encouraged and feeling good about what they did. They frequently say they learned a lot and had a great time!"

Among the projects presented at the conference were:

  • A comparison of Alprazolam levels in blood and urine (Danielle A. Dela Cruz, Chris Heartsill and Dr. Jorn Yu)
  • Species composition of the maggot mass (Ashleigh M. Faris, Drs. Sibyl Bucheli and David Gangitano)
  • Stages of decomposition of human remains in a subtropical humid environment (Kevin Derr, Kim Perez, Angela Rippley and Dr. Joan Bytheway)
  • Extraction of methamphetamine from postmortem blood samples by molecularly imprinted polymers for selective solid phase extractions (Nicole M. Harre, Ashley J. Pipkin, Dr. Jorn Yu and Colin C. Anderson)
  • An atypical burn pattern associated with forensically significant human remains (Nicole Larison and Dr. Joan Bytheway)
  • Comparison of genetic markers and developmental validation of the multicopy LINE-1 marker for use in a sensitive real-time quantification method (Jaclyn B. Kenline, Lauren G. Bouse, Pablo A. Noseda and Dr. David Gangitano)
  • Estimation of the postmortem interval of human remains in a subtropical humid environment using accumulated degree-days and total body scoring (Kevin R. Derr, Angela Rippley, Steve Noser and Dr. Joan Bytheway)
  • Preparation of molecularly imprinted monolithic polymers as the stationary phase for liquid chromatography (Yuanwei Gao, Seongshin Gwak, Dr. Jorn C.C. Yu)
  • Evaluation of the immunalysis tapentadol enzyme immunoassay kit (Kayla N. Ellefsen, MacKenzie L. Willis, Ayodele A. Collins, and Dr. James A. Bourland and Ronald C. Backer)
  • Validation and comparison of the microgenics and immunalysis buprenorphine EIA kits—MacKenzie L. Willis, Kayla N. Ellefsen, Ayodele A. Collins and Drs. James A. Bourland and Ronald C. Backer)
  • Method development and validation for the detection of cannabinoids in blood using (Eduardo Padilla and Sarah E. Martin)
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