August 2023 Issue of The ISHI Report Now Live

Greetings and welcome to the August edition of the ISHI Report. As summer winds to a close here in Madison, WI, our team is engaged in final preparations for the 34th ISHI. We’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the symposium in Denver, Colorado.



This issue features contributions from authors who focus on programs that can help bring justice to underserved communities. Patricia Davis, from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) shares successes from the almost 40-year-old non-profit agency. Since its founding, NCMEC has grown into the nation’s largest child protection organization and has helped law enforcement recover more than 400,000 missing children. As DNA science advances, the agency is leveraging new technologies in their quest to identify the missing.


Yahaya Sumara Sulley shares the current status of DNA typing in Africa. Progress is being made in many countries throughout the continent, although big challenges remain in the quest to speed up the adoption of DNA databases, sample collection and processing. Yahaya offers suggestions for moving forensic science forward and envisions a future where DNA typing is routinely used in the pursuit of justice.


AnnaKay Kruger reports on forensic DNA analysis from the perspective of victims. She quotes Ashley Spence who was the survivor of a brutal sexual assault. Ashley has since become a victim advocate and strong proponent of expanding DNA legislation. She is founder of the DNA Justice Project, which focuses on legislative advocacy and forensic policy and seeks to educate lawmakers on the value of forensic DNA. Ryan Backmann, whose father was killed in a homicide, is the founder of the victim advocacy organization Project: Cold Case. This organization provides a resource for families to work closely with law enforcement to understand why their case has gone cold and explore other potential avenues of investigation.


Niki Osborne previews the research that she and other members of Expert Working Group (EWG) on Human Factors in Forensic DNA Interpretation team have done to explore how human factors can influence DNA interpretation. This group has spent several years reviewing scientific literature and technical knowledge to develop recommendations aimed at improving practice and reducing the likelihood of errors in DNA interpretation. The team will present a full day workshop at ISHI on Sunday, September 17 to share their findings and offer practical advice. Space is still available in this workshop. Full details and a registration link are available on the official symposium website,


Nancy Dinh provides insight from her work as a forensic scientist who often examines casework completed by other labs. She demonstrates how approaching evidence with fresh eyes and meticulous attention to detail can change the outcome of a case. Ms. Dinh encourages other forensic professionals to re-evaluate their laboratory practices and possibly enhance the way they perform their work.


We hope you enjoy this issue of the ISHI Report. As always, we welcome your comments and contributions to our publication.