Beyond The STRs: Effectively Using Forensic DNA Technology to Solve Current and Prevent Future Crime Workshop

Sunday September 17th, 2023 // 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm // Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Mineral Hall ABC

Early Registration$150.00
Standard Registration (after July 15)$175.00
Student Registration$125.00

Fee includes materials and breaks.


In this workshop, attendees will learn how additional DNA analyses can be leveraged cost-effectively to solve current investigations and prevent future crime. Attendees will be introduced to the various methods of indirect DNA matching, including the use of X-STRs, Y-STRs, mitochondrial DNA, familial searching, and forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG). We will explore how these techniques can be used in combination for routine casework, and how it can be done cost-effectively. Finally, we will hear from analysts on how they have used these techniques in sexual assaults, disaster victim identification, missing persons and unidentified human remains identifications, and cold cases.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Present alternative DNA analyses that can be used to further current investigations and help prevent future crime
  • Provide description, theory, and practical application of expanded DNA indirect matching (EDIM), familial searching, and forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG) to improve learning and comprehension of the topic for workshop participants
  • Present how these techniques can be used together in routine casework
  • Provide objective information and data for attendees to create a business case for the selection of a future technology that suits their laboratory’s needs
  • Show real examples of laboratories using a combination of different techniques on various case types, including sexual assault, disaster victim identification, missing persons and unidentified human remains cases, and active casework.


Intended Audience:

  • DNA analysts
  • Criminalists
  • Lab Directors
  • Technical Leaders



Ray WickenheiserChair

Director for the New York State Police Crime Lab System

Ray has over 40 years of experience working in the field of forensic science.  His areas of expertise include crime lab administration, quality management, conflict resolution, forensic DNA and mixture interpretation, serology, hair and fiber trace evidence, physical matching and comparison, glass fracture analysis, forensic grain comparison and forensic investigative genetic genealogy

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Private: Urfan Mukhtar

Supervisor of Forensic Services, DNA Casework Section, New York State Police

During Urfan Mukhtar's career, he was afforded the opportunity to be trained in processing and analyzing kinship, missing persons, human remains, and complex mixture cases. He and a team specializing in kinship cases were tasked with designing, internally validating, and implementing the NYSP Familial Search program in 2018.

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Private: Dan Myers

DNA Analyst, New York State Police

As part of his duties as a DNA Analyst he has specialized in kinship analysis, bone/fetal sampling, and familial searching.  In addition, he has been tasked with training NYSP staff in kinship analysis and validation/implementation/improvement of familial searching for the state of New York.

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Private: Rachel Oefelein

DNA Labs International (DLI)

Rachel Oefelein is currently the Director of Research and Innovation, Quality Assurance Manager, and a Senior DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International (DLI). Since joining DNA Labs International in 2014, Rachel has testified in eleven Florida counties, five states and U.S. Territories, and five countries as an expert witness for both the prosecution and the defense in misdemeanor and felony trials, as well as Williams, Daubert, and Arthur hearings.

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Private: Steven Smugeresky

Detective, Major Crimes Division / Cold Case & Missing Persons Squad, Montgomery County Department of Police

Detective Smugeresky was sworn in as a Montgomery County Police Officer in 2002.  His is currently assigned to the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit after spending 19 plus years in patrol-based units. 

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Private: Mandi VanBuren

DNA Technical Leader, Kern Regional Crime Laboratory

Mandi Van Buren is the DNA Technical Leader for the Kern Regional Crime Laboratory, a division of the Kern County District Attorney's Office in Bakersfield, California.  She has over 12 years of experience as a DNA analyst in forensic casework. 

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