Using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) to Improve Sexual Assault Investigations Workshop

Thursday November 3rd, 2022 // 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm // Annapolis 1-2

Early Registration$200.00
Standard Registration$220.00
Virtual Registration$125.00


Sexual assault kits make up the majority of operational casework for many laboratories in the United States. Next-generation sequencing offers enhanced technical and analytical capabilities that can aid in processing these kits effectively. This workshop explores how NGS can obtain more information, provide more investigative leads and thus reduce the backlog. A panel of experts will discuss (1) the strengths and limitations of CE and NGS, (2) the value of Y-STRs and SNPs for short and long range familial searches, (3) options for STR and SNP mixture deconvolution, and (4) data interpretation and validation studies to enable seamless implement NGS for sexual assault resolution.


Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the relative benefits and limitations of CE and NGS for processing sexual assault samples in an operational laboratory setting
  2. Learn how novel markers and techniques can be employed in analysis of sexual assault casework
  3. Discover what mixture deconvolution software options are available for the different markers available with NGS
  4. How other labs have evaluated or validated NGS for their sexual assault casework workflows

Handouts include development validation studies and implementation strategies.


Intended Audience:

Lab directors, Technical Leaders, Forensic scientists, Criminalists


Tentative Agenda:

  1. Baselining sexual assault workflows in operational labs – Bruce Budowle
  2. Why NGS, Why Now? A comparative study of tools – Swathi A Kumar
  3. Why Ys? One lab’s journey to validating Y STRs
  4. SNPs and STRs: How to validate NGS markers for sexual assault investigations — Rachel Oefelein
  5. Deconvoluting and Interpreting Mixtures with SNP and STR profiles — June Snedecor
  6. A cookbook for implementation and preparation for admissibility — Mandi Van Buren


Bruce BudowleChair

Director, Center for Human Identification

Dr. Budowle is the Director of the Center for Human Identification and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas. His current efforts focus on the areas of human forensic identification, microbial forensics, and emerging infectious disease with substantial effort in next generation sequencing. He is a Commissioner on the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

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Swathi Kumar

Director, Product Management, Verogen Inc

Swathi A. Kumar, PhD, leads Verogens global product strategy. Prior to Verogen, she spent 8 years at Illumina, the global NGS/MPS market and technology leader, in technical, sales and product management roles.

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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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June Snedecor

Manager of Bioinformatics, Verogen

June Snedecor is the manager of bioinformatics at Verogen who has specialized in next-generation sequencing algorithms since 2012. In 2020, she started working for Verogen in forensic product development and algorithm design and is one of the lead developers for the ForenSeq Kintelligence kinship estimation tool in GEDmatch PRO.

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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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