Though it’s hard to imagine a Spring thaw just yet, the ISHI team is already thinking ahead to the end of October when we’ll again gather for our annual conference. This year’s meeting will be held at the Gaylord National Harbor, just outside of Washington D.C. To accommodate those unable to travel, we will once again offer the option to participate virtually. Taking into account feedback from previous attendees, we’ll be live streaming the General Session presentations, allowing those attending virtually to watch and ask questions in real time. Select workshops will be available to watch on-demand after they are originally presented. Registration is now open for both attendees and exhibitors, and we invite you to visit our website, www.ishinews.com to learn more and reserve your spot. You can read more about workshop offerings on page 11 of this magazine.
We have expanded the ISHI team by six members as we’ve formed an inaugural advisory committee. We will be conferring with the committee throughout the planning of the conference and are grateful for the expertise and experience that they bring. We introduce those who make up the committee on page 4.
The ISHI team is also excited to announce a new partnership with Forensic Genomics as the official journal of the conference. Forensic Genomics is a new peer-reviewed journal that addresses how advances in genetic testing and genomic analysis can enable investigators to break through previously impenetrable forensic DNA barriers. Led by Editor-in-Chief David Mittelman, PhD, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Othram, Inc., the journal focuses on the use of DNA testing technologies, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and genealogical research methods to support human identification using inference tools and inductive reasoning. Forensic Genomics aims to accelerate the validation and adoption of new methods to support investigations that would be otherwise stalled with traditional testing methods (view past issues). You can receive a discounted subscription rate to the journal by using code “ISHI”.Learn more and start your subscription here.
In this issue of the ISHI Report, Ken Doyle examines the concepts of race, ethnicity, and ancestry and what they mean in forensics. Guest authors in this issue include Dr. Claire Glynn, from the University of New Haven, who created and coordinates the university’s online Graduate Certificate in Forensic Genetic Genealogy. In her article, she details why the program was created, course offerings, and benefits to interested students. Workshop chair, Tiffany Roy, provides some guidance on testifying in court based on Evett et al’s hierarchy of propositions.
Our colleague Ann MacPhetridge had the pleasure to interview last year’s student ambassadors who are pursuing excellence and blazing a trail in the forensic DNA space. Words cannot express how excited we are to see what they accomplish in their careers. We are currently looking for our next group of ISHI student ambassadors and encourage you to check out page 12 to learn more. If you know of a student who you think might make an ideal Student Ambassador, please share details with them and encourage them to apply! Speaking of forensic DNA students, did you know that we have a page on our website dedicated to student resources? For those looking for new career or internship opportunities or those looking to fill these positions, we’ve also created a job listings page.
Finally, for those interested in learning more about forensic genetic genealogy, we invite you to check out our upcoming webinar series in April. This series will cover FGG caveats and best practices, dispelling common myths, how to evaluate a case before working with a genealogist and how to work with a genetic genealogical data analysts and other external partners. Presenters will also discuss technologies surrounding FGG, such as targeted sequencing, WGS, and SNP arrays and what kind of questions you can expect when FGG cases go to court. Presenters include Steve Busch, Steve Kramer, Rachel Oefelein, and Danny Hellwig. Learn more on page 6.
We hope you enjoy the February issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and written contributions to our publication.