February 2023 Issue of The ISHI Report Now Live

Greetings from Promega headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. We are pleased to bring you the first issue of the ISHI Report of 2023 which is chock full of news and updates from the forensic community. This edition includes contributions from authors representing a range of experience and perspectives, from students and young forensic professionals to laboratory leaders from around the world.



Forensic investigative genetic genealogy continues to garner media attention for its utility in providing leads for crimes and doe cases long considered unsolvable. As the forensic and genealogy communities come together to work these cases, new ground rules are needed. Guest authors David Gurney, CeCe Moore, Margaret Press, Carol Rolnick, Bonnie Bossert, Andrew Hochreiter lay out their recommendations for ensuring that standards for conduct, technical proficiency and accountability are followed. Their newly formed board, the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Accreditation Board presents their case to require accreditation for genetic genealogists to ensure that this powerful new technology earns the public’s trust and can continue to be used to solve cases.


What’s in a name? As Jennifer Wiebe explains, there is much confusion both in the media and in the forensic science community about the best way to describe using genealogical evidence for forensic purposes. Forensic genealogy, forensic genetic genealogy, forensic genetic genealogical DNA analysis and searching, genetic genealogy and investigative genealogy are all being used at present. Jennifer illuminates the current state of the terms and provides clarity for what each conveys.


Most people don’t enter the field of forensic science to get rich, but instead are motivated by a desire to contribute to the public good. Dealing with the aftermath of crimes, never ending workloads and victim stories can lead to vicarious trauma. Our colleague Jordan Nutting provides an update on how trauma effects forensic professionals.


Young scientists represent the future of forensic science. Nidhi Sheth, a doctoral student and recent ISHI Ambassador alumni unveils her podcast, “Beyond the yellow tape”. A collaboration between Nidhi and her friend Julian Beach, the podcast takes listeners behind the scenes to learn more about the field of forensics.


Speaking of students and young forensic scientists, the ISHI Report details a number of opportunities available for new and aspiring forensic scientists to further their careers. The Threesis Competition has launched with submissions due by April 30. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. Students wanting to attend ISHI and act as Student Ambassadors are encouraged to apply for a spot. Four students will be awarded free registration to the International Symposium on Human Identification in Denver this fall.


This year’s ISHI 34 will include multiple opportunities for young forensic professionals including a meet and greet before the Welcome Reception on Monday, September 18 and a Young Scientists’ showcase on Tuesday, September 19 where students can share their slides and network with fellow students and receive career advice from industry leaders.


Plans for the upcoming symposium are well underway. More than a dozen workshops will be held before and after the main event on Sunday, September 17, Monday, September 18 and Thursday, September 21. Topics are broad and include: Preparing to testify as an expert witness, Practical application of FIGG, Onboarding new hires, Implementing new DNA technologies for missing persons program, Reporting likelihood ratios and much more. Visit the official symposium website to see the list of workshops and confirmed speakers. If you would like to present during the general session, submit your abstract by June 1 for consideration.


Hot off the press- we are delighted to announce that Allison Massari will be the keynote speaker for this year’s ISHI. In 1998, as Allison was preparing her paintings for an important museum exhibition, her world was shattered by a fiery and explosive car accident where she almost lost her life. Hit nearly head-on by another car going sixty miles per hour, Allison was stunned by a massive impact and trapped inside her car as it was engulfed in flames. She was conscious the entire time as she was burned alive.


With vision, clarity, and compassion, Allison teaches audiences the potent life lessons that she learned on each step of her path after she was severely burned and faced seemingly insurmountable odds. Her riveting keynote boosts confidence and well-being and offers a balm of hope as Allison intimately shares the nuances of how to respond to difficult circumstances and maintain personal command and integrity despite life’s disruptions. With genuine encouragement and support, you’ll receive a new perspective from which to see the world and walk away with effective methods to handle challenges and move towards dreams and goals with courage, purpose, and the strength of an open heart.


We hope that you enjoy reading this edition of the ISHI Report and hope to see you this fall in Denver at ISHI 34. As always, reach out with suggestions for articles or volunteer to contribute to our publication.