Speakers

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    Joy Baker

    Author | Investigative Blogger

    Joy Baker is the author of the joy.the.curious blog and co-author of Dear Jacob: A Mother's Journey of Hope, which details the 27-year search for Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted at gunpoint as a child. Joy began researching the case, and it was her investigative blog that helped to break the case open in 2016.

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    Anna Barbaro

    President, Worldwide Association of Women Forensic Experts

    This year’s keynote spotlights the dynamic intersection of true crime and DNA forensics: from unraveling mysteries and personal narratives to inspiring change and advancing justice. Our panel of speakers will share their insights and experiences, underscoring the pivotal role of DNA in connecting the past with the present and shaping the future.

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    Jo-Anne Bright

    Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) New Zealand

    Jo-Anne Bright is a Senior Science Leader within the Forensic Biology group at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) New Zealand, where she has worked since 1999. Jo is one of the co developers of STRmix™, expert software for the interpretation of forensic DNA profiles and the new Australasian standard.

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    Mandi Van Buren

    DNA Analyst, DNA Labs International (DLI)

    Mandi Van Buren began her forensic career at the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services and now has over 15 years of experience as a DNA analyst in forensic casework, crime scene processing and 7 years as a drug chemist.  Beyond casework, her expertise is in advanced DNA technologies such as next generation sequencing (NGS) and probabilistic genotyping including validations, implementation, training and expert testimony. 

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    Jocelyn Carlson

    DNA Quality Assurance Program Manager, DNA Support Unit, FBI Laboratory

    Ms. Jocelyn Carlson serves as the chair of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) Quality Assurance (QA) Committee. She has 15 years of experience in the forensic DNA field and has been with the FBI Laboratory for the last 9 years. 

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    Michael Coble

    Executive Director, Center for Human Identification, UNTHSC

    Michael Coble, PhD, is an Associate Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics. He serves as a commissioner of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and is an invited guest at the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM).

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    John Collins

    High-Stakes Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach at Critical Victories

    John Collins is a High-Stakes Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach at Critical Victories, a company he founded to help people, teams, and organizations thrive in high-pressure environments where perfection is an expectation and failure is a ticket out the door.  He is also among the most respected forensic experts in the United States, recently publishing his first book on leadership and management in forensic science, which was released by Academic Press just last month. 

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    Marsha Deitz

    AABB

    Marsha Deitz has worked for AABB as the staff Lead Assessor for Relationship Testing since January 2010. Marsha is a Certified Quality Auditor with ASQ, a certified lead auditor for ISO/IEC 17025, a forensic scientist and licensed Medical Technologist.

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    Mark Desire

    Assistant Director, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

    Mark Desire is an Assistant Director with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. He works in the Department of Forensic Biology, New York City’s DNA crime lab and the largest of its kind in North America. During his 24 years of employment, he has investigated thousands of criminal and missing persons cases. He is the manager of the World Trade Center DNA Identification Team, a unit dedicated to advancing the science and helping return loved ones to their families.

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    Kelly Elkins

    Professor of Chemistry, Towson University

    Kelly Elkins, PhD, is Professor of Chemistry and co-Director of the TU Human Remains Identification Laboratory at Towson University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Chemical Society.

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    Xiomara Gálvez Escolano

    Researcher, University of Granada (UGR)

    Xiomara Gálvez Escolano is a Researcher at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain, where she has worked since 2008. She is the responsable for critical skeletal remains Lab at Identification Genetic Laboratory (LABIGÉN) related to the program for victims of the Spanish Civil War at the region of Andalusia and kinship cases. Currently, she is finishing her studies about Nursing Degree at UGR.

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    Ashley Flowers

    Founder of AudioChuck | Podcaster | Best-Selling Author | Advocate

    Ashley Flowers is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of audiochuck, an Indiana-based, award-winning, independent media company with 10+ chart-topping podcasts and over 2 billion listener downloads. Ashley is committed to redefining true crime and setting new standards within independent media. Driven by her passion for advocacy, Flowers founded the nonprofit Season of Justice, which offers financial resources to both investigative agencies and families to help solve cold cases. To date, Season of Justice has granted over $1 million for DNA analysis and other essential resources to help bring resolution to families of victims.

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    Kimberly Gin

    Retired Coroner, Sacramento County

    Kimberly Gin retired from her role as Coroner for Sacramento County in 2022 and now runs her own consultancy, Kim Gin Professional Solutions, LLC. As the First Past President of the California State Coroners' Association and a member of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, she is well-regarded in her field. Her notable achievements include utilizing Rapid DNA to identify disaster victims in the Camp Fire and Santa Barbara Dive Boat Fire and using Investigative Genetic Genealogy to solve multiple cold cases.

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    Simone Gittelson

    Professor of Forensic Statistics, The George Washington University | DC Department of Forensic Sciences

    Simone Gittelson, PhD, is Professor of Forensic Statistics at The George Washington University and works at the DC Department of Forensic Sciences.  She is specialized in the development and use of probabilistic models (e.g., Bayesian networks) for the evaluation and interpretation of scientific evidence. Her areas of research include the interpretation of DNA results given sub-source level propositions, probabilistic genotyping, the interpretation of biological results given activity level propositions, and the application of Bayesian inference, Bayesian networks, and decision theory to the evaluation of forensic science results.

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    Dr. Claire Glynn

    Associate Professor, University of New Haven

    Dr. Glynn, who joined the University of New Haven in 2014, teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in forensic science, focused on forensic biology, forensic DNA analysis, and forensic/investigative genetic genealogy (F/IGG). Her research interests are focused F/IGG, and a broad range of applications for this novel investigatory tool. This includes investigating the effects of degraded samples and novel technologies, establishing best practices, the international feasibility of this tool, historical applications, and ethical considerations, to name just a few. Her other research interests include Rapid DNA analysis, RNA (mRNA and miRNA) analysis, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) applications, and DNA Methylation markers.

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    Ed Green

    University of California, Santa Cruz, Dovetail Genomics, Claret Bio, Astrea Forensics

    Ed Green received his B.S. in Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1997 and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. He was a pioneer in the field of high-throughput sequencing of ancient DNA as the lead bioinformatics scientist on the Neanderthal genome project. He is currently Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz and founder of Dovetail Genomics, Claret Bio, and Astrea Forensics.

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    Lisa Grossweiler

    NDIS Custodian, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division

    Ms. Grossweiler is the National DNA Index System Program Manager in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's CODIS Unit. Lisa has over 31 years of experience in the forensic DNA field, serving in the private and public sectors. She joined the FBI Laboratory as a DNA Examiner in 2010 and has been the NDIS Custodian since 2019.

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    Maria Saiz Guinaldo

    Postdoctoral Researcher and Associate Professor, Laboratory of Genetic Identification (LABIGEN), University of Granada

    María Saiz Guinaldo, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher and associate professor at the Laboratory of Genetic Identification (LABIGEN) in the Department of Legal Medicine, Toxicology, and Physical Anthropology at the University of Granada. Her work focuses on using DNA for the identification of missing persons through forensic genetics, molecular biology, and next-generation sequencing.

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    Melissa Haas

    Casework Laboratory Director, UNT Center for Human Identification

    Melissa Haas serves as the Casework Laboratory Director for UNT Center for Human Identification overseeing all technical operations of the laboratory.  Prior to joining UNT Center for Human Identification, Melissa served as the DNA Section Supervisor for the Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Crime Laboratory in Garland, Texas.  Melissa has over 20 years of experience in forensic DNA casework with expertise in STRs, Y-STRs and SNPs.

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    Douglas Hares

    Rapid DNA Implementation Program Advisor for the FBI’s Biometric Analysis Section

    Dr. Hares is the Rapid DNA Implementation Program Advisor for the FBI’s Biometric Analysis Section.  He joined the DNA Analysis Unit II of the FBI Laboratory in 2000 as a Forensic Examiner.  In 2006, Dr. Hares transferred to the CODIS Unit where he served as the NDIS Custodian for over 13 years. 

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    Cydne Holt

    Expert Consultant

    Dr. Cydne Holt’s 28-year professional career has been dedicated to forensic science. Cydne currently serves as an expert consultant, bridging advanced genomics and forensic DNA operations to increase solvability of violent crimes and unidentified human remains cases. 

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    Susan Horan

    DNA Specialist, Forensic Science & Cold Case Unit, Kings County District Attorney’s Office

    In March of 2017, Ms. Horan joined the Kings County District Attorney’s Office as a DNA Specialist in the Forensic Science & Cold Case Unit. She became the first forensic scientist to be hired on staff at a prosecutor’s office in New York State. Ms. Horan is responsible for providing training in serology and DNA testing for staff attorneys and local law enforcement. She also assists in grand jury and trial preparation for all DNA prosecutions and works with the NYPD Cold Case Squad in their homicide investigations.

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    Clinton Hughes

    Senior Forensic DNA Attorney, Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS)

    Clint was the lead attorney of the pro bono DNA litigation team that successfully precluded the application of the DNA mixture software STRmix and the modified random match probability to DNA samples in the upstate New York murder case People v. Hillary, in 2016. Clint was also a member of the legal team that successfully precluded use of the Forensic Statistical Tool (FST) software and low copy number (LCN) DNA testing in People v. Collins, in Brooklyn, New York in 2014.

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    Ted Hunt

    Senior Scientist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Ted R. Hunt is Senior Level Scientist at the FBI’s Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia. In that role, he serves as Senior Advisor to the FBI Laboratory Director on forensic policies and practices. Prior to his current position, Mr. Hunt was Special Counsel for the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, where he served as legal counsel to the Executive Assistant Director. From 2017 to 2021, Mr. Hunt was Senior Advisor on Forensic Science to the Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice where he served as the Department’s senior official on all issues involving forensic policy and practice.

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    Tracey Johnson

    Supervisory Physical Scientist, National Institute of Justice, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences

    Tracey Johnson brings experience with traditional and challenged samples using autosomal STRs, Y-STRs, mitochondrial DNA and SNP analysis to the position. Her background also includes experience with NGS techniques, familial analysis, laboratory efficiencies, high-through-put processing and LIMS testing and evaluation. In her current role, she oversees NIJ’s forensic biology research and development portfolio which seeks to advance technologies across the forensic biology spectrum.

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    Tim Kalafut

    Associate Professor of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

    After over twenty years as a practicing forensic DNA analyst, most with the US Army Crime Lab, Tim Kalafut made a mid-life career change into the world of academia. His new role allows him to have freedom to take on new projects, and hopefully shorten the learning curve for the next generation of forensic scientists.

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    Jarrah Kennedy

    Senior Biology Criminalist, Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory

    Jarrah Kennedy began her career at the Miami-Dade County Crime Laboratory where she spent ~ 1 ½ years as a serologist prior to being called back to the Midwestern US. Since then, she has spent over 16 years at the Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory as a serologist and DNA analyst. Currently, Jarrah serves as a Vice Chair for the Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee (OSAC).

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    Turi King

    Scientist | Presenter | Speaker | Author

    Professor Turi King is a Canadian/British geneticist. She started her career as an archaeologist in Canada before reading for a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge before moving into genetics, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of DNA fingerprinting being on her PhD panel. She combined these two areas of expertise leading on how to excavate under clean conditions and then leading the genetic identification of the remains of King Richard III. She now co-presents BBC DNA Family Secrets where she uses DNA to help people find missing family and learn more about their ancestry.

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    Eugene Lien

    Assistant Director and DNA Training Manager at the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner

    Eugene is actively involved in the community and is a member of many forensic working groups.  Throughout his career, he seems to be directly involved with standards and guidelines – both following them and helping to write them.  He has been a participant of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) for more than 17 years and a participant of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science since its inception. 

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    Michelle Madrid

    Senior Criminalist and Assistant DNA Technical Leader, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

    Michelle Madrid has 22 years of crime laboratory experience, most of which has been in the DNA and Crime Scene units. She is currently serving as the Assistant DNA Technical Leader for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Michelle's areas of interest include researching and validating new methods and technologies.

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    Alyse Margetts

    Casework Supervisor, Forensic Biology Unit, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

    Alyse Margetts is a distinguished forensic DNA analyst and casework supervisor with over a decade of expertise in the field. In 2020, Alyse transitioned into a training coordinator role to meet the ever-growing training demands of the unit. As a training coordinator, she worked closely with the technical leader to develop new training programs that emphasized theoretical knowledge, hands-on learning, and speaking opportunities.

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    Pamela Marshall

    Director, Duquesne University

    Dr. Marshall has extensive graduate and undergraduate teaching experience in the forensic disciplines of serology, DNA, and microscopy. Her research interests include low copy number DNA, human and wildlife DNA identification challenges, nanoparticle technology, pressure cycling technology, and PCR enhancement.

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    Wendy McLean

    Genealogist specializing in Forensic and Investigative Genetic Genealogy (F/IGG), Center for Human Identification (CHI), University of North Texas Health Science Center

    Wendy has collaborated with organizations such as Bode Technology, Redgrave Research, DNA Doe Project, and the Cold Case Coalition. She also served as a Practitioner-In-Residence at the University of New Haven, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. In this role, she contributed to the Online Graduate Certificate Program for Forensic Genetic Genealogy during the 2022 and 2023 cohorts, further enriching her expertise and sharing her knowledge with aspiring professionals in the field.

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    Mary Merchán Merchán

    Grupo Genética – Dirección-CTI

    Mary Merchán Merchán is a forensic DNA analyst, with fourteen years of experience in the Genetics Group of the Attorney General of Colombia. The main areas of her work include forensic human identification from skeletal remains, analysis of crime scene evidence, validation of the next generation sequencing techniques for implementation in missing persons cases, and management and supervision of the quality system of the laboratory accredited under the NTC ISO/IEC 17025:2017. 

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    Juan Carlos Alvarez Merino

    Universidad de Granada

    Juan Carlos Alvarez, PhD, is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director of the Genetic Identification Laboratory at the University of Granada in Spain, where he has worked since 1991. He is the coordinator of the identification program for victims of the Spanish Civil War at the region of Andalusia and responsible for the DNA Database.

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    Jason Moran

    President – JEMM Consulting, LLC

    Jason P. Moran is the President of JEMM Consulting, LLC. Jason is also a member of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office where he has served for twenty-five (25) years. He currently holds the rank of Commander of Police. In that role, Jason leads the Forensic Services Initiative which is responsible for the investigation of human identification cases, complex deaths, cold missing person and homicide cases, and death care industry incidents.

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    Nicole Novroski

    Assistant Professor, Forensic Science Program (Dept of Anthropology), University of Toronto

    Dr. Nicole Novroski is currently an Assistant Professor in the Forensic Science Program (Dept of Anthropology) at the University of Toronto. Her research focus throughout her PhD, and now as a faculty member, is DNA mixture deconvolution. Nicole is also exploring a variety of new approaches and methods for forensic DNA typing. 

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    Craig O’Connor

    Deputy Director, Forensic Biology Department, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

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    Niki Osborne

    Forensic Research Scientist | Project Management Support, National Institute of Standards and Technology (Contractor)

    Dr. Niki Osborne specializes in understanding and improving human factors issues in forensic evidence interpretation and presentation. Her primary research focus has been on the role of contextual information and potential for cognitive and contextual bias and in bloodstain pattern analysis. From this research, she has developed practical methods to manage contextual information for bloodstain pattern analysis in the laboratory and at the crime scene.

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    Brittney Rollison

    Forensics Program Manager, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)

    Brittney Rollison is the Forensics Program Manager at the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). In this role, one her duties involves supporting the day-to-day operations of the organization by assisting clients in obtaining and maintaining accreditation.

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    Cristina Servidio

    Technical Leader | Senior DNA Analyst, DNA Labs International

    Cristina Servidio is the Technical Leader and a Senior DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International. Her current responsibilities include overseeing the technical operations of the laboratory and the processing and analysis of thousands of samples at DLI. 

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    Julie Conover Sikorsky

    Forensic Scientist Supervisor, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

    Julie Conover Sikorsky is a Forensic Scientist Supervisor, a.k.a. Forensic Biology Unit Manager, at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has been employed by the PBSO for over twenty years, first as a Senior Forensic Scientist, then as the manager of the FBU. Julie is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and ABC certified in molecular biology.

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    Mark Smith

    DNA Database Supervisor and Rapid DNA Coordinator, Arizona Department of Public Safety

    Mark Smith has been employed with the Arizona Department of Public Safety for 21 years and currently supervises the Technical Support Unit, covering both the statewide Breath Alcohol and Law Enforcement Rapid DNA Programs. Prior to that, he was the DNA Database supervisor and has processed casework for nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA cases.

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    Amy Smuts

    Forensic Validation Coordinator, Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center

    Amy Smuts is currently the Forensic Validation Coordinator of the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. She has been at UNTCHI since 2000, having spent the majority of that time in casework.

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    Joshua Somers

    Assistant Attorney General with the OAG, Criminal Prosecutions Division in Austin, Texas

    Joshua Somers is a career prosecutor and currently works for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, where he is a member of the Capital Murder Team in the Criminal Prosecutions Division. Josh has prosecuted over 100 jury trials to verdict.

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    Jill Spriggs

    Senior Accreditation Manager, ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB)

    Currently, Jill is a Senior Accreditation Manager for ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) overseeing the accreditation of laboratories throughout the United States and the globe. She has been in this capacity for over five years.

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    Melissa Taylor

    Senior Forensic Science Research Manager, Special Programs Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Melissa Taylor is a Senior Forensic Science Research Manager within the Special Programs Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Her work within the Forensic Science Program focuses primarily on integrating human-factors principles into forensic sciences, process mapping, and expert decision-making.

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    Tiffany Vasquez

    Assistant Director and DNA Technical Leader, Department of Forensic Biology, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

    Tiffany Vasquez is an Assistant Director and DNA Technical Leader at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner in the Department of Forensic Biology. She started at the OCME in 2004 as a DNA analyst, was promoted to a supervisory role in 2008 and then joined the management team in 2022. Over her career she has gained experience working on thousands of DNA cases for the City of New York, been involved with the training of over 100 interpreting analysts and has testified in both local and federal jurisdictions.

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    Dan Vergano

    Senior Opinion Editor, Scientific American

    Dan Vergano is a senior opinion editor at Scientific American. He is the chair of the New Horizons committee of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and serves on both National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) writing award panels.

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    Samantha Wandzek

    Technical Leader, Signature Science

    Samantha Wandzek is the Technical Leader of Signature Science’s Forensic DNA Laboratory in Austin, Texas. Ms. Wandzek oversees all technical aspects of the laboratory including validation and
    implementation of all forensic methods. In addition, she continues to function as a Forensic DNA Analyst by reporting and performing technical review of DNA analyses and case files.

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    Patty Wetterling

    Speaker | Educator | Author

    Patty Wetterling is a nationally recognized speaker and educator on the issues of child abduction and sexual exploitation. In 1990, she co-founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center with her husband, Jerry, three months after their 11-year-old son, Jacob, was abducted by a masked gunman near their home in St. Joseph, Minnesota. In the decades since, Patty’s relentless search for her son has led her to become a visionary of hope, a catalyst for change, and an inspiration to parents everywhere.

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    Amy Whitman

    IGG Program Manager, Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Supervisory Special Agent Amy Whitman has been involved in the FBI’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) Program since April 2019 and is currently the IGG Program Manager overseeing administrative and investigative responsibilities for the IGG Program at FBI Headquarters. 

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    Ray Wickenheiser

    Retired Director for the New York State Police Crime Lab System

    Dr. Ray Wickenheiser, is the retired Director of the New York State Police Crime Laboratory System, formerly headquartered in Albany, New York.  Ray is now located in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he provides forensic consulting and training. 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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    Richard Wivell

    Senior Scientist, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited

    Richard Wivell is a Senior Scientist within the STRmixTM  team at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited, New Zealand where he has worked since 2008.  Before moving to New Zealand, Richard was a Forensic Scientist for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Forensic Science Service in the UK.

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    August Woerner

    Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center

    August Woerner is an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Much of August’s current research focuses on whole genome sequencing, particular, its application to forensic genetic genealogy.

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Casework Supervisor, Forensic Biology Unit, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

Alyse Margetts is a distinguished forensic DNA analyst and casework supervisor with over a decade of expertise in the field. In 2020, Alyse transitioned into a training coordinator role to meet the ever-growing training demands of the unit. As a training coordinator, she worked closely with the technical leader to develop new training programs that emphasized theoretical knowledge, hands-on learning, and speaking opportunities.

Sessions Presenting

Forensic Validation Coordinator, Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center

Amy Smuts is currently the Forensic Validation Coordinator of the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. She has been at UNTCHI since 2000, having spent the majority of that time in casework.

Sessions Presenting

Founder of AudioChuck | Podcaster | Best-Selling Author | Advocate

Ashley Flowers is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of audiochuck, an Indiana-based, award-winning, independent media company with 10+ chart-topping podcasts and over 2 billion listener downloads. Ashley is committed to redefining true crime and setting new standards within independent media. Driven by her passion for advocacy, Flowers founded the nonprofit Season of Justice, which offers financial resources to both investigative agencies and families to help solve cold cases. To date, Season of Justice has granted over $1 million for DNA analysis and other essential resources to help bring resolution to families of victims.

Sessions Presenting

Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center

August Woerner is an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Much of August’s current research focuses on whole genome sequencing, particular, its application to forensic genetic genealogy.

Sessions Presenting

Forensics Program Manager, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)

Brittney Rollison is the Forensics Program Manager at the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). In this role, one her duties involves supporting the day-to-day operations of the organization by assisting clients in obtaining and maintaining accreditation.

Sessions Presenting

Senior Forensic DNA Attorney, Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS)

Clint was the lead attorney of the pro bono DNA litigation team that successfully precluded the application of the DNA mixture software STRmix and the modified random match probability to DNA samples in the upstate New York murder case People v. Hillary, in 2016. Clint was also a member of the legal team that successfully precluded use of the Forensic Statistical Tool (FST) software and low copy number (LCN) DNA testing in People v. Collins, in Brooklyn, New York in 2014.

Sessions Presenting

Technical Leader | Senior DNA Analyst, DNA Labs International

Cristina Servidio is the Technical Leader and a Senior DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International. Her current responsibilities include overseeing the technical operations of the laboratory and the processing and analysis of thousands of samples at DLI. 

Sessions Presenting

Senior Opinion Editor, Scientific American

Dan Vergano is a senior opinion editor at Scientific American. He is the chair of the New Horizons committee of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and serves on both National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) writing award panels.

Sessions Presenting

President – JEMM Consulting, LLC

Jason P. Moran is the President of JEMM Consulting, LLC. Jason is also a member of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office where he has served for twenty-five (25) years. He currently holds the rank of Commander of Police. In that role, Jason leads the Forensic Services Initiative which is responsible for the investigation of human identification cases, complex deaths, cold missing person and homicide cases, and death care industry incidents.

Sessions Presenting

DNA Analyst, DNA Labs International (DLI)

Mandi Van Buren began her forensic career at the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services and now has over 15 years of experience as a DNA analyst in forensic casework, crime scene processing and 7 years as a drug chemist.  Beyond casework, her expertise is in advanced DNA technologies such as next generation sequencing (NGS) and probabilistic genotyping including validations, implementation, training and expert testimony. 

Sessions Presenting

Postdoctoral Researcher and Associate Professor, Laboratory of Genetic Identification (LABIGEN), University of Granada

María Saiz Guinaldo, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher and associate professor at the Laboratory of Genetic Identification (LABIGEN) in the Department of Legal Medicine, Toxicology, and Physical Anthropology at the University of Granada. Her work focuses on using DNA for the identification of missing persons through forensic genetics, molecular biology, and next-generation sequencing.

Sessions Presenting

Casework Laboratory Director, UNT Center for Human Identification

Melissa Haas serves as the Casework Laboratory Director for UNT Center for Human Identification overseeing all technical operations of the laboratory.  Prior to joining UNT Center for Human Identification, Melissa served as the DNA Section Supervisor for the Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Crime Laboratory in Garland, Texas.  Melissa has over 20 years of experience in forensic DNA casework with expertise in STRs, Y-STRs and SNPs.

Sessions Presenting

Senior Forensic Science Research Manager, Special Programs Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Melissa Taylor is a Senior Forensic Science Research Manager within the Special Programs Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Her work within the Forensic Science Program focuses primarily on integrating human-factors principles into forensic sciences, process mapping, and expert decision-making.

Sessions Presenting

Technical Leader, Signature Science

Samantha Wandzek is the Technical Leader of Signature Science’s Forensic DNA Laboratory in Austin, Texas. Ms. Wandzek oversees all technical aspects of the laboratory including validation and
implementation of all forensic methods. In addition, she continues to function as a Forensic DNA Analyst by reporting and performing technical review of DNA analyses and case files.

Sessions Presenting

Professor of Forensic Statistics, The George Washington University | DC Department of Forensic Sciences

Simone Gittelson, PhD, is Professor of Forensic Statistics at The George Washington University and works at the DC Department of Forensic Sciences.  She is specialized in the development and use of probabilistic models (e.g., Bayesian networks) for the evaluation and interpretation of scientific evidence. Her areas of research include the interpretation of DNA results given sub-source level propositions, probabilistic genotyping, the interpretation of biological results given activity level propositions, and the application of Bayesian inference, Bayesian networks, and decision theory to the evaluation of forensic science results.

Sessions Presenting

DNA Specialist, Forensic Science & Cold Case Unit, Kings County District Attorney’s Office

In March of 2017, Ms. Horan joined the Kings County District Attorney’s Office as a DNA Specialist in the Forensic Science & Cold Case Unit. She became the first forensic scientist to be hired on staff at a prosecutor’s office in New York State. Ms. Horan is responsible for providing training in serology and DNA testing for staff attorneys and local law enforcement. She also assists in grand jury and trial preparation for all DNA prosecutions and works with the NYPD Cold Case Squad in their homicide investigations.

Sessions Presenting

Senior Scientist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Ted R. Hunt is Senior Level Scientist at the FBI’s Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia. In that role, he serves as Senior Advisor to the FBI Laboratory Director on forensic policies and practices. Prior to his current position, Mr. Hunt was Special Counsel for the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, where he served as legal counsel to the Executive Assistant Director. From 2017 to 2021, Mr. Hunt was Senior Advisor on Forensic Science to the Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice where he served as the Department’s senior official on all issues involving forensic policy and practice.

Sessions Presenting

Assistant Director and DNA Technical Leader, Department of Forensic Biology, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

Tiffany Vasquez is an Assistant Director and DNA Technical Leader at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner in the Department of Forensic Biology. She started at the OCME in 2004 as a DNA analyst, was promoted to a supervisory role in 2008 and then joined the management team in 2022. Over her career she has gained experience working on thousands of DNA cases for the City of New York, been involved with the training of over 100 interpreting analysts and has testified in both local and federal jurisdictions.

Sessions Presenting

Supervisory Physical Scientist, National Institute of Justice, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences

Tracey Johnson brings experience with traditional and challenged samples using autosomal STRs, Y-STRs, mitochondrial DNA and SNP analysis to the position. Her background also includes experience with NGS techniques, familial analysis, laboratory efficiencies, high-through-put processing and LIMS testing and evaluation. In her current role, she oversees NIJ’s forensic biology research and development portfolio which seeks to advance technologies across the forensic biology spectrum.

Sessions Presenting

Researcher, University of Granada (UGR)

Xiomara Gálvez Escolano is a Researcher at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain, where she has worked since 2008. She is the responsable for critical skeletal remains Lab at Identification Genetic Laboratory (LABIGÉN) related to the program for victims of the Spanish Civil War at the region of Andalusia and kinship cases. Currently, she is finishing her studies about Nursing Degree at UGR.

Sessions Presenting

President, Worldwide Association of Women Forensic Experts

This year’s keynote spotlights the dynamic intersection of true crime and DNA forensics: from unraveling mysteries and personal narratives to inspiring change and advancing justice. Our panel of speakers will share their insights and experiences, underscoring the pivotal role of DNA in connecting the past with the present and shaping the future.

Sessions Presenting

Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) New Zealand

Jo-Anne Bright is a Senior Science Leader within the Forensic Biology group at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) New Zealand, where she has worked since 1999. Jo is one of the co developers of STRmix™, expert software for the interpretation of forensic DNA profiles and the new Australasian standard.

Sessions Presenting

Executive Director, Center for Human Identification, UNTHSC

Michael Coble, PhD, is an Associate Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics. He serves as a commissioner of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and is an invited guest at the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM).

Sessions Presenting

DNA Quality Assurance Program Manager, DNA Support Unit, FBI Laboratory

Ms. Jocelyn Carlson serves as the chair of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) Quality Assurance (QA) Committee. She has 15 years of experience in the forensic DNA field and has been with the FBI Laboratory for the last 9 years. 

Sessions Presenting

High-Stakes Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach at Critical Victories

John Collins is a High-Stakes Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach at Critical Victories, a company he founded to help people, teams, and organizations thrive in high-pressure environments where perfection is an expectation and failure is a ticket out the door.  He is also among the most respected forensic experts in the United States, recently publishing his first book on leadership and management in forensic science, which was released by Academic Press just last month. 

Sessions Presenting

AABB

Marsha Deitz has worked for AABB as the staff Lead Assessor for Relationship Testing since January 2010. Marsha is a Certified Quality Auditor with ASQ, a certified lead auditor for ISO/IEC 17025, a forensic scientist and licensed Medical Technologist.

Sessions Presenting

Assistant Director, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner

Mark Desire is an Assistant Director with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. He works in the Department of Forensic Biology, New York City’s DNA crime lab and the largest of its kind in North America. During his 24 years of employment, he has investigated thousands of criminal and missing persons cases. He is the manager of the World Trade Center DNA Identification Team, a unit dedicated to advancing the science and helping return loved ones to their families.

Sessions Presenting

Professor of Chemistry, Towson University

Kelly Elkins, PhD, is Professor of Chemistry and co-Director of the TU Human Remains Identification Laboratory at Towson University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Chemical Society.

Sessions Presenting

Retired Coroner, Sacramento County

Kimberly Gin retired from her role as Coroner for Sacramento County in 2022 and now runs her own consultancy, Kim Gin Professional Solutions, LLC. As the First Past President of the California State Coroners’ Association and a member of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, she is well-regarded in her field. Her notable achievements include utilizing Rapid DNA to identify disaster victims in the Camp Fire and Santa Barbara Dive Boat Fire and using Investigative Genetic Genealogy to solve multiple cold cases.

Sessions Presenting

Associate Professor, University of New Haven

Dr. Glynn, who joined the University of New Haven in 2014, teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in forensic science, focused on forensic biology, forensic DNA analysis, and forensic/investigative genetic genealogy (F/IGG). Her research interests are focused F/IGG, and a broad range of applications for this novel investigatory tool. This includes investigating the effects of degraded samples and novel technologies, establishing best practices, the international feasibility of this tool, historical applications, and ethical considerations, to name just a few. Her other research interests include Rapid DNA analysis, RNA (mRNA and miRNA) analysis, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) applications, and DNA Methylation markers.

Sessions Presenting

University of California, Santa Cruz, Dovetail Genomics, Claret Bio, Astrea Forensics

Ed Green received his B.S. in Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1997 and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. He was a pioneer in the field of high-throughput sequencing of ancient DNA as the lead bioinformatics scientist on the Neanderthal genome project. He is currently Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz and founder of Dovetail Genomics, Claret Bio, and Astrea Forensics.

Sessions Presenting

NDIS Custodian, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division

Ms. Grossweiler is the National DNA Index System Program Manager in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s CODIS Unit. Lisa has over 31 years of experience in the forensic DNA field, serving in the private and public sectors. She joined the FBI Laboratory as a DNA Examiner in 2010 and has been the NDIS Custodian since 2019.

Sessions Presenting

Rapid DNA Implementation Program Advisor for the FBI’s Biometric Analysis Section

Dr. Hares is the Rapid DNA Implementation Program Advisor for the FBI’s Biometric Analysis Section.  He joined the DNA Analysis Unit II of the FBI Laboratory in 2000 as a Forensic Examiner.  In 2006, Dr. Hares transferred to the CODIS Unit where he served as the NDIS Custodian for over 13 years. 

Sessions Presenting

Scientist | Presenter | Speaker | Author

Professor Turi King is a Canadian/British geneticist. She started her career as an archaeologist in Canada before reading for a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge before moving into genetics, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of DNA fingerprinting being on her PhD panel. She combined these two areas of expertise leading on how to excavate under clean conditions and then leading the genetic identification of the remains of King Richard III. She now co-presents BBC DNA Family Secrets where she uses DNA to help people find missing family and learn more about their ancestry.

Sessions Presenting

Senior Biology Criminalist, Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory

Jarrah Kennedy began her career at the Miami-Dade County Crime Laboratory where she spent ~ 1 ½ years as a serologist prior to being called back to the Midwestern US. Since then, she has spent over 16 years at the Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory as a serologist and DNA analyst. Currently, Jarrah serves as a Vice Chair for the Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee (OSAC).

Sessions Presenting

Associate Professor of Forensic Science, Sam Houston State University

After over twenty years as a practicing forensic DNA analyst, most with the US Army Crime Lab, Tim Kalafut made a mid-life career change into the world of academia. His new role allows him to have freedom to take on new projects, and hopefully shorten the learning curve for the next generation of forensic scientists.

Sessions Presenting

Assistant Director and DNA Training Manager at the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner

Eugene is actively involved in the community and is a member of many forensic working groups.  Throughout his career, he seems to be directly involved with standards and guidelines – both following them and helping to write them.  He has been a participant of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) for more than 17 years and a participant of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science since its inception. 

Sessions Presenting

Grupo Genética – Dirección-CTI

Mary Merchán Merchán is a forensic DNA analyst, with fourteen years of experience in the Genetics Group of the Attorney General of Colombia. The main areas of her work include forensic human identification from skeletal remains, analysis of crime scene evidence, validation of the next generation sequencing techniques for implementation in missing persons cases, and management and supervision of the quality system of the laboratory accredited under the NTC ISO/IEC 17025:2017. 

Sessions Presenting

Senior Criminalist and Assistant DNA Technical Leader, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Michelle Madrid has 22 years of crime laboratory experience, most of which has been in the DNA and Crime Scene units. She is currently serving as the Assistant DNA Technical Leader for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Michelle’s areas of interest include researching and validating new methods and technologies.

Sessions Presenting

Genealogist specializing in Forensic and Investigative Genetic Genealogy (F/IGG), Center for Human Identification (CHI), University of North Texas Health Science Center

Wendy has collaborated with organizations such as Bode Technology, Redgrave Research, DNA Doe Project, and the Cold Case Coalition. She also served as a Practitioner-In-Residence at the University of New Haven, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. In this role, she contributed to the Online Graduate Certificate Program for Forensic Genetic Genealogy during the 2022 and 2023 cohorts, further enriching her expertise and sharing her knowledge with aspiring professionals in the field.

Sessions Presenting