Aug 31 2016

Under the Microscope – Hristina Lekova


The ISHI27 agenda is already filling up with some great talks from amazing speakers! While the forensic community is a tight-knit group, we can always get a little closer, right? With that in mind, we asked our speakers some questions to get to know them a little better outside of their work. We’ve been posting their responses in a feature we like to call Under the Microscope.





Today, we’re chatting with Hristina Lekova, who will be presenting Identification of 18 Year Old Bones Through DNA Relationship Testing Using Freezer Mill with Liquid Nitrogen for DNA Extraction during the General Sessions on Wednesday, September 28th.

Hristina Lekova is currently a Supervisor in the Parentage and Identification Department at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. She obtained her Master of Science in Biotechnology and major in Microbiology from Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria. Hristina worked at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) in the Medical Genetics Laboratory as senior technologist for 5 years. She also worked for two years at Strand Analytical Laboratories as acting supervisor for parentage department. She has been with the Medical Examiner’s Office for 9 years. Hristina is also a fully trained forensic scientist and work on forensic cases as well. One of the big accomplishments was the identification of the 11 victims of the serial killer Anthony Sowell within 2 weeks. In her free time she likes to read, watch movies and travel any chance she gets.


How did you come to work in the field of forensics/DNA?

I have Master of Science Degree in Biotechnology and always wanted to work with human DNA.  I started working in Medical Genetics Laboratory in IUPUI (Indiana University Perdue University Indianapolis) in 2000. In addition to the genetic testing we were working on paternity and forensic cases.


What is your favorite thing about your job? Why?

Every new case is exciting because I either solve the case for the law enforcement or help a family to be reunited (parentage and kinship cases).  Overall I get a good feeling that I made a difference in somebody’s life.


What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?

In forensic the biggest challenges are mixtures with multiple individuals.


What accomplishment are you most proud of relating to forensics/DNA?

We identified all 11 victims of the serial killer Anthony Sowell within two weeks and the case I am presenting-Christina Adkins.


If you’ve attended ISHI before, what keeps you coming back? If you’ve never attended before, what are you most looking forward to at ISHI27?

This is my first time attending ISHI but I attended several of the Promega technical tour seminars in the past.



When you were little, what career did you think you’d have as an adult?

I wanted to become a doctor.


Where do you see the future of forensic science headed?



What do you hope the audience learns/takes away from your talk?

There is never truly “cold” cases. I want to believe that sooner or later the truth will come out one way or another.


What person would you say has had the biggest influence in your career?

My mentor at IUPUI- Dr. Hodes.


If you could time-travel, what year would you go to and why?

I would love to be in the 60’s. During that time everything was so exiting-every day there was e new discovery of things we take today for granted.


Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars.