Under the Microscope – Jennifer Churchill

The ISHI 26 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’ll be posting their responses over the coming months in a feature we like to call Under the Microscope.





Today, we’re chatting with Jennifer Churchill, who will be presenting Power of the Illumina® ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Preparation Kit in Human Identity DNA Typing during the General Sessions.

Jennifer Churchill is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Bruce Budowle’s lab at UNT Health Science Center’s Institute of Applied Genetics. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate research at Texas A&M involved the application of molecular genetic technologies to the study of population and conservation genetics of the North American bison. Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences specializing in Human and Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her dissertation work focused predominantly on the use of linkage and next-generation sequencing technologies to identify novel autosomal dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa genes. As a postdoctoral research associate, Jennifer’s current research includes the forensic development and application of human identification genetic marker analyses with massively parallel sequencing technologies.


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

I grew up with a dad that worked in law enforcement.  I developed my interest in forensics after seeing how much he loved his job.


If you woke up tomorrow and this field no longer existed, what would you choose for a career?

I would probably teach high school science.


What new technologies are you most excited about or where do you see the field heading in the next 10 years?

I am most excited about the opportunities massively parallel sequencing technologies bring to the field of forensic science!


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

My parents.



Can you think of a specific example where ISHI has helped you in your career or with a case?

The opportunity to network and discuss the scientific topics being presented at ISHI provides suggestions and ideas that I can bring back to the lab and apply to my research.


Who in the audience would benefit most from your talk?

Forensic scientists interested in massively parallel sequencing.


If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?

I would likely buy a beautiful home. I have lived in an apartment long enough!


If you were to have a theme song, what would it be?

Florida Georgia Line’s “This is How We Roll” 😉


Would would your ideal vacation be?

I would love to spend some time exploring New York City. I have, sadly, never been.