Workshops Announced

You’ve waited patiently, and the day is almost here. Registration opens tomorrow for the world’s biggest symposium focused on DNA typing for human identification.

You can also participate in one of a dozen workshops offered before and after the ISHI general session. Workshops will appeal to both seasoned forensic professionals and newly minted DNA analysts.



On Sunday, the morning begins with a free of charge workshop hosted by AABB, addressing AABB accreditation related topics such as Relationship Testing Standards, proficiency testing, validations, and calculations. The HITA workshop is also complimentary and will be held on Sunday afternoon with an agenda to come shortly.


Consider attending “Arguing the Case for DNA Evidence Based on Probabilistic Genotyping”, which will be held on Sunday afternoon. This interactive workshop is designed to empower the DNA expert in delivering cogent arguments for DNA evidence based on probabilistic genotyping. Rather than focusing on ‘how to succeed as an expert witness’, the presenters will concentrate on how to draw upon data, logic, case decisions, and scientific literature to present and defend DNA evidence based on probabilistic genotyping. Through interactive strategies, presenters in this workshop will engage participants to outline their own arguments from the information presented.


Also scheduled for Sunday afternoon is the “Embody Forensic Excellence” workshop. Amy Jeanguenat, workshop chair, says, “To embody excellence is not simply to be able to bounce back after facing a challenge but to become masters of how day to day moments are perceived and cultivating a natural ability to express the best version of yourself, especially when making critical decisions. Being able to face challenges in forensics is nothing new, this industry will continue to have big moments and times of contemplation. Embodying excellence is what allows someone to move through these times with more ease, become stronger, clearer, and masterful of actions.”


Monday features a number of full-day workshops, including the GCLAITH meeting, which is presented entirely in Spanish. Also scheduled for Monday is “The International Frontier in Forensic DNA Sequencing” workshop. This workshop will present the future of forensic DNA analysis that is made possible with massively parallel sequencing. Starting with STR markers and moving to mitogenomes, SNPs, genetic genealogy, and epigenetics, a range of MPS workflows will be presented by international experts in forensic genetics.


If you’d like to learn more about Rapid DNA, register for the “Implementation of Rapid DNA” workshop, chaired by Douglas Hares. Participants will hear lessons learned from contributing states in the FBI’s Arrestee Rapid DNA Booking Station Pilot Program as well as an overview of the FBI’s Booking Station Standards and National Booking Station Procedures. Updates from SWGDAM’s Rapid DNA Working Group and the FBI’s Rapid DNA Task Force will enhance discussions in the afternoon regarding technology advancement needs of Rapid DNA instrumentation for possible future crime scene database use.


Are you in a leadership role? We have a workshop designed just for you! The “You Deserve a Cookie! Navigating the Challenging World of Leadership in Forensic Biology” workshop is an interactive workshop is designed for individuals in these leader positions, offering them management and leadership tools that they can implement in their operations. The workshop will also offer attendees an opportunity to bring their own challenges and questions to their peer group for advice or solution. Instructional material includes: DiSC assessment, PowerPoints, resource lists, post-it-notes, and cookies.


Finally, the “Unusual Collaboration and Techniques to Solve a Cold Case Homicide” workshop will present the challenges and obstacles faced in solving a 47 year old cold case kidnapping, sexual assault and homicide of an eleven year old girl. Several generations of DNA technologies, CODIS, familial searching, genetic genealogy and human remains exhumation were utilized over sixteen years. Participants will benefit from lessons learned, new forensic approaches to solve cold cases as well as the requirements for successful prosecution of these cases.


There are a few workshops offered after the General Sessions on Thursday as well, including the Technical Leaders meeting. Would you like to make your validations smoother in the lab? Consider adding the “Validation Principles, Practices, Parameters, Performance Evaluations, and Protocols” workshop will discuss validation principles (the why), practices (the how), parameters (the what), performance evaluations (the when), and protocols (the so what) important to establishing the degree of reliability involved in aspects of forensic DNA mixture interpretation. Topics to be covered include a review of currently available guidance documents on validation and suggestions on how to perform, describe, and utilize validation data from all parts of the DNA interpretation pipeline including probabilistic genotyping software.


The last workshop offering is the “Forensic Genealogy and its Application in Solving Cold Cases” workshop, which will explore how scientists, law enforcement, and forensic genealogists work together to solve crime using investigative DNA methods and techniques. Presenters will examine the need for forensic genealogy, current DNA methodologies and technologies applied to sample types ranging from samples recently recovered to over 100 years old. Attendees will get an in-depth view of current case studies and strategies to apply this technique to solve cold cases.


Costs and specifics for each workshop can be found on our agenda page. Workshop space is limited, so don’t procrastinate if you hope to secure a place.