On November 23 and January 26, euraDNA, in conjunction with Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs (GTH-GA), hosted webinars on advanced topics in forensic DNA databasing for Ukraine’s State Scientific Forensic Research Center. The webinars addressed topics related to the functioning and administration of forensic DNA databases and highlighted the power DNA databases have in resolving crimes and bringing closure to victims and their families.
The November 23 webinar featured presentations from Dr. Bruce Budowle and Melody Josserand from the Center for Human Identification of the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTCHI) on the history of the United States’ national DNA database system (CODIS) and best practices in database administration. This was followed by remarks from victims’ rights advocate Jayann Sepich who delivered the powerful story of how her daughter’s killer was identified only through arrestee forensic DNA testing. Finally, GTH-GA President Tim Schellberg spoke about the importance of national DNA database legislation.
The January 26 webinar featured a presentation from Adam Shariff (Senior Product Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific) on building and operating a criminal offender database workflow. Mr. Shariff discussed the process of scaling a DNA database into a full-blown national DNA database. He also provided an overview of considerations forensic institutions should evaluate when preparing a national DNA database program, such as the amount and type of samples being processed, what technology is required based on the type of analysis preformed, the validation and accreditation requirements necessary, and a plan to spread awareness to the general public. The second presentation of this webinar was given by Dr. Michael Coble (from UNTCHI) on probabilistic genotyping. Probabilistic genotyping is the use of statistical methods and algorithms in DNA profiling. Dr. Michael Coble received his PhD in genetics from George Washington University. He is the current acting Executive Director for the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas.