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Forensic Science Program receives major grant from U.S. Department of Justice to host national workshops on scientific advances

October 06, 2009

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-8085

The Forensic Science Program in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences has received a $912,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice, part of the U.S. Department of Justice for a project that will include hosting a series of national workshops at SU to explore scientific advances in the biology and anthropology of human remains and to identify new areas of forensics research.

“The workshops will enable us to bring together some of the most prominent forensic science researchers in the field,” says College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean James T. Spencer, a Laura J. and Douglas Meredith Professor and founder of the Forensic Science Program, who is the primary investigator for the grant. “The result will be the publication of white papers designed to help set the national research agenda to further develop work in the identification of human remains in forensic science.”

Michael Sponsler, professor of chemistry and director of forensic science in The College of Arts and Sciences; Shannon Novak, assistant professor of anthropology in the Maxwell School; and Ann Bunch, assistant professor of criminal justice at the SUNY College at Brockport, are co-investigators on the grant.

The workshops will be held over the course of two years and will focus on the following areas:

  • advances in human vs. animal bone identification;
  • advances in the determination of the post-mortem interval;
  • best strategies for DNA use;
  • new techniques for individual identification;
  • Trauma I and Trauma II;
  • new directions in forensic anthropology; and
  • quantification in forensic science.

SU’s Forensic Science Program is an interdisciplinary program based in The College of Arts and Sciences, which offers an undergraduate minor and a master’s degree. The master’s program is one of the University’s largest, graduate-level collaborative efforts, involving four schools and colleges (The College of Arts and Sciences, the Maxwell School, the College of Law and the College of Human Ecology) joining with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Onondaga County Wallie Howard, Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences.

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