The Edmond Sun

October 4, 2011

OSBI, UCO host forensic science research day

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation hosted a forensic science research day last week at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute.

It brought together forensic science professionals, professors and students from UCO, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma State University’s College of Health Sciences Forensic Science Program, Cameron University, the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and the Oklahoma Poison Control Center.

In Oklahoma, universities and forensic science labs are building relationships that will result in improved forensic science services to the state of Oklahoma.

“Due to the volume of cases being analyzed at OSBI and other forensic labs across the state, scientists are unable to dedicate the time and resources necessary to improve the laboratory services through research and development,” said Andrea Swiech, OSBI Forensic Science Center director.

By partnering with university professors and their students, new crime-solving techniques are being developed.

Students are able to fulfill their master’s thesis requirements by performing the research that forensic scientists need and are working under the direction of a forensic scientist currently working in the field.

UCO students are personally involved in the forensic science community, and the forensic lab is gaining the knowledge and techniques developed through the students’ research.

Several UCO students presented the results of their research projects.

Keisha Jones, a UCO student who just defended her master’s thesis, presented her research into identifying condom brands used in sexual assaults using their unique chemical profiles.

UCO student Kimberly Edwards explained how the use of image analyzing software can be used to determine firearm muzzle-to-target distances. Both of these project ideas originated in the OSBI lab.

UCO student Kate Weinbrecht, a student at OSU-Center for Health Sciences, explained her research into using DNA as a tool in microbial forensics and its application to potential bioterrorism events directed toward agricultural resources.