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The Eberly College of Science

Forensic Science Grad Student Research

Class of 2020

  • An Analytical Approach for the Detection of Gunshot Residue on Animal Hides to Estimate Shooting Distance. Alyssa Smale. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Effects of micro-CT Scanning when Assessing Bone Density and mtDNA Yield. Grace Marino. PI: Mitchell Holland

  • The Formation and Examination of Bloody Friction Ridge Patterns on Common Textile Materials using Different Enhancement Techniques. Kaitlyn Chetney. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt

  • Analysis of Smokeless Powders. Claire Page. PI: Jack Hietpas.

  • The Determination of the Organic Components of Newer Generation e-Cigarette Liquids. Bailey Davis. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Benefits of High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry for the Identification of Ignitable Liquids. Haylea Debolt. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • An Evaluation of Sample Preparation Techniques for Cannabis and Cannabis Products. Kelsey Cagle. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Evaluating possible factors involved in the formation of Post-Mortem Root Banding (PMRB). Sofia Canlas. PI: Jack Hietpas.

Class of 2019

  • Investigating the role of impact forces in the formation of three-dimensional fabric impressions in vehicle surfaces. Abigail Bender. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Comparison of Microbial and Elemental Profiles of Various Soil Samples for Forensic Application. Samantha Jarvis. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Validation of the Rapid ResponseTM Fentanyl (FYL) Test Strip for the Detection of Fentanyl Class Opioids in Native and Mixture Form. Sarah Stratton. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Determination of Human Identity Using Mosquito Blood Meals. Shayna Gray. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Characterization and Repair of Hydrolytically-Induced DNA Damage in the mtDNA Control Region via MPS Analysis. Sidney Gaston-Sanchez. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Massively Parallel Sequencing and STR Analysis from Partial Bloody Fingerprints Enhanced with Columnar Thin Films. Teresa Tiedge. PI: Reena Roy.

Class of 2018

  • Assessing Automated Image Analysis and Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Signatures for Small Arms Propellant Differentiation and Potential Brand Identification. Casey Brown. PI: Jack Hietpas.

  • Assessing the Viability to Detect Decomposition Gases Using Sensors on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Jason Sanderson. PI: Jack Hietpas.

  • Investigating Fundamental Factors Affecting the Formation of in vitro PMRB-like Features in Antemortem Head Hair. Katherine Ferrari. PI: Jack Hietpas.

  • Analysis of Peptide Metabolism Through in vitro Methods for Doping Detection of Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides. Kendra Prutton. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Evaluation of the Investigator 24plex GO! Using Crime Scene Substrates. Marcel Burton. PI: Reena Roy.

  • The Effect of Decomposition on Powder Stippling Patterns. Meghan Dougher. PI: Jason Brooks.

  • Assessing Repair Mechanisms for Damaged Mitochondrial DNA. Rachel Bonds. PI: Michell Holland.

  • Assessing the potential for secondary transfer of gunshot residue to bystanders through contact with surfaces that were near the discharge of a firearm. Ryan Schonert. PI: Jack Hietpas.

  • Comparison of Drop and Contact Transfer Blood Deposits on Fabrics. Swathi Murali. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Analysis of Firework Residue for their Potential to Produce GSR-like Particles. Xiao Shan Law. PI: Jack Hietpas.

Class of 2017

  • Liquid Transport of Blood Through Fabric and Its Effect on Bloodstain Morphology. Abigial Acio. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Amitriptyline Bacterial Degradation on Pericardial Fluid. Bruno Rodriguez-Rodriguez. PI: Rena Roy.

  • Shooting Distance Estimation using Gunshot Residue on Mammalian Pelts. Cory Weiss. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Massively Parallel Sequencing of Highly Fragmented Skeletal Material in Forensic Casework. Elena Zavala. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Assessing Heteroplasmic Variant Drift in the mtDNA Control Region of Human Hairs using an MPS Approach. Jamie Gallimore. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Investigation of Factors Affecting the Formation of Three-Dimensional Fabric Imprint Patterns in Automotive Surfaces. Rachel Downey. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Development of Unified GC-MS/FID Method to Determine Various Classes of Synthetic Drugs Using Retention-Indices. Sarah Howshall. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • An Examination of Hypergolic Mixtures Involving Potassium Permanganate and Select Fuels. Stephanie Harrold. PI: Wayne Moorhead.

Class of 2016

  • Analysis and Comparison of Fatty Acid Compositions in Latent and Smudged Fingermarks via Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCxGC-MS). Caitlin Cobern. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Natural Degradation of Smokeless Powder Over a Fifteen Year Period. Corey Kroptavich. PI: Wayne Moorehead.

  • Maggots and Murder: Detection of Human DNA in Fly Larvae. Katelyn Gigl. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Evaluation of the RapidHIT System for the Analysis of Mixed Biological Samples that Mimic those Potentially Recovered from Victims of Human Trafficking. Laura Wilson. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Considering the Impact of DNA Damage on the Interpretation of Low-Level mtDNA Heteroplasmy. Molly Rathbun. PI: Mitchell Holland.

Class of 2015

  • Generating DNA Profiles from Crime Scene Samples Commonly Encountered in The United Arab Emirates Using the RapidHIT™ System. Aamer Alshehhi. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Direct Y-STR Amplification of Body Fluids Deposited on Commonly Found Crime Scene Substrates. Amanda Dargay. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Evaluation of Forensically Informative SNP Multiplexes Using Next Generation Sequencing. Ashley Silvia. PI: Jenifer Smith.

  • Analytical Method Development for Gas Chromatographic Analysis of Piperazine Designed Drugs. Kathleen Luo. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Evaluation of Gas Chromatography Parameters for Improved Analysis of Explosives by Gas Chromatography-Electron Capture Detector. Lindsay Mitchell. Pi: Frank Dorman.

  • Obtaining DNA Profiles from Chemically Preserved Tissue Samples.  Maryam Alqaydi. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Determination of Emerging Contaminants in Wastewater Utilizing Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas-Chromatography Coupled with Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Sarah Prebihalo. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • White-Light vs. Short-Wavelength Ultraviolet Illumination o Fingerprints Developed with Columnar Thin Films of Alq3. Stephanie Plazibat. PI: Reena Roy.

  • A Comparison of Traditional and Novel Fingerprint Enhancements, and Subsequent DNA Degradation. Zachary Goecker. PI: Reena Roy.

Class of 2014

  • Direct Amplification Using Various Swabs and Washing Reagents. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Investigating the Molecules of Death. Rachel Bower. PI: Dan Sykes.

  • Environmental Forensics of Wastewater Samples for Determination of Emerging Contaminants. Adrienne Brockman. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Analysis of Cytostatic and Cytotoxic Agents in Wastewater, Surface Water, and Drinking Water. Jordan Stubleski. PI: Frank Dorman.

Class of 2013

  • The Analysis of Antidepressants in Aqueous Samples using Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry—Stationary Phase Optimization and Mass Spectrometric Complications. Kenton Chodara. PI: Dan Sykes.

  • Assessing the Ancestral Origin of Ancient Human Remains from Croatian Burial Sites using Mitochondrial DNA Analysis. Ayano Fox. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • An Evaluation of Direct PCR Amplification. Daniel Hall. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Comparison of Techniques to Assess the “Impact Angle” or a Blood Droplet Stain. Clare Hubbard. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Detection of Insertion/Deletion Polymorphisms from Challenged Samples. Rebecca Klein. PI: Reena Roy.

  • The Analytical Investigation of Synthetic Street Drugs. Amanda Leffler. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • QA/QC of Herbal Incense Samples by GC-MS and LC-MS/MS. Sharyn Miller. PI: Dan Sykes.

  • Environmental Forensic Investigation for Identifying Sources of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in a Stream. Melinda Pham. PI: Frank Dorman.

  • Reporting Logic for mtDNA Heteroplasmy when Using a Next Generation Sequencing Approach. Liam Phillips. PI: Mitchell Holland.

  • Progress in the Visualization of Latent Fingerprints on Nonporous Substrates using Columnar Thin Films. Stephanie Williams. PI: Robert Shaler and Akhlesh Lakhtakia.

Class of 2012

  • Assessment of the Methods Used to Approximate the Trajectory of a Bullet. Carly Conrad. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • An Assessment of the Inaccuracy of the Model Used to Approximate to Trajectory of a Blood Drop. Kathryn Kinzler. PI: Ralph Ristenbatt.

  • Examining Mitochondrial DNA in Human Hair Shafts using 454 Life Sciences Next Generation Sequencing. Kerry McGinley. PI: Mitch Holland.

  • New Kit on the Block: Validation of DIPplex® Kit from Qiagen. Kaylie McGuire. PI: Reena Roy.

  • Columnar Thin Film Development of Latent Fingerprints on Forensically Relevant Substrates. Sarah Muhlberger. PI: Robert Shaler and Akhlesh Lakhtakia.

  • Examining Effects of PCR Conditions on mtDNA Heteroplasmy using Next Generation Sequencing. Lauren Rothwell. PI: Mitchell Holland.


Forensic Research Instrumentation