Seminar: Graduate Student Sarah Glenn will present “Improvement and Development of Analytical Forensic Methods: Arson Investigation and Drug Detection” to the department.
Forensic science is a gradually evolving scientific discipline. This slow change is due to the need for stringent scientific testing and peer review of each technique or procedure before the new methods are added to a forensic scientist’s arsenal. Forensic scientists rely on the wider scientific research community to develop and test the latest techniques that make analyzing forensic evidence easier and more efficient. This talk will focus on three novel analytical improvements to assist in the analysis of arson and drug evidence.
Arson investigation is one of the slowest growing forensic disciplines as little research is preformed to improve existing methods. The first study uses internal standards to help determine the fuel grades, origin, and evaporation levels of potential gasoline accelerants. This study helped quantitatively track the changes that occur in the gas chromatogram of gasoline as it is evaporated.
Illicit drugs make up a large percentage of the evidence collected and analyzed at forensic laboratories. The development and improvement of existing methods is needed to cope with the volume of evidence collected across the United States. The second study investigates the development of a method to detect illicit drugs in fingerprints using MALDI (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization) mass spectrometry. The third study looks into the improvement of existing methods for detecting THC in hair samples for faster and more efficient testing procedures