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NIST Offers Forensic Science Education and Training Webcasts

From NIST Tech Beat: March 5, 2013

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Contact: Michael E. Newman
301-975-3025

Building upon the success of last November’s “Forensics@NIST 2012” symposium, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is offering three upcoming educational and skills-building events—two workshops followed by a conference—for forensic science professionals. All of the events will be free to attend and viewable via live webcasts.

First up on April 12, 2013, is a one-day, eight-hour workshop on interpreting forensic DNA mixtures in casework. Topics to be covered include: why working with DNA mixtures is difficult, what approaches are being used around the world to cope with complex mixtures, how validation studies should guide mixture interpretation protocols, and what statistical methods are appropriate in different situations. Multiple examples will be worked during the webcast to illustrate the fundamental principles of mixture interpretation.

For more information and to register, go to www.nist.gov/oles/forensics/dna-analyst-training-on-mixture-interpretation.cfm.

A second workshop, scheduled for two days (April 30-May 1, 2013), will explore emerging trends in the forensic analysis of three types of designer drugs: synthetic cannabinoids (chemical compounds that activate the same receptors as marijuana), substituted cathinones (stimulants sometimes called “bath salts”) and novel hallucinogens. NIST is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration in this workshop to highlight current federal efforts to: regulate synthetic drugs; document the types of synthetic drugs being encountered across the country; make available physical standards for emerging synthetic drugs; collaborate toward enhanced use of databases in drug analysis; conduct research studies in the synthetic drug analysis arena; and define the pitfalls commonly encountered during analysis and interpretation.

For more information and to register, go to www.nist.gov/oles/synthetic_drugs.cfm.

Finally, The Measurement Science and Standards in Forensic Handwriting Analysis Conference will take place on June 4-5, 2013, at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md. This meeting will be to enhance the current state of forensic handwriting analysis through the use of advancements in measurement science and the latest research investments in quantitative analysis capabilities. NIST is coordinating the event in collaboration with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences – Questioned Document Section, the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners; the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, and the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination.

For more information, go to www.nist.gov/oles/handwriting.cfm. Registration for this conference will be available soon at the same address.