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FORENSIC@NIST 2022 Workshop Agenda

Each workshop is limited to 175 attendees. Registrations will be approved on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Attendees must register to attend the main session on November 09-10th in order to register for a workshop.

How It's Made: NIST forensic DNA reference materials

The workshop topics focus on NIST forensic DNA reference materials.  Current and historical forensic DNA reference materials will be used to illustrate their role in: establishing traceability, harmonizing data exchange, commercial development of testing kits, and supporting quality systems.   The material procurement, physical characterization, and informed consent aspects of reference material development will be addressed. Examples of how materials are used will be presented by practitioners.

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  • Peter Vallone , NIST - Applied Genetics Group
  • Steve Choquette , NIST - Office of Reference Materials
  • Becky Steffen , NIST - Applied Genetics Group
  • Erica Romsos, NIST - Applied Genetics Group
  • Anne Andrews, NIST - Research Protections Office
  • Johanna Camara, NIST - Chemical Sciences Division
  • Danielle Daniels , FBI - Laboratory
  • Naomi LoBosco , Montgomery County Crime Lab
NIST 2022 Forensic Cannabis Workshop

Host: Walter Brent Wilson and Annie Yarberry, NIST

The legal cannabis market in the US  grossed $18.3B, which can be attributed to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that defined hemp as cannabis containing 0.3% or less of decarboxylated-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and removed hemp from the US Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substance list. As a result, the legal cannabis market exploded with a large production of floral hemp plant that is used to produce a wide range of finished products. Forensic laboratories were dependent upon qualitative measurements prior to the 2018 Farm Bill and are now required to quantitatively measure decarboxylated Δ9-THC in seized cannabis to differentiate between hemp or marijuana, despite the lack of analytical tools.

In response, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed an integrated measurement services program for cannabis to ensure the quality of routine analysis in forensic laboratories, third party testing companies, and throughout the cannabis industry. The tools developed by NIST will include the development of fit-for-purpose analytical methodologies, standard operating procedures, administration of a series of interlaboratory studies for direct stakeholder engagement, and development of Reference Materials (RMs) for routine analysis in forensic laboratories.

This workshop will include presentations from NIST researchers and forensic scientists from outside of NIST. Session 1 presenters will provide an overview of the current state of cannabis testing in forensic laboratories moving from qualitative to quantitative measurements. Speakers will provide insight on modifications/issues encountered, while also providing insight into current and future needs. Session 2 presenters will focus on laboratory quality assurance in forensic laboratories and the Cannabis Laboratory Quality Assurance Program. The workshop will include a live round table discussion for the presenters to answer questions and exchange ideas with the audience.

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  • Kate Rimmer, NIST, Chemical Science Division
  • Jerome Mulloor, NIST, Chemical Sciences Division
  • Annie Yarberry, NIST, Chemical Sciences Division
  • Sarah Shudah, NMS Labs
  • Amber Burns, NIST/MSP
  • Katelyn Wentworth, MSP
  • Melissa Phillips, NIST, Chemical Sciences Division
  • Walter Brent Wilson, NIST, Chemical Sciences Division
  • Melissa Kennedy, ANAB
  • Christopher Larson, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Mass Spectral Interpretation – Tips and Tools for GC-EI-MS and High-Resolution MS Data

Host: Edward Sisco & Arun Moorthy

Description: Mass spectrometry is one of the most commonly employed analytical tools in forensic chemistry disciplines. While many users employ large mass spectral databases for interpretation, there are use cases where more in-depth analysis is required (e.g. new psychoactive substances that are not present in a database). This workshop will provide attendees with tips and tricks for mass spectral interpretation as well as demonstrate some of the tools that are available from NIST to further assist chemists in interpreting spectra. This workshop will emphasize data obtained from gas chromatography electron ionization mass spectrometry (GC-EI-MS), but ambient ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry data will also be discussed.

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  • Edward Sisco, NIST, Materials Measurement Science Division
  • Arun Moorthy, NIST, Biomolecular Measurement Division
  • Edward Erisman, NIST, Biomolecular Measurement Division
  • Gary Mallard,
  • James Little,
  • David Sparkman, Compuserve
Workshop: Application and Implementation of 3D Technology, Algorithms, and Statistics for Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Analysis

Hosts: Xiaoyu Zheng, Thomas Renegar, Michael Stocker, Johannes Soons, Steven Lund, and John Song

This workshop aims to provide forensic practitioners, laboratory managers, legal personnel, and researchers with knowledge of emerging tools and technologies for forensic firearm and toolmark analysis. Training topics include the theory behind different styles of microscopes for measuring three-dimensional (3D) toolmark topography, measurement quality assurance, data processing methods, quantitative toolmark similarity metrics, statistical frameworks for estimating the strength of the evidence, and virtual comparison microscopy. Participants will learn about the advantages and current limitations of these emerging technologies, and about strategies for their implementation in casework.

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  • Xiaoyu (Alan) Zheng, NIST, Sensor Science Division
  • Thomas Renegar, NIST, Sensor Science Division
  • Michael Stocker, NIST, Sensor Science Division
  • Johannes Soons, NIST, Sensor Science Division
  • Steven Lund, NIST, Statistical Engineering Division
  • Jun-Feng (John) Song, NIST, Sensor Science Division
The Power of Process Maps – Understanding How to Use Process Maps to Improve Quality

Host: Melissa Taylor

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), through its Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), has been working with practitioners in various forensic science disciplines to produce process maps that identify key decision points in the forensic evidence examination process. Process mapping visually represents the critical steps and decision points of a workflow, allowing others to understand a process and its components more clearly, and revealing areas of improvement.  

These process maps are intended to be used to help improve efficiencies while reducing errors, highlight gaps where further research or standardization would be beneficial, facilitate root cause analyses, and assist with training new investigators. It may also be used by laboratory managers to better understand how their protocols compare with those of other laboratories and provide a framework for developing standard operating procedures, best practice documents, and quality assurance measures. 

In this workshop, we will discuss the development process and guide the participants through the steps involved in three forensic disciplines: latent print examination, handwriting examination, and firearms examination.  

At the end of the workshop, participants will understand the purpose and value of process mapping, how process maps can be used to inform contextual information management and cognitive bias reduction strategies, and how they can aid in the standardization of forensic processes and terminology.  

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  • Melissa Taylor, NIST, Special Programs Office
  • Heather Waltke, NIST, Special Programs Office