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Plenary Speakers


Invited Plenary Speakers

The Organizing Committee is pleased to announce the following experts have graciously accepted our request to provide a Plenary Session as part of the International Symposium.


Tuesday, July 21 - Morning Plenary -

Gillian Tully
Forensic Science Regulator
UK Home Office, UK
Title: "Learning from Errors"


G Tully

Gillian spent over 20 years at the Forensic Science Service (FSS), specializing in DNA innovation, including the early PCR multiplex systems, mitochondrial DNA analysis, Low Template DNA analysis, automation of DNA methods and rapid DNA systems. She reported many mitochondrial DNA cases in court, as well as giving evidence in high profile cases where the validity of scientific methods was at issue. Her portfolio of research leadership broadened to encompass the entire R&D team in the FSS, including digital forensics, informatics, physical and biological sciences.

In 2012, Gill became a founding member of Principal Forensic Services, and consulted in the UK and abroad, primarily in relation to forensic science innovation and quality systems.

Since November 2014, she has been the Forensic Science Regulator, responsible for setting quality standards in UK forensic science. The role also encompasses ensuring that an appropriate regime of monitoring compliance against quality standards is in place, investigating complaints and providing advice to Government and others.


Wednesday, July 22 - Morning Plenary -

Scott Shappell
Department of Human Factors and Systems
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA


Dr. Shappell is currently a Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Factors and Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Before joining the faculty at ERAU in the fall of 2012, Dr. Shappell was professor of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University from 2005-2012. Before that, he was the Human Factors Research Branch Manager at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. In addition, he has served nearly 20 years (11 years on active duty) in the U.S. Navy as an Aerospace Experimental Psychologist. During his time in the US Navy, Dr. Shappell served as the Human Factors Branch Chief at the U.S. Naval Safety Center and as a human factors accident investigation consultant for the Joint Service Safety Chiefs. He has published/presented well over 200 papers, books, and presentations in the fields of accident investigation, system safety, behavioral stressors, sustained operations and fatigue. While noted for his work in aviation, Dr. Shappell has been involved in a variety of industries including petrochemical industry, forensic science, mining, and medicine. Dr. Shappell received a B.S. in psychology (1983) from Wright State University graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors in psychology and followed with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1990. Dr. Shappell is a fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, fellow and past-president of the Aerospace Human Factors Association; fellow of the American Psychological Association and past-president of Division 21 - Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology, past-secretary/treasurer of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and member of the Association of Aerospace Psychologists, member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and member of the Association of System Safety Engineers.



Wednesday, July 22 - Morning Plenary -

Itiel Dror
Sr. Cognitive Neuroscience Researcher
University College London, UK
Title: "Cognitive Sources of Error and Ways to Minimize Them"


Dr. Itiel Dror is a cognitive neuroscientist who received his PhD from Harvard in the area of cognitive factors in human expert performance. His insights and understanding of the human brain and cognitive system underpin his applied work with the US Air Force, medical experts, as well as forensic science and other expert domains. In the forensic domain he has led to the understanding that the perceptions and cognitions of the human examiner plays a key role in forensic work. Dr. Dror has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles specifically looking at cognitive factors that medicate human expert performance, and has developed best practices in forensic work. He has provided training on 'Cognitive Factors in Forensic Decision Making' to the FBI, LAPD, NYPD, Kansas, and many other forensic laboratories across the US (as well as other countries, such as Australia, Finland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands). Dr. Dror has received the ABP Annual Award for his accomplishments and impact in forensic science. He has also been extensively cited in National Academy of Sciences Report on Forensic Science, and is the Chair of the OSAC Forensic Human Factors group. More information is available at:



Thursday, July 23 - Morning Plenary -

Alastair Ross
National Institute of Forensic Science
Australia-New Zealand Policing Advisory
Agency (ANZPAA), Australia
Title: "The Source of Errors: system,
policy, and practice"


Alastair is currently the Director of the ANZPAA National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS). He also held this position as the inaugural Director from 1992 to 2003. From 2003-2008 Alastair was Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, a full service forensic facility with over 300 staff.

Alastair holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Applied Science (Research) from the University of South Australia.

Alastair received the Adelaide Medal from the International Association of Forensic Sciences for international contributions to forensic science in 2002 and is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Thursday, July 23 - Morning Plenary -

Bryan Found
Chief Forensic Scientist
Victoria Police Forensic Services Department
Title: "To Err Was Forbidden: The Changing
Culture of Error Exploration in Forensic
Pattern Evidence"


Bryan is the Chief Forensic Scientist with the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Program in Expertise, Evidence and Law, Faculty of Law, at the University of New South Wales. He holds a Bachelor of Science, a Graduate Diploma in Education, a Graduate Diploma in Neurosciences and a Doctorate in Philosophy. He is a former President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, he is Chair of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and has held memberships with the European Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, the Association of Forensic Document Examiners, and the International Graphonomics Society. Bryan is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Forensic Document Examination (USA) and the Journal of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. He is a section editor for Elsevier's Encyclopaedia of Forensic Sciences, and a chapter author in the Wiley Encyclopaedia of Forensic Science. Bryan has published widely across a number of forensic disciplines. He has been accepted as a forensic expert in the Australian courts of Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.He has provided sessional teaching in forensic science and interpretive evidence at Latrobe, Deakin, Swinburne and Melbourne Universities in Victoria. Over the past 28 years Bryan has provided invited workshops in forensic, interpretative evidence, and cognitive factors at conferences and in training programs in 17 countries throughout Australasia, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Bryan's research interests include the characterization of the probative value of expert opinions on pattern evidence, contextual information and cognitive bias, and the objective assessment of forensic practitioner skill characteristics.



Thursday, July 23 - Morning Plenary -

Ralph Kleuskens
Quality and Process Management
Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI)
The Netherlands


Since 2007 Ralph Kleuskens is the head of the Quality Assurance & Process Management department of the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). He is responsible for the quality management system of the NFI. A challenging decision was the publication of the yearly overviews on quality issue notifications and error rates on the NFI website.

In 2008 Ralph became deployment leader of a (Lean Six Sigma) efficiency program with the aim to reduce delivery times and to cut costs. During its running period of seven years the program contributed significantly to the reduction of delivery times (from a corporate average of 140 days to 14 days and an increase in reliability to 95%). The program also raised 3,5 million Euros. As a Lean Six Sigma black belt working on more efficient processes and higher customer satisfaction, Ralph was specifically motivated to find solutions to shorten delivery times without compromising quality.

In 2014 Ralph became chairman of the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) Project Committee 419. The Committee aims at developing a set of standards that define procedures for forensic science processes from crime scene to court room.

Ralph is the vice-chairman of the Quality and Competence standing Committee (QCC) of ENFSI, the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes. The QCC actively supports and advises the board of ENFSI and the Expert Working Groups (EWG) on the subject of quality management and education and training.

Ralph has a master in Mechanical Engineering and worked in the automotive industry as a project leader and program manager for twelve years.

Contact Ralph via r.kleuskens [at] (r[dot]kleuskens[at]nfi[dot]minvenj[dot]nl) of via his profile on LinkedIn.

Friday, July 24 - Morning Plenary -

William Thompson
Department of Criminology,
Law & Society
University of California-Irvine, USA

Bill Thompson

William C. Thompson is a professor in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine (UCI); he has joint appointments in Psychology and in UCI's School of Law, where he has taught Evidence. He received a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice. He has published extensively on the use and misuse of scientific and statistical evidence in the courtroom and on jurors' reactions to such evidence, focusing particularly on forensic DNA analysis. Although primarily an academic, Thompson occasionally practices law. He has litigated Frye and Daubert issues in trial and appellate courts and has represented clients in jury trials involving novel scientific and statistical issues. Thompson was a member of the Task Force that drafted the ABA's Standards on DNA Evidence, he served on the California Crime Laboratory Review Task Force, and he has been a member of SWG-Speaker—the scientific working group on speaker identification. He is a member of the Human Factors Subcommittee of the National Commission on Forensic Science and is vice-Chair of the Human Factors Committee of the Organization of Scientific Advisory Committees (OSAC), a new federal standards-setting organization for forensic science that is jointly sponsored by the US Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Friday, July 24 - Morning Plenary -

Lynn Robitaille Garcia
General Counsel
Texas Forensic Science Commission, USA
Title: "The Importance of Trust and Collaboration in
Tackling Forensic Problems:
Lessons from the Lone Star State


Lynn Garcia serves as general counsel to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a position she has held since December 2010. As legal advisor to the Commission, Ms. Garcia's primary responsibility is to assist nine Commissioners appointed by the Governor with investigating allegations of professional negligence and misconduct in accredited crime laboratories.

Ms. Garcia manages complaints received from a variety of sources, including inmates and their families, advocacy organizations, defense counsel, and current or former laboratory employees. She also manages the Commission's review of laboratory self-disclosures for nonconformances that may rise to the level of negligence or misconduct.Laboratories are required to self-report these nonconformances under Texas law.

In addition, the Commission's enabling statute allows it to review cases involving forensic disciplines not subject to accreditation.However, these investigations are for the limited purposes of making observations regarding the integrity and reliability of the forensic analysis and issuing best practices and related recommendations.Ms. Garcia provides guidance to the Commission regarding which unaccredited disciplines may be appropriate for review and assists the Commission in carrying out investigations in these disciplines.

Ms. Garcia has coordinated investigations and drafted reports in a variety of forensic disciplines including drug chemistry, forensic biology, toxicology, digital and multimedia evidence, firearm and tool mark analysis, and arson investigation. Ms. Garcia also coordinates the Commission's ongoing statewide review of hair microscopy cases. This review is based in part on a parallel case review by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ms. Garcia has also organized stakeholder roundtables and drafted white papers on certification of forensic examiners and defendant notification in the wake of major forensic irregularities. She serves as the Commission liaison with attorney associations, judges, advocacy organizations, legislators and policymakers. She advises Commissioners on compliance with open government laws, conflict of interest rules and all other state and federal laws impacting their work.

Finally, Ms. Garcia coordinates the training and forensic development initiatives of the Commission, including development of in-person and online training regarding ethics and integrity in the crime laboratory; the impact of Brady and the Michael Morton Act on forensic examiners; leadership issues in the crime laboratory; root cause analysis training and many other discipline-specific trainings as identified either during the course of investigations or through collaboration with the Texas Association of Crime Laboratory Directors.

Before joining the Commission, Ms. Garcia was an attorney in private practice in the areas of white collar criminal defense, export regulation, economic sanctions, anti-corruption and corporate internal investigations.Ms. Garcia lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and very active toddler named Samuel.

Created March 26, 2015, Updated June 21, 2019