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John Butler (Fed)

NIST Fellow & Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science

John M. Butler is an internationally recognized expert in forensic DNA analysis and holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia. He has written five textbooks on Forensic DNA Typing (2001, 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2015) and given hundreds of invited talks to scientists, lawyers, and members of the general public throughout the United States and in more than 25 other countries so far.

Dr. Butler’s research, first conducted at the FBI Laboratory and now at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), pioneered the methods used today worldwide for DNA testing in criminal casework, paternity investigations, and many DNA ancestry assessments.  He has been honored in multiple White House ceremonies (2002 and 2015) for his work in advancing DNA testing.

In 2011, ScienceWatch.com named him the worldwide high-impact author in legal medicine and forensic science over the previous decade. A 2020 Stanford University analysis of eight million scientists published since 1960 put Dr. Butler as #7 (#1 from the United States) out of 10,159 researchers worldwide in the subcategory of legal medicine and forensic science. He has received the Gold Medal (2008) and Silver Medal (2002) from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Scientific Prize of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (2003), the Paul L. Kirk Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2017), and the Magnus Mukoro Award for Integrity in Forensic Science from the NYC Legal Aid Society (2020).

Dr. Butler is a NIST Fellow (highest scientific rank at NIST) and Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science in the NIST Special Programs Office. He served as the Vice-Chair of the National Commission on Forensic Science from 2013 to 2017. In 2019, he was elected the President of the International Society for Forensic Genetics, which has 1300 members in 84 countries. 

Awards

Scientific Awards

  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIST 1995-97
  • British Medical Association Medical Book Competition, Highly Commended, 2001
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2002
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal, 2002
  • Scientific Prize of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, 2003
  • Finalist for the Service to America Medals 'Call to Service' Award, 2004
  • Honored Alumnus for BYU's College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, October 2005
  • NIST Fellow, March 2008
  • The Arthur S. Flemming Award (Applied Science, Engineering and Mathematics 2007), June 2008
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award, 2008
  • Edward Uhler Condon Award, December 2010
  • Science Watch, #1 world-wide high-impact author in legal medicine and forensic science over the last decade, July 2011
  • Presidential Rank Award, December 2015 
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Criminalistics Section's Paul L. Kirk Award, February 2017
  • Magnus Mukoro Award for Integrity in Forensic Science, January 2020

Journal Editorship

  • Associate Editor of Forensic Science International: Genetics (2006-2019)
  • Editorial Board member of the Journal of Forensic Sciences (2010-present)
  • Forensic DNA Section Editor for Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, 2nd Edition (Elsevier Academic Press) (2012-2013)
  • Forensic Science International Genetics Supplement Series Editor (2019-present)

Memberships and Committees

  • International Society of Forensic Genetics, Member (2001-present), Representative of the Working Groups (2016-2019), President (2020-present)
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Member Criminalistics Section (2010-present), Fellow (2019-present)
  • International Association for Identification (IAI) (2014-present)
  • Academy Standards Board (ASB) DNA Consensus Body (2015-present)
  • ATCC Committee on Authentication of Human Cell Lines: Standardization of STR Profiling (2009-2012; 2016-present)
  • AABB Relationship Testing Standards Committee (2020-present)
  • ISFG 2022 Local Organizing Committee Member (2020-present)
  • European Academy of Forensic Sciences (EAFS) 2022 Meeting Scientific Committee Member and DNA Track Chair (2021-present)
  • FBI's Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM), Invited Guest (2000-2019)
  • Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC): SAC Biology/DNA (2014-2019)
  • National Commission on Forensic Science (NIST Vice-Chair) (2013-2017)
  • National Institute of Justice World Trade Center Kinship and Data Analysis Panel (WTC KADAP) (2002-2005)

  • Department of Defense Quality Assurance Oversight Committee for DNA Analysis (2003-2012)

  • Hurricane Katrina Victim Identification DNA Expert Group (2005-2006)

  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) DNA Expert Panel (2008)

  • NIJ Expert System Testbed (NEST) Project Team Advisor (2005-2009)

  • NIST Research Library Advisory Board (2007-2010)

  • Virginia Department of Forensic Science Science Advisory Committee (2009-2013)

Publications

NIST Scientific Foundation Reviews

Author(s)
John M. Butler, Hariharan K. Iyer, Richard A. Press, Melissa Taylor, Peter Vallone, Sheila Willis
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a scientific research agency that works to advance measurement science, standards, and technology
Created May 31, 2018, Updated December 14, 2021