VCU forensic science researchers receive $2.28M for crime scene evidence research
December 3, 2019
VCU was one of only four schools in the country to receive multiple awards from the National Institute of Justice. Michelle Peace, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science, received a $1.24 million grant for her study investigating e-cigarettes and ethanol, which is often added as an unlisted ingredient in e-liquids. Associate professor Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., received a nearly $500,000 grant for his study, “Determining Time Since Deposition of Epithelial Cell Samples Using Intrinsic Fluorescence Signatures.” The goal of the project is to develop a method to determine how long “touch” evidence has been at a crime scene prior to its collection.Tracey Dawson Cruz, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Forensic Science, received a nearly $400,000 grant for the development of an assay that can determine earlier in the normal forensic workflow if the DNA in the evidence sample is from a single individual or more than one individual. The fourth NIJ grant was awarded to Sarah Seashols Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Forensic Science, in support of her research into using microRNAs to identify body fluids left behind as evidence, a project that started in collaboration with Zendra Zehner, Ph.D.