Kate Philpott, M.S., J.D.

Kate Philpott


Kate Philpott received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the College of William & Mary. She graduated from VCU in 2002 with a Master’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice, specializing in Forensic Science. In 2006, she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Professional experience
Before joining VCU as an instructor, Philpott was a scientific and legal consultant, specializing in strategic litigation related to the forensic sciences. In that role, she advised (and continues to advise) individuals and organizations with respect to case-specific and systemic forensic issues, and is involved with policy efforts at the local, state and federal levels to improve and reform forensic practice and develop consensus standards. She also trains attorneys (prosecution and defense), judges, and investigators on a broad array of topics, including evidence law, the scientific method, cognitive bias and human factors, laboratory validation, as well as discipline-specific training with particular emphasis on forensic DNA. Previously, she was the forensic staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and before that, a litigation associate at Covington & Burling LLP. 

Philpott also assists with research related to new forensic biology techniques, particularly characterization and front-end separation of biological mixtures based on morphological, autofluorescence and biochemical profiles with Dr. Ehrhardt’s laboratory.

Professional accomplishments
Philpott serves on the Legal Task Group (LTG) of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees, and is the LTG representative to the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis subcommittee.  She also serves on the American Academy of Forensic Science Standard Board’s Firearms and Toolmarks Consensus Body.  Philpott was a member of the Human Factors Subcommittee of the National Commission on Forensic Science until it sunset in 2017, as well as the Forensic Disciplines Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


  1. Krane D., Philpott K. (2021) Using laboratory validation to identify and establish limits to the reliability of probabilistic genotyping systems. In: Dash H.R., Shrivastava P., Lorente J.A. (eds) Handbook of DNA Profiling.  Springer, Singapore. [in production]
  2. Miller, M., Philpott, M.K., Olsen, A., Tootham, M., Yadavalli, V.K., Ehrhardt, C.J. 2020. Survey of extracellular and cell-pellet associated DNA from ‘touch’/trace samples. Forensic Science International. 318: 110557. doi: 1016/j.forsciint.2020.110557
  3. Brocato, E.R. Philpott, M.K., Connon, C.M., Ehrhardt, C.J. Rapid Differentiation of Epithelial Cell Types in Aged Biological Samples Using Autofluorescence and Morphological Signatures. PLOS One. 5/17/18. doi 1371/journal.pone.0197701.
  4. Philpott, M.K., Stanciu, C.E., Kwon, Y., Bustamante, E.E., Greenspoon, S.A., Ehrhardt, C.J. Analysis of cellular autofluorescence in touch samples by flow cytometry: implication for the front end separation of trace mixture evidence. Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 409(17): 4167-4179. doi:1007/s00216-017-0364-0
  5. Stanciu, C.E., Philpott, M.K., Bustamante, E.E., Kwon, Y.J., Ehrhardt, C.J. Analysis of red autofluorescence (650-670nm) in epidermal cell populations and its potential for distinguishing contributors to ‘touch’ biological samples. F1000 Research. 5:180. doi:12688/f1000research.8036.1
  6. Kwon, Y.J., Stanciu, C.E., Philpott, M.K., Ehrhardt, C.J. 2016. Flow cytometry dataset from cells collected from touch surfaces. F1000 Research. 5:390: doi: 12688/f1000research.8338.2
  7. Dean, L., Kwon, Y.J., Philpott, M.K., Stanciu, C.E., Seashols-Williams, S.J., Dawson Cruz, T., Sturgill, J., Ehrhardt, C.J. Separation of Whole Blood Mixtures for Single Source STR Profiling Using Fluorescently-labeled HLA Probes and FACS. Forensic Science International-Genetics. 17:8-16. DOI: 1016/j.fsigen.2015.03.003
  8. Stanciu, C.E., Philpott, M.K., Kwon, Y.J., Bustamante, E.E., Ehrhardt, C.J. 2015. Optical characterization of epidermal cells and their relationship to DNA recovery from touch samples. F1000Research, 4: 1360. doi:12688/f1000research.7385.1
  9. Clifford Spiegelman, Adina Schwartz and Kate Philpott, Putting the Science in Forensic Science: Helping Congress and the administration do what is possible, Amstat News (1 Aug. 2011), available at http://magazine.amstat.org/blog/2011/08/01/scipoliaug11/