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Dr. Robert E. Gaensslen was honored at the 69th American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, LA, with the Academy’s highest honor — the R.B.H. Gradwohl Medallion. The Gradwohl Medallion is intended to honor one who has made exceptional contributions to the field of forensic science. The criteria for the Gradwohl Award were set forth in 1974 by the AAFS Board of Directors. It is the highest honor of the AAFS and is the foremost peer award in the forensic sciences. The Gradwohl Medallion is conferred only upon those persons who have attained exceptional distinction in the advancement of the forensic sciences, who have given outstanding service to the AAFS over a long period of time, and who have achieved outstanding recognition in a public position through service to the forensic science profession.
Dr. Gaensslen has served the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the forensic science community for more than 45 years. He is one of the most highly regarded experts in the field of forensic serology and is an expert in biological evidence examination, DNA forensic technology, and forensic laboratory approaches in the criminal justice system. As an author and researcher, Dr. Gaensslen has co-authored seven books, co-authored nine chapters in edited volumes, and has published more than 85 articles in refereed scientific literature. Dr. Gaensslen served as Professor of Forensic Science and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago for 15 years and became Professor Emeritus in 2011.
Dr. Gaensslen obtained his BS degree at the University of Notre Dame and his PhD at Cornell University in 1971. He was elected into AAFS membership in the Criminalistics Section in 1977, was promoted to Member in 1978, and to Fellow in 1980. He served as Program Chairman of the Criminalistics Section in 1985, as the Criminalistics Section Chairman in 1986, and as a member of the Criminalistics Section Awards Committee from 1986 to 1991. Dr. Gaensslen also served on the Long Term Planning Committee from 1992 to 1999. It was the Academy’s privilege that Dr. Gaensslen served as Editor of the Journal of Forensic Sciences (JFS) from 1992 to 2002. He now serves as Editor Emeritus of the JFS. In addition, Dr. Gaensslen has served as a Commissioner on the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) since 2011.
Dr. Gaensslen has organized, coordinated, and participated in dozens of workshops and training courses for forensic science laboratory and law enforcement personnel. He was honored by the Criminalistics Section with the Paul L. Kirk Award for Distinguished Service in 1993 and the Mary E. Cowan Outstanding Service Award in 2002. He was conferred with the AAFS Distinguished Fellow Award in 2000.
Congratulations to the Academy’s 15th Gradwohl Laureate, Dr. Bob Gaensslen!