Interdisciplinary Symposium to Speak to Adopting Innovative Science and Technology

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Source: Marla Carroll, 2016 IDS Co-Chair

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas! So say the signs entering the self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the World.” In keeping with that spirit, one of the feature acts for the AAFS 68th Annual Scientific Meeting will be the Interdisciplinary Symposium.  A slate of marquee names have been confirmed for a very informative morning of activities. The session’s topic is “Innovative Science:  How Advances in Technology Transform Forensic Science.”  The variety show planned for the morning of February 23, covers a wide forensic spectrum. In addition to speakers who are at the forefront of their respective fields, two panel discussions will take place.

The Keynote Address will feature Dr. Howard Schmidt who has had a long career in public service. Dr. Schmidt has served as the Chief Information Security Officer for two Fortune 500 companies — Microsoft® and eBay®, as well as having served as Cyber Advisor to the White House in the Bush and Obama administrations. He understands firsthand how technological advances can be transformational. Dr. Schmidt will lead a “fireside chat” to discuss his experiences and the intersection between cybersecurity and forensic science.

Dr. Nancy Rodriguez will discuss the role of the federal government’s National Institute of Justice, the lead agency for forensic science research and development, as well as the administration of programs to facilitate technical assistance. She will stress the importance of evidence-based research to serve the forensic science community.

Dr. Kenneth G. Furton will review the transformation of academic forensic science from knowledge creators and disseminators to catalysts of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development. As the Provost, Executive Vice President, and a researcher of Florida International University, Dr. Furton will focus on detection science in which trace detection of evidence and odors left from removed evidence is having a major impact on forensic science.

Jed S. Rakoff’s, topic is titled “Why Judges Fear Technology” and will explore the difficulties judges face in dealing with technological advances in the forensic sciences. Judge Rakoff will discuss some possible solutions to translating these advances into useable legal form. The first half of the program will wrap with a panel discussion.

After a brief recess, the program will resume with John M. Collins, Jr., from The Forensic Foundations Group. He will introduce attendees to the concept of administrative technologies and how technology can be leveraged in forensic science, not just for the testing of evidence, but in the management of people, customers, and organizational cultures.

Richard A. Guerrieri, will speak about the emergence of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and how it introduces opportunities for enhanced discrimination within mixtures and human remains as well as identity, physical appearance, and ancestry relationships. Mr. Guerrieri will also discuss implementation strategies for consideration by the forensic DNA community.

Dr. Kurt B. Nolte will outline how advanced radiologic imaging modalities such as Computed Tomography (CT) scanners are transforming the practice of forensic pathology. Dr. Nolte’s presentation will emphasize that CT and autopsy can be complementary in achieving the fullest diagnostic data set.

Christina Hayes and Amanda Hale will bring the Young Forensic Scientists’ perspective to the program. Ms. Hayes will discuss the new technology available in drug testing and will compare it to the standard instrumentation used with specific groups of drugs. Ms. Hale will take the approach that digital imaging innovation is integral to advancing methods in forensic anthropology.

Dr. Zeno Geradts will relate how the development of Digital and Multimedia Sciences is rapid, due to the growth of data and the wide range of devices in which digital evidence can be found; smartphones and most electronic devices now have digital storage that communicate with networks. Also, technological advancements in facial and image recognition will cause more possibilities for predictive methods. Professor Geradts will argue that due to these rapid developments of big data, new techniques can be used but that validation is crucial.

The morning session will conclude after the second panel discussion. As scientists, even at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, we do not gamble or let the chips fall where they may. The advertisements say that “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” but we want you to take back the knowledge and concepts presented in this year’s Interdisciplinary Symposium. Our world-class speakers will show how advances in forensics continue to help us get to the truth. Check out the complete abstract and presentation schedule in the AAFS Advance Program. Spend Tuesday morning with us and it’s a “sure bet” you will raise your technology adoption IQ. See you there!

Jeri D. Ropero Miller and Marla E. Carroll
Chairs, AAFS 2016 Interdisciplinary Symposium