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Spectacular Spectroscopers

Professor Igor Lednev chats with graduate students Kyle Doty and Claire Muro in the Life Sciences Building. (Photo Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 9, 2015) – For doctoral students Claire Muro and Kyle Doty, their paths to UAlbany’s forensic chemistry program may have been different, but their goals upon completing their degrees are quite similar. Both have been honored with prestigious National Institute of Justice (NIJ) graduate research fellowships to support their work using Raman Spectroscopy to advance crime scene analysis.

Muro, a native of Fayetteville-Manlius, N.Y., has been intrigued by forensics since an early age, and came to UAlbany as an undergraduate to enroll in the forensic chemistry and anthropology programs. After receiving two bachelor’s degree magna cum laude, she stayed at the University to start her graduate work. During this time she worked alongside Professor Igor Lednev, whose lab has been supported with $1.7 million in NIJ funding over the course of the last eight years.

“I joined Dr. Lednev’s lab while I was still an undergraduate student. He gave me a really interesting project to work on, which became the foundation for a lot of my graduate research,” said Muro. “This provided a seamless transition into graduate school and allowed me to get a head start on my research.”

Igor Lednev Claire Muro and Kyle Doty
Both Doty and Muro will use their experience in Dr. Lednev's lab to pursue careers in forensic science. (Photo Paul Miller)

Doty, of Rochester, N.Y., did his undergraduate studies at Buffalo State College, before working as a formulation scientist in the division of research and development at Bausch + Lomb, Inc. With the hindsight of having worked in R&D, Doty understood the need to attend a university where scientists were conducting the type of research that interested him the most – and what led him to UAlbany and Dr. Lednev’s lab.

"Through Professor Lednev’s guidance and mentorship I have been able to learn and grow as a scientific researcher," said Doty. "He has challenged me to come up with new ideas and concepts, as well as motivate me to work harder. As a result, I have had success with my research projects, allowing me to attend multiple conferences as well as be an author on five peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts in top scientific journals."

The fellowships are a direct recognition of the success of the forensic chemistry program at UAlbany, and Lednev’s lab in particular. Through the support of NIJ, UAlbany alumni of Dr. Lednev’s lab have gone on to work for the N.Y. State Police Crime Laboratories or attained prestigious positions in the industry.

Doty and Muro hope to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps. Muro hopes to use her experience at UAlbany to earn a position with the N.Y. State Police, while Doty’s goal is to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRF) program supports doctoral students engaged in research of interest to NIJ. The GRF program is designed to expand the future pool of young investigators pursing research with potential to provide STEM-based solutions to issues that affect public safety, crime, and the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice in the United States.

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