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Spectacular Spectroscopers

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

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 18, 2016) — Forensically, it’s getting harder and harder to get bodily fluids past Claire Muro and Kyle Doty.

The two Chemistry Ph.D. students working with Professor Igor Lednev — already National Institute of Justice graduate research fellows and published scholars in top peer-reviewed journals — added to their laurels last month at the leading conference in the field of analytical chemistry and spectroscopy, each garnering best-poster awards and giving invited talks, and Doty also being named a Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar for outstanding submitted research paper.

“Claire and Kyle are two outstanding PhD candidates working with me,” said Lednev, who noted that each, both individually and in combination, work on projects involving the analysis of body fluid traces for forensic purposes using Raman spectroscopy and advanced statistics.

The 2016 Scientific Exchange (SciX) conference was held in Minneapolis, Minn. Muro and Doty were standouts among the more than 1,000 researchers that participated.

UAlbany Raman Spectroscopy researchers at SciX

Kyle Doty, at left with Professor Igor Lednev, and Claire Muro with presenter show off their awards received at the 2016 Scientific Exchange Conference in Minneapolis in late September. 

Muro’s oral presentation “Automatic Body Fluid Differentiation by Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics” detailed her statistical model to discriminate between the five main body fluids found at crime scenes. The method offers a dependable and nondestructive alternative to the current approaches used by forensic investigators. Her poster, on identifying individual red blood cells via Raman microspectroscopy for forensic purposes, earned a third place.

“Claire’s poster showed that our lab’s method of body fluid analysis can be used to identify peripheral blood, even when only a single red blood cell is present,” said Lednev.

Doty’s poster, which earned a fourth place, described the ability to use Raman spectroscopy to distinguish between human blood and that of 10 different animal species. He was presented the Hirschfeld award and gave an oral presentation that focused on his ability to estimate up to two years the amount of time a bloodstain has been left on a surface.

Both Muro, who earned two bachelor’s degrees at UAlbany, and Doty, who was a formulation scientist in research and development at Bausch + Lomb, Inc. before coming to the University, have praised the opportunity to work in Lednev’s lab.

“My University work under my research mentor Igor Lednev has allowed me to flourish in a variety of research endeavors throughout my four years in the chemistry doctoral program,” Doty said upon returning from SciX. “I have had the opportunity to present my research at over 10regional, national, and international scientific meetings, received a prestigious graduate research fellowship as well as a variety of distinguished research awards, and been able to work on some extremely interesting and important research projects.”

Doty and Muro’s 2015 critical review article “Vibrational Spectroscopy: Recent Developments to Revolutionize Forensic Science” was published in Analytical Chemistry, the top journal in the field in the world. It was highlighted on the journal’s cover, and translated and published in Japanese by the Spectroscopical Society of Japan.

“I believe that Claire and Kyle’s achievements reveal the great success of our graduate program and its competitiveness on a very high national level,” said Lednev.

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