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UAlbany Chemist Launches NIJ Forensic Science Symposium

Faculty and students will present this month at Pittcon, the world’s leading annual expo and conference program.

Igor Lednev is an expert on crime scene forensics.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 20, 2018) – Faculty and students from the Department of Chemistry will present at the first annual NIJ Forensic Science Symposium later this month. The two-day event will take place during the 2018 Pittcon Conference and Exposition in Orlando, FL.

UAlbany chemist Igor Lednev organized the symposium in partnership with Pittcon and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). He said he designed the event, which has been in the works for over three years, to facilitate a hub of researchers dedicated to improving forensic methods.

“The forensic community needs a meeting where researchers from academia, government agencies, forensic laboratories and industry can discuss new forensic method developments,” said Lednev, an expert in crime scene forensics.

Lednev is an invited speaker at both the symposium and the Pittcon conference at large, which he said will attract more than 12,000 people. He said he plans to speak on the development of a universal forensic method based on advanced statistics and “Raman Hyperspectroscopy,” a technology that measures the intensity of scattered light by shining lasers on a sample, such as dry traces of blood or other bodily fluids.

Showcasing Student Research

Five graduate and two undergraduate students from his lab are joining Lednev for the symposium, as well as three faculty members. The students received full funding from the NIJ and other national organizations to participate in the event, according to Lednev.

Jalissa Thomas, a sophomore chemistry major, will present a poster on “Designing a Methodology for Body Fluid Identification with a Portable Raman Spectrometer.” She said she looks forward to learning about emerging forensic technologies and techniques at the event, as well as gaining insight on her current and future research.

“There is such a large number of fields within the umbrella of forensics, and it’ll be invaluable to gain more knowledge of the many subsets within it, as well as help when deciding the specific career path to follow later in my education,” she said.

Robert Rosenblatt, a junior biology major, received the I.M. Kolthoff Award from the American Chemical Society for attending the symposium. He said the conference, the largest and most prestigious one he will have ever attended, will be a unique chance to network with experts.

“This conference is an amazing opportunity to meet other people in the field, learn about different subjects and to gain an up-to-date view of the field,” he said. “Coming off with a good impression or meeting a professor at a different university whose work intrigues me could potentially be a very valuable tool in choosing a school to go for a Ph.D.”

Rosenblatt will present a poster on “The Differentiation of Human Blood from Potential False Positive Substances Using Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics.”

“This symposium will inform my studies by demonstrating more of how methods I use in analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy could be used towards my major, as well as most other fields in biology,” he said.

Interested in learning more? View Lednev’s one-hour webinar (sponsored by Pittcon) on Raman microspectroscopy.

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