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October 14, 2008

Dale: Following the Footprint of DNA

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W. Mark Dale training students in the lab.

W. Mark Dale, center, trains students at the University at Albany for careers in forensic biology. (Photo Mark Schmidt) 

W. Mark Dale knows that real crimes are not solved in an hour, as they are on the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. As director of the Northeast Regional Forensics Institute (NERFI) at the University at Albany, Dale is known for training students for careers in forensic biology.

In reality, there are many jobs available for DNA scientists who are needed nationwide to apply these new technologies to the high demand for unsolved cases.

Dale, Forensic Scientist Lecturer Jamie Belrose, and Professor Don Orokos, director of the Graduate Program in Forensic Molecular Biology, all of whom teach at NERFI, will give an overview of the forensic process, forensic education programs, and give a demonstration on "How a Forensic DNA Scientist Performs CSI Crime Evidence Analyses" at 10:45 a.m. on UAlbany Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, in room 244 of the Biology Building.

"Students must be aware that you need to be a scientist before being a forensic scientist. It may not be as glamorous as it looks on TV, but real forensic scientists are needed to collect, preserve and analyze evidence, and testify in court," Dale said. "They need to work under pressure and produce no errors. The rewards of identifying or excluding a suspect, bringing closure to victims, and making your community safer can be very satisfying."

Dale is the author of The Crime Scene: How Forensic Science Works, (Kaplan 2007). Before his position at NERFI, Dale was the inspector in charge of the New York State Police Laboratory System.

The event is free and open to the public. It is just one of a myriad of activities and events during UAlbany Day, which will showcase how the University puts the world within reach. UAlbany Day activities will highlight the richness of the University's academics, student success, and campus life to the community at large, prospective students and parents, and UAlbany alumni. The day's activities include tours, a Farmers' Market, a basketball scrimmage, a tailgate party, and the Homecoming football game against St. Francis.

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