D.P. Lyle, M.D. and Jan Burke talk to Dr. Katherine Roberts of CSULA about current research in forensic science. She tells us what to look for in forensic science educational programs and what students should do to prepare for studying and working in this field. She’ll also talk to us about what new developments are on the horizon for forensic science.
Dr. Roberts is the Director of the California State University, Los Angeles Graduate Program in Criminalistics. She has served as the Director of the Master of Science degree program there since 2002,and played a leading role in the university’s FEPAC accreditation. Her research interests cover a wide array of forensic disciplines, but focus primarily of trace evidence analysis, sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis. Dr. Roberts was the PI of a National Institute of Justice-funded study to investigate the use of samplematrix™ to stabilize crime scene biological samples for optimized analysis and room temperature storage from 2009-2011. She is the PI for a National Science Foundation grant that was awarded to CSULA in 2015 to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary Forensic Science Research as a research site within the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) program. The Center will enhance research training and education in multiple forensic science disciplines, including Forensic Microscopy, Trace Evidence Analysis, Forensic Science Research Methods, Forensic Chemistry, and Applications of Forensic Science.
Dr. Roberts is currently collaborating with a consortium of European universities to develop a portable, inexpensive, and rapid method of dating latent fingerprints. Her publications are on topics related to trace evidence analysis, forensic examination of sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis.
She was an elected member of the Technical Working Group for Education and Training in Forensic Science (TWGED) that was convened by the National Institute of Justice. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) uses the report issued by TWGED in order to evaluate the academic standards of undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.
Dr. Roberts is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the California Forensic Science Institute.
California Forensic Science Institute http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/cfsi
CSULA School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/crim
LA Times article, “Cal State L.A. graduate students hone crime scene expertise,”http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/27/local/la-me-cal-state-criminalists-20130728
Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) http://www.fepac-edu.org