Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
OSU-CHS News > 2014

Nov. 13, 2014

OSU-CHS awarded NIJ grant for crime scene investigation research


An Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences researcher was recently awarded a $241,352 grant from the National Institutes of Justice to identify a way to determine the age of biological material at a crime scene.

“With this research, we hope to shed some light on how the molecular identity of the sample is changing as the sample ages,” said Dr. Kate Weinbrecht, postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Forensic Sciences.

It is difficult to calculate the age of biological material, such as blood, semen or saliva, found at a crime scene. The ability to determine age would be a critical new tool for use in crime scene investigations as it would enable investigators to develop a more accurate timeline than current methods allow.

“Determining the age of biological material is an extremely complex task due to the possibility of multiple sample types, environments and conditions,” Weinbrecht said. “This is a forensic problem that continues to need research before a process can be identified for regular use.”

The federal grant will support Weinbrecht’s forensic research for two years.

Each year, NIJ provides funding for physical and social science research, development and evaluation projects about criminal justice through competitive grant solicitations. The goal of the grant program is to support research that will further contribute to improving the criminal justice system.

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