Forensic, Chemical and Biological Science


The ability to analyze physical evidence is increasingly important in the criminal justice system. At John Jay College, scientists are leading the field of forensics, specializing in areas such as criminalistics, spectroscopy, toxicology, serology, and genetic-marker identification.

Anthony Carpi (Department of Sciences), recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, studies Environmental Chemistry, Science Education, Environmental Toxicology, and Environmental Forensics. Specific areas include the biogeochemical cycle of mercury and the potential impact of climate change on mercury chemistry. His research includes a combination of laboratory and field studies to investigate these processes toward understanding the potential effects of global climate change on the environmental mercury cycle.

Elise Champeil (Department of Sciences) studies DNA-mitomycin C adducts formation; synthesis and NMR characterization; detection of drugs of abuse by NMR spectroscopy; molecular modeling; fullerence chemistry; and synthesis of molecular sensors.

Angelique Corthals (Department of Sciences) studies forensic anthropology, wildlife conservation, phylogenetics and evolutionary biology, and genetic resources and epidemiology.

Yi He (Department of Sciences) studies forensic analysis and sample preparation. Recent research focuses on liquid chromatography (LC), gas chromatography (GC), and inductively-coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Lawrence Kobilinsky (Department of Sciences) researches ways of developing sensitive methods of human identification using polymerase chain reaction methodology.

Ali Kocak (Department of Sciences) studies spectroscopy techniques focusing on the structure of fibers, hair and other forensic evidence, as well as other forms of forensic evidence analysis.

Thomas Kubic (Department of Sciences) researches a range of issues including the application of X-ray diffraction to problems of transfer evidence; identification and individualization of cosmetics by chromatography, ATR-FT/IR, and Microscopy; dust identification and analysis by PLM and SEM/ED; and individualization of synthetic fibers by thermal microscopy, among others.

Nathan Lents (Department of Sciences) studies gene expression control and cellular signaling. Specifically, we combine bioinformatics standard bench molecular biology techniques in order to reveal new tissue- and context-specific regulatory networks of gene regulation. In other words, we study how certain genes get turned on in a specific time and place in the human body. My lab also frequently works on projects in the field of forensic biology and toxicology, especially in the area of controlled substances and DNA analysis. 

Richard Li (Department of Sciences) studies the forensic analysis of biological evidence. With a primary focus on the application of forensic DNA techniques for human identification, he also researches forensic toxicology of postmortem samples.

Nicholas D.K. Petraco (Department of Sciences) studies methods of statistical pattern recognition applied to toolmarks, soils, dust, footwear, gunshot residue, and instrumentation data from mixed and/or contaminated samples; quantum chemical computations on molecules with use or potential use in forensic science; and data mining of crime information databases.

Gloria Proni (Department of Sciences) is currently exploring the synthesis and spectroscopical characterization of new derivatives for fingerprint detection and the stereochemical characterization of many compounds employed as “alternative” solar cells or as medicinal important substrates.

Jason Rauceo (Department of Sciences) researches Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics and Mycology and his current project focuses on the major fungal pathogen, Candida albicans, which infects over 60,000 people per year in the US alone.

John A. Reffner (Department of Sciences) researches microscopy, microanalysis and imaging technology and exploring their utility in forensic science. Combining microscopy with molecular spectroscopy and applying this to the analysis of crime scene evidence is a primary interest.

Marcel Roberts (Department of Sciences) is currently developing a novel fingerprint scanner capable of detecting the presence of explosives and also drugs.

Linda C. Rourke (Department of Sciences) researches whole genome amplification (WGA) of DNA from aged bloodstains using multiple displacement amplification (MDA); and admixture analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for the estimation of biogeographical ancestry (BGA) of sample donors, specifically for Hispanic populations of Puerto Rico alnd Dominical Republic.

Margaret Wallace (Department of Sciences) researches human identification; identification of botanical and entomological material; microbial forensics; immuno-magnetic cell capture; and intra/inter species diversity plants.