Bodily Fluids and Forensics: Introduction to the Series

By Maher Noureddine, Ph.D. and Sarah Rackley

The field of forensic investigation continues to reap tremendous benefits from advancements made in various scientific disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology and others. The detection and analysis of biological molecules have been at the forefront of this advancement, even to the level of revolutionizing forensics as we know it. Arguably, DNA takes center stage as the molecule with the most impact. There are, however, other biological molecules that have played a significant role in forensics for many decades, and will continue to do so for years to come.

In this blog series, we will highlight such molecules, the bodily fluids they lurk in, the important issues relating to their detection and analysis in forensics, and what you might want to know when confronting this type of evidence. The bodily fluids we will examine include: saliva, blood, and semen.

We will start this series on Monday by tackling salivary amylase, the biological molecule that is found in saliva and the main target for analysis when examining saliva as a forensic sample in cases such as murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, and others. Stay tuned for Dr. Noureddine’s first post in this scientific series.

Dr. Noureddine is a doctor in molecular genetics with extensive background and experience in scientific research and training in human genetics. He has a B.S. in Biology from Radford University in Virginia, an M.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Center (The Center for Human Genetics), where he published many articles on the genetics of Parkinson Disease and other human genetic disorders. He was also a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences/National Institute of Health, where he conducted research in cancer using advanced methodologies in genomics. His expertise include specialized training in complex genomics, DNA fingerprinting, SNP analysis, mitochondrial genetics, and state of the art methodologies in genetic variations in the population. He owns and operates ForensiGen, LLC, a consulting company that specializes in DNA forensics, biological evidence, and disease genetics. His profile can be found here. His email address is mnoureddine@theiacd.com.

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