two women and a man working with test tubes in a lab

Students in the Forensic Science Graduate Program engage in innovative research with well-respected industry and academic professionals. Research data and interpretation are collated as a written thesis, which is presented in an oral defense. Students are strongly encouraged to publish their thesis research in peer-reviewed journals.


Research Opportunities for Graduate Students

The following are descriptions of research projects for which professors are seeking graduate students. If you are interested in one of these projects or a similar project, contact the thesis chair.

Topic Thesis Chair Description
Chemistry Dr. Moshe Rosenberg Food authentication and regional origin of food and agricultural products
Biological Molecular Techniques Dr. Robert Rice Protein profiling of human hair for distinguishing individuals: database development
DNA/Chemistry Dr. Cassandra Calloway Trace DNA collection from large surface areas coupled to enhanced DNA extraction
Chemistry Dr. Matt Wood Detection and identification of trace explosive residues from latent fingerprints
Biological Molecular Techniques Dr. Robert Rice Cytochrome P450 knockout (CRISPR-Cas9 system) in human epidermal keratinocytes for toxicity assessments
Biological Molecular Techniques Dr. Robert Rice Mechanisms of toxic response of human epidermal cells (dioxin, arsenic and copper)

Completed Student Research Projects

The following research projects have been completed. If you have any questions, please contact the thesis chair for more details.

Topic Graduate Student Thesis Chair Description
Alcohol Fessler, C. D. Howitt Critical task impairment at low ETOH level using EPAS detection
Alcohol Mathison, J. D. Land CAPSTONE: Alcohol induced Blackouts, a collective review
Chemistry Ayala, D. B. Puschner Mercapturic Acids as Biomarkers of Internal Naphalene Exposure
Chemistry Benedet, J. T. Shibamoto Biomarkers for toxic chemical exposure-disease relationships
Chemistry Bradshaw, K. R. Rice Proteomic Analysis of Mouse Hairs from Several Mutant Strains
Chemistry Brooke, P. D. Land FTIR-ATR determination and non-destructive analysis of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) impregnated in denim fabric.
Chemistry Caldwell, J. D. Land Using D-2-hydroxyglutarate as a tool for measuring γ-hydroxybutyric acid levels in blood and urine – a pilot study.
Chemistry Carlson J. Erkens Stable Isotope Analysis of Teeth and Bone From Seven Native American Males in Pleasanton, Alameda County, California
Chemistry Chen, H. D. Barile Investigation on Oligosaccharides Composition of Farm Mile and Processed Milk by Gas Chromatography and Advanced Mass Spectrometry
Chemistry Conner, A. K. Dehesh Determination of the activity of LTA4H-like protein in Arabidopis thaliana by GC/MS and LC/MS
Chemistry Connolly-Ingram, C. D. Land Investigation on Oligosaccharides Composition of Farm Mile and Processed Milk by Gas Chromatography and Advanced Mass Spectrometry
Chemistry Currier, C. Y. Hsieh Instrumental Technique for Differentiating Beige Carpet Fibers
Chemistry Dang, L. M. Rosenberg Trace elemental correlation of milk and soil
Chemistry Dodds, A. D. Land Batch Variability of Glass using Laser Ablation ICP Mass Spec
Chemistry Eaquinto, I. D. Land The detection of Na-GHB disolved in different pH drinks, over time
Chemistry Eitner, J. D. Land Development, Optimization, and Validation of Instrumental Calibration Standards for Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) Applications
Chemistry Fogelberg, C. T. Shibamoto The Analysis of 2,4-Dinitrophenol in Biological Specimen
Chemistry Fussell, J. J. Thornton The Visualization and Identification of Cannabis sativa (marijuana) Seeds
Chemistry Goggin, C. J. Thornton Odor of Cannabis compared and analyzed by AccuTOF DART MS
Chemistry Gorecho, E. D. Land FTIR-ATR Quantitation of Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB) Cotton Swabbed from Glass and Plastic Containers
Chemistry Harrington, K. D. Land Forensic expansion of LA-ICP-MS: Elemental analysis of soda-lime container glass and applications of principal component analysis
Chemistry Hranac, R. D. Land Phosphine generation from clandestine methamphetamine waste
Chemistry Huntington, B. M. Miller Synthesis and Intermediate/By-Product Analysis of Bromo-dragonFLY, a Dihydrobenzofuran Analogue of Phenethylamine Hallucinogens
Chemistry Hutches, K. D. Land Detection of Residual Gasoline on skin using SPME methods
Chemistry Laatsch, CN R. Rice Distinguishing People by Their Hair Protein Profiles
Chemistry Lasater, B. D. Land Elemental Profiling of Carpet Fibers
Chemistry Le, T. Y. Hsieh Discrimination of Blue Denim Fibers using Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
Chemistry Levoe, S. P. Lein The Relationship of Oxidative Stress to Organophosphorus Pesticide (OP) – Induced Neurotoxicity
Chemistry Manhart, C. J. Thornton Sensitivity of Luminol on Denim material.
Chemistry Mann, S. R. Rice Proteome Analysis of Inbred Mouse and Human Hair with Alopecia Areata
Chemistry May, L. M. Rosenberg Determining the Geographic Origin of Milk and Cheese Using Multi-Element Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis
Chemistry Mukwana, S. D. Land Analysis of Soot Materials for Combustion Products
Chemistry Nakayama, M. D. Land Bleach mediated chemistry of psuedoephedrine
Chemistry Stevens, S. T. Shibamoto Photodegradation of Salvinorin A
Chemistry Suarez, M. S. Parikh Evaluation of the spatial variability of soils: Application to Forensic Science
Chemistry Szelagowski, E. M. Rosenberg A Non-invasive Methodology for Detailed SEM Analysis of Human Skin
Chemistry Tanabe, C. M. Rosenberg Determination of the Geographical Origin of Green Coffee Using Elemental and Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis
Chemistry Taormina, E. D. Land Detection and characterization of volatile organic compounds from burned human and animal remains in fire debris
Chemistry Triebold, C. D. Land Ephedrine & Pseudoephedrine isomer identification in toxicological samples
Chemistry Ward, E. D. Land Is it possible to distinguish between yellow nylon rope fibers using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)?
Chemistry Watkins, J. P. Green Using Laser Ablation and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry to Measure Mercury Levels in Hair Samples
Chemistry Wiltshire, S. Y. Hsieh Differentiating Beige Carpet Fibers
Chemistry Wong, G. M. Rosenberg Authentication of Culinary Salt – Challenges and Opportunities
Chemistry Wu, P-W R. Rice Protein profiling of hair from human monozygotic twins
DNA Aceves, M. G. Sensabaugh Development of a real-time qPCR assay for the simultaneous assessment of mitochondrial DNA degradation, total nuclear DNA, and the presence of PCR inhibitors
DNA Barr, A. S. Kanthaswamy A Rapid qPCR-based DNA Quantification Assay Coupled with Species-determination Capabilities for Two Hybridizing Macaca Species
DNA Baute, D. S. Kanthaswamy Analysis of forensic SNPs in canine mtDNA HVI mutational hotspot region
DNA Bischof, S. R. Rice The Effects of Water Type, Exposure Time, and Water Agitation Level on the Ability to Detect Semen, Sperm, and Human DNA on Cotton Fabric
DNA Boland, C. G. Sensabaugh Comparative analysis of differential extractions to eliminate co-purification
DNA Brooks, A. L. Lyons Development of a Multiplexed SNP Identification Panel for the Random-Bred Domestic Cat
DNA Caulder, M. H. Ernest Species Discrimination of Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer by Microsatellite Markers
DNA Cavness, S. G. Sensabaugh Survey of Results from Biological Analysis of Sexual Assault Kits Collected from Victims in Oakland California
DNA Charoenchote, W. R. Rice Construct gene frequency of Merue population-Tanzania
DNA Cuenca, D. G. Sensabaugh Analysis of Forensically Relevant Degraded and Limited DNA Samples Using Probe Capture and Next Generation Sequencing
DNA Dickover, R. R. Rice STR Genotyping of DNA From Latent Fingerprint Cards
DNA Doneva, K. R. Rice Frequency of Inter- tissue Somatic Mosaicism at the 15 Amp FISTR Identifier Loci
DNA Duke, K. G. Sensabaugh The quadruplex real-time PCR assay employs a popular type of DNA detection system, namely the TaqMan primer/probe system Issues
DNA Duke, M. S. Kanthaswamy Research on canine miniSTR marker resolution with extended nucleotidic and non-nucleotidic primers extensions
DNA Dunbar, M. T. Murphy DNA Analysis of plant material used for rope manufacture
DNA Fong, T. R. Rice Optimization of drying conditions for sexual assault swabs
DNA Gazlay, K. L. Lyons Hair color gene mutation in cats
DNA Gordon, R. C. Hopkins DNA Allele Frequencies of the AmpFlSTR® Identifiler® STR alleles in the Luo, Kalenjin, and Kamba Tribes of Kenya
DNA Haltiner, C. E. Panacek Comparison of Radial Diffusion, RSID, and DNA test positivity in saliva specimens over time
DNA Hansen, D. R. Ballard Investigation of collection and exgraction methods for low-levels of DNA on various substrates to determine which method recovers the greatest amount of DNA
DNA Harper, K. R. Davis Species identification of toxic and hallucinogenic mushrooms via macroarray
DNA Himmelberger, A. S. Kanthswany Mitochondrial DNA of dog saliva
DNA Hinckley, A. P. Gepts PCR-based genotyping of Ricin communis cultivars plants
DNA Hinton, N. R. Rice Developmental validation of an 8 loci multiplex system for North American mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
DNA Ho, J. G. Sensabaugh Studying the relation of post-coital interval (PCI) to screening tests(s) results to the obtainment of partial or complete DNA profile
DNA Ho, L. K. Nambiar Overexpression of HER2/new and helical peptides binding
DNA Hofsass, P. G. Sensabaugh Contact DNA sensitivity, durability, and recovery on firearms
DNA Huang, A. E. Panacek Yield and Quality of Male DNA Deposited on Female Skin via Oral Contact
DNA Huang, T. L. Lyons Differentiating Cat DNA Mixtures From Cross Grooming Using MtDNA
DNA Imes, D. C. Penedo Domestic Dog Mitochondrial DNA genome to identify highly polymorphic regions
DNA James, J. G. Sensabaugh Desalting and concentration process for post-PCR cleanup
DNA Johnson, C. S. Kanthaswamy The Identification of Cannibas sativa Using Real-Time PCR.
DNA Kun, T. L. Lyons Development of a Canine Mini STR Panel for Forensic Casework
DNA Lawrence, D. D. Smith A Molecular Analysis of Protohistoric native American Osteological Remains
DNA Lee, V. D. Smith Recovery and typing of DNA from lip prints
DNA Levi, C. R. Rice Obtaining DNA Profiles from Archived Tape-Lift Fingerprint Cards
DNA Llinas, G. G. Sensabaugh Microbial community profiling of soil evidence
DNA Malvick, J. H. Ernest Tetranucleotide DNA Marker Panel for Pumas (Puma concolor): Development and Applications for Forensics and Ecology
DNA Marlia, G. E. Panacek DNA Yield from Oral Samples Obtained after Oral Sex
DNA McIlmoyle, G. S. Kanthaswamy Development of a methylation detection assay for rhesus macaques
DNA Mendoza, A. S. Kanthaswamy Cross-Species Amplification of STR Markers Using Samples from Titi Monkeys (Callacebus spp.)
DNA Mercurio, M. R. Rice DNA recovery from fixed blade and folding knives
DNA Ng, J. S. Kanthaswamy Development and Validation of a DNA-Based Multi-Species Identifcation andQuantification Assay
DNA Oh, Y. R. Ballard DNA Allele Frequencies of the AmpFISTR Identifiler STR Alleles in the Kikuyu and Luhya Tribes of Kenya
DNA Olegario, M. B. Sacks A STR Multiplex for Colombian Black-Tailed Deer
DNA Olson, J. A. Oberbauer Effects of oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms on canine social approach behaviors
DNA Powell, T. B. Rice Isolation of DNA from blue jeans and interfering Indigo dyes
DNA Premasuthan, A. S. Kanthaswamy Comparison of ABO blood group phenotype and genotype frequencies in geographic populations of rhesus and cynomolgous macaques
DNA Reponen, S. B. Sacks Population Genetics of Feral Dogs on Isabela Island
DNA Reyes, V. G. Sensabaugh mtDNA genome sequencing and analysis using microarray technology
DNA Sanderfor-Schultz, E. M. Wood The effects of latent print techniques on trace DNA over a year period of time.
DNA Sandoval, M. S. Kanthaswamy Yield of Touch DNA after Physical Contact Relevant to Sexual Assault
DNA Sartorio, A. C. Penedo A Review of the Genetic Markers Currently Available for DNA-Based Analysis of South American Camelids
DNA Scharnhorst, G. S. Kanthaswamy Findings and recommendations from a review of 32 canine case report
DNA Scott, C. R. Rice DNA Yield on Varied Sample Extraction Techniques
DNA Sentiwany, C. G. Sensabaugh Evaluating the probative value of sexual assault evidence collected from suspects
DNA Sethi, V. S. Kanthaswamy Yield of Touch DNA after physical contact with fabrics relevant to sexual assault
DNA Smalling, B. S. Kanthaswamy SNaPshot Assay for Canine forensic mtDNA analsysis
DNA Solt, K. S. Kanthaswamy Technical Review: Assay development for the quantification of mixed species samples in forensic research (NIJ Grant No. 2008-DN-BX-K288 to SK)
DNA Spicer, A. L. Lyons Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) heteroplasmy in the hair of domestic dogs.
DNA Swenson, N. R. Rice Developmental validation of an 8 loci multiplex system for North American mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
DNA Taormina, P. S. Kanthaswamy Assessment of Finnzymes PathoProof Bovine Mastitis PCR Assay kit for use in California
DNA Tom, B. S. Kanthaswamy Nomenclature and Allelic Ladder Development for Canine STR Panel
DNA Tsai, H. R. Rice Characterize a novel protein VSIG8 in hair and nail
DNA Viray, J. D. Smith Implementation of Applied Biosystems AmpFℓSTR® MinifilerT Amplification Kit for Forensic Casework: Validation, Degradation, and Contact DNA Studies
DNA Wander, M. E. Panacek An Investigation of Touch DNA Collection Methods from Clothing: Traditional Cutting Techniques Versus a Wet Vacuum System
DNA Williams, J. D. Smith The Evaluation of Different DNA Extraction methods on Ancient Bone Samples
DNA Williams, S. E. Panacek Recovery of Saliva from Sexual Assault Victims Using the Microbial Vacuum After Showering
DNA Wong, H. G. Sensabaugh The Automation of the Differential Digestion Process of Sexual Assault Evidence in a High Efficiency Format
DNA Yuen, M. R. Rice Investigation of somatic mosaicism at the IdentifilerT and Y-FilerT human DNA identification loci in 400 rooted hairs from a single individual
DNA Zoccoli, J. G. Sensabaugh Quantitative & qualitative YSTR kit comparison
Entomology Andrade, J. R. Kimsey Anemotaxis of flies using physical barriers to food
Entomology Daman, K. J. Stachowicz Using sessile invertebrate growth to determine season of year a body was disposed of in Bodega Bay
Entomology Gallagher, M. R. Kimsey Temperature mediated growth rate of the common Green bottle fly Lucilia sericata
Entomology McPartland, S. R. Kimsey Blowflies appearance at diverse carrion and their frequency
Fingerprinting Moses, H. J. Thornton A critical comparison of black fingerprint powder formulations to improve latent fingerprint clarity and contrast on common substrates
Firearms Chu, A. D. Howitt The continuity and reproducibility of striations on a fired bullet
Firearms Cornell, A. J. Thornton CAPSTONE: Breech Face Markings: A review of techniques, methods, and issues regarding the examination of this tool mark.
Firearms McClorry, S. D. G. Howitt An Objective Measure for Determining Whether Two Cartridge Cases Have a Common Origin
Firearms Richards, V. D. G. Howitt Evaluating the Gray Scale Response Difference Associated With Bullet Comparisons Using Optical Microscopy
Firearms Weller, T. D. Howitt Confocal and Comparison Microscopic Characterization of Toolmarks from Consecutively Manufactured Breech Faces
Miscellaneous Beddow, M. D. Howitt Micro-Serial Numbered Firing Pins: Character Durability and Micro-Mark Legibility
Miscellaneous Currie, G. E. Panacek Differences between sexual assault examinations and crime-related outcomes in homicide victims and living individuals
Miscellaneous Garces, B. E. Panacek Variation in healing Bruise Evolution among Hispanic or Latino Women between the ages of 18 and 35
Miscellaneous Humphreys, M. E. Panacek Objective comparison of methods for measuring decomposition of submerged carrion for research purposes
Miscellaneous Malik, J. E. Panacek Color Development and Evolution of Bruises in Different Ethnic Groups
Miscellaneous Marcum, J. G. Goodman Forensic interviews of children victims and jury response parameters
Miscellaneous McManus, M. B. Ravani The Influence of Terrain on the Development of Individual Characteristics on Shoe Outsoles
Miscellaneous Metichecchia, J. R. Kimsey A Review of the SLOFIST Forensic Fire Death Investigation Course
Miscellaneous Perry, A. B. Ravani Evaluation of mathematical and emperical models used in pedestrian accidents
Miscellaneous Pugh, S. D. Howitt Forensic Evidence of Electrical Arcs
Miscellaneous Qian, X. B. Ravani An Evaluation of Biomechanical parameters for Head/neck of Infants
Miscellaneous Rodriquez-Cruz, S. R. Rice Immunolocalization of TGM1-like proteins in Tilapia tissues
Miscellaneous Saifi (Pender), J. W. Ristenpart A double blind investigation of bloodstain pattern impact velocity assessment: In conjunction with verification od proposed objective criteria
Miscellaneous Siu, S. W. Ristenpart Quantitative Analysis of Medium and High Velocity Impact Bloodstain Patterns
Miscellaneous Spence, C. B. Ravani Software implementation of vehicle dynamic equations: involving cornering and backing
Miscellaneous Zimmerman, S. D. Howitt Screwdriver Toolmarks: A Statistical Analysis of the Comparison of Non-Matching Samples
Trace Evidence Baca, A. J. Thornton Determination of Unique Fracture Patterns in Glass and Glassy Polymers
Trace Evidence Chan, K. Y. Hsieh Statistical Evaluation of Torn Duct Tape Physical Matching
Trace Evidence McCabe, K. D. Land The Statistical Evaluation of Torn Duct Tape Physical Matches