Research and Development Laboratory
Laboratory Faculty & Staff
Bruce Budowle, Professor
Dr. Bruce Budowle received a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1979 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From 1979-1982, Dr. Budowle was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working under a National Cancer Institute fellowship, he carried out research predominately on genetic risk factors for diseases such as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, melanoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
From 1983-2009, Dr. Budowle worked at the FBI Laboratory Division to carry out research, development, and validation of methods for forensic biological analyses. Dr. Budowle has contributed to the fundamental sciences as they apply to forensics in analytical development, population genetics, statistical interpretation of evidence, and in quality assurance. Some of his technical efforts have been: 1) development of analytical assays for typing a myriad of protein genetic marker systems, 2) designing electrophoretic instrumentation, 3) developing molecular biology analytical systems to include RFLP typing of VNTR loci and PCR-based SNP assays, VNTR and STR assays, and direct sequencing methods for mitochondrial DNA, and 4) new technologies; and 5) designing image analysis systems. Dr. Budowle has worked on laying some of the foundations for the current statistical analyses in forensic biology and defining the parameters of relevant population groups. He has published more than 490 articles, made more than 580 presentations (many of which were as an invited speaker at national and international meetings), and testified in well over 250 criminal cases in the areas of molecular biology, population genetics, statistics, quality assurance, and forensic biology. In addition, he has authored or co-authored books on molecular biology techniques, electrophoresis, protein detection, and microbial forensics. Dr. Budowle has been directly involved in developing quality assurance (QA) standards for the forensic DNA field. He has been a chair and member of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Methods, Chair of the DNA Commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and a member of the DNA Advisory Board. He was one of the original architects of the CODIS National DNA database, which maintains DNA profiles from convicted felons, from evidence in unsolved cases, and from missing persons.
Dr. Budowle’s efforts over the past decade also have focused on counter terrorism specifically efforts involving microbial forensics and bioterrorism. Dr. Budowle was involved directly in the scientific aspects of the anthrax letters investigation and has been one of the architects of the field of microbial forensics. He has been the chair of the Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genetics and Forensics (hosted by the FBI), whose mission was to set QA guidelines, develop criteria for biologic and user databases, set criteria for a National Repository, and develop forensic genomic applications. He currently serves on other government working groups related to microbial forensics. He also has served on the Steering Committees or been a co-organizer for the Colloquia on Microbial Forensics sponsored by American Society of Microbiology, Microbial Forensics Meetings, hosted by DHS, held at The Banbury Center in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and a meeting on Microbial Evolution and Cutting Edge Tools for Outbreak Investigations, hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has published a number of articles (see below) on microbial forensics on topics such as attribution, quality assurance, population genetics, next generation sequencing technology, and sample collection. His current efforts at UNTHSC continue to focus on the areas of human forensic identification, microbial forensics, and emerging infectious disease.
Jianye Ge, Assistant Professor
Dr. Jianye Ge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forensics and Investigative Genetics at University of North Texas Health Science Center. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in computer science from Nankai University, China, and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Cincinnati in 2009. His research relates primarily to forensic genetics, bioinformatics, and data mining, such as developing algorithms and interpretation guidelines for forensic genetics applications. He has published about 30 peer-reviewed papers (most in the top journals in relevant fields) and several book chapters. He has been invited as editorial board members of two scientific journals. The software programs he developed have been used by multiple Federal and State government agencies. He regularly gives lectures and invited talks in conferences and training workshops to graduate students, colleagues, and professionals. His current research projects include DNA based familial searching, Low Copy Number DNA evidence interpretation, lineage markers (Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA), human facial phenotype inferences, etc.
Jonathan King, Laboratory Manager
Jonathan King is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Texas long enough to be considered a naturalized Texan. He received his MS from Tarleton State University in 2009 with a research focus in capturing novel polymorphic Indels from agricultural pathogens. He has been the laboratory manager for the research and development lab since March 2011. Jonathan’s current research projects include DNA repair, small amplicon markers, mitochondrial sequencing, novel DNA extraction techniques, and molecular medicine, just to name a few. When he is not working, Jonathan enjoys photography and the culinary arts.
Bobby LaRue, Research Assistant Professor
Bobby LaRue earned his PhD at the University of North Texas in 2010. His dissertation focused on the stress experienced by metazoans in low oxygen environments and the cell signaling pathways used to ameliorate the damage caused by these conditions. In 2010 he was awarded an Intelligence Community postdoctoral fellowship. His current research interests include small amplicon markers for human and tissue identification including SNPs, small INDELs, LINEs and SINEs, and methylation patterns. His ultimate goal is to be able to improve typing of degraded and low quantity samples. When not in the lab, Bobby enjoys spending time with his family and being outside.
Angie Ambers, Forensic Technologist
Although originally from Tennessee, Angie has lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for over 15 years. She has a Master's degree in Forensic Genetics from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and another Master's in Criminology from U.T. Arlington. Her thesis research involved developing and optimizing a DNA-based multiplex screening tool for the separation of fragmented & commingled skeletal remains. Since 2005, Angie has been an adjunct instructor on the Denton campus (teaching Genetics, Heredity, and Human Anatomy & Physiology); and in 2008 she developed the curriculum for a course in Forensic Molecular Biology, in which she teaches DNA analysis/methodology to undergraduate students enrolled in the FEPAC-accredited forensic science certificate program. She was also lead DNA analyst & lab manager of UNT Denton's DNA Sequencing Core Facility for two years, and during that time had the opportunity to work on various ancient DNA projects involving archeological specimens from Greenland. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, her research focuses on the repair of degraded DNA in skeletal remains and environmentally-damaged bloodstains. During her free time, Angie enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her miniature dachshunds.
Pamela Marshall, Ph.D. Student
Pam Marshall has been involved in the field of forensic analysis since 2002. Upon the completion of her Master’s degree in Forensic Genetics in 2002, she worked as a Forensic Scientist III at the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division from 2003-2007. While in Maryland, Pam became an expert on sexual assault kit examination and collection practices. Pam was the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Coordinator for the state, helped to promote 120-hour SAFE collection legislation, and assisted in the training of over 200 SAFE nurses. She has extensive teaching experience and has taught graduate-level coursework in the forensic disciplines of serology, DNA, and microscopy. Pam has also worked as a Forensic Biologist at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science, located in Dallas, Texas. She has been qualified as an expert witness in the field of serology in Maryland and Texas. She has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists, an Associate Member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, and is a current Associate Member of the American Academy of Forensic Science. She holds an additional Master’s degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, TX, in Biochemistry and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Forensic and Investigative Genetics, under the guidance of major professor, Dr. Bruce Budowle. Her research interests include low copy number DNA, pressure cycling technology, and PCR enhancement.
Carey Davis, Ph.D. Student
Carey Davis is a PhD student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. She completed her B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Virginia while working in the pathology department laboratory headed by Dr. Dennis Templeton. She then continued to Virginia Commonwealth University and received her M.S. in Forensic Science while working under the direction of Dr. Tracey Dawson Cruz on low copy number analysis. Since her arrival to UNTHSC, she has worked on many projects including: low copy number techniques, Y-STR development, and STR variant analysis. Her main research focuses on molecular autopsy and employing next generation sequencing techniques to the world of forensics. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, traveling, and working as a volunteer firefighter.
Sarah Schmedes, Ph.D. Student
Sarah is a native Texan and is originally from Austin, TX. She graduated in 2007 from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Microbiology. She then moved to Albany, NY and graduated with a Master of Science in Forensic Biology from SUNY Albany in 2009. While pursuing her master’s degree, Sarah completed an internship at the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON under the direction of Dr. Hendrik Poinar. Sarah’s research focused on isolating and identifying Yersinia pestis as the causative agent from 14th-century Black Death Victims. The project resulted in a publication which was featured on the cover of Nature in October 2011. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Sarah became employed at the Institute of Applied Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth, TX and worked on various research projects. In August 2011, Sarah joined the Forensic Genetics PhD program in the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics at UNTHSC. Sarah intends to focus her PhD research in the microbial forensics field towards applications for human identification and biodefense attribution purposes, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Budowle. In her free time Sarah enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing a good board game.
David Warshauer, Ph.D. Student
David Warshauer is a Ph.D. student from Lubbock, Texas. Though he was born in the United States, he spent the majority of his youth in Saudi Arabia. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Lubbock Christian University, where he earned the Dean's Award for most outstanding academic performance in the College of Professional Studies. David also holds a Master of Science Degree in Forensic & Investigative Genetics from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. He is presently performing a validation of mitochondrial DNA analysis using the PLEX-IDTM mass spectrometry instrument, as well as investigating the transfer of saliva-based DNA. In the near future, he plans to examine phenotypic single nucleotide polymorphisms for forensic purposes. David currently lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Cortney, and their two miniature dachshunds.
Seung Bum Seo, Visiting Scholar
Dr. Seung Bum Seo is a visiting fellow since November, 2011 in our department. He received Ph.D. in forensic genetics from Seoul National University in Korea. A current interest field for him is development of forensic-typing techniques for challenged samples and microbial forensics for tracking sources of biological materials related to crime and threats of public health.
Bin Li, Visiting Scholar
Mrs. Bin Li is the Director of the DNA Lab of Fujian Provincial Police Department, China.
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