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OCME Experts to Present on Current Topics in Forensic Science at the AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting

February 13, 2017

- Presentations will address fentanyl and the synthetic opioid epidemic, dental identification of missing American servicemembers from WWII, and enhanced assessment of sexual assault DNA evidence, among other topics -

New York, NY – Experts from the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) will present on current topics in forensic science at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) being held in New Orleans from February 13 to February 18, 2017. The OCME delegation of more than 20 professionals includes some 13 experts who will deliver presentations from areas including forensic toxicology, forensic dentistry, forensic biology and DNA, and forensic pathology.
OCME experts will present on research and casework during symposia, workshops, and poster sessions throughout the annual meeting. Presenters will include forensic toxicologists on fentanyl screening and the increasing prevalence of synthetic opioids, forensic dentists on the identification and repatriation of the remains of missing American servicemembers from WWII, and DNA scientists on enhancements to the assessment of sexual assault evidence, among other topics central to current practice and scholarship in the forensic sciences.

“OCME stands at the crucial intersection of public health and criminal justice, where our investigations provide answers for families and communities affected by profound loss,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson. “As part of our service to the public, we encourage our experts to pursue research and scholarship that contributes to the advancement of the forensic sciences. We are proud to share these latest developments with our colleagues at the annual AAFS scientific meeting.” 

Each February, approximately 5,000 professionals gather at the AAFS scientific meeting to present the most current information and research in forensic science. More than 1,000 scientific papers, seminars, workshops, and special sessions are presented during the meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting is, Our Future Reflects Our Past: The Evolution of Forensic Science.”

The full delegation of more than 20 experts from OCME in attendance at the meeting this year includes professionals in forensic toxicology, forensic dentistry, forensic pathology, DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, medicolegal death investigation, and mass fatality management. Presentations from some 13 OCME experts include the following: 

“The Increased Prevalence of Illicit Synthetic Opioids in Postmortem Casework at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner from January to June 2016,” Dr. Gail Cooper, Director of Forensic Toxicology;

“The Battle of Saipan: The Repatriation of American Heroes,” Dr. Roy Sonkin and Dr. Howard Glazer, Forensic Dentists;  

“Why Perform Y-Screening? Validation of a Novel Sperm Lysis Protocol to Improve Sexual Assault Triaging,” Victoria Hsieh and David Fisher, Forensic Scientists;
“Suicide by Trash Compactor,” Dr. Carolyn Kappen, Senior Medical Examiner; and Dr. Hannah Jarvis, City Medical Examiner;

“Screening for Fentanyl and Its Analogues in Postmortem Specimens Using OraSure Fentanyl Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA) Direct Kit Assay,” Evelyn Reyes, YuYuan Ye, and Imran Khan, Forensic Scientists; Reinaldo Fonseca, Assistant Director of Forensic Toxicology; and Dr. Gail Cooper, Director of Forensic Toxicology;

“Proteomic Analysis of Menstrual Blood for Forensic Identification,” Erin Butler, Forensic Scientist;

“Evaluating a Bitemark in Light of the Scientific Research Regarding Skin Distortion,” Dr. Richard Boguslaw, Forensic Dentist;

“Applications of Hair Testing in Toxicology: Legal, Technical, & Medical Challenges - Hair Testing in Neonatal, Pediatric, & Maternal Casework,” Dr. Gail Cooper, Director of Forensic Toxicology.

AAFS is a multi-disciplinary professional organization that provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system. Its 7,000 members are divided into 11 sections covering all areas of the forensic sciences. AAFS members represent all 50 United States, Canada, and 68 other countries.

Established in 1918, OCME is the first governmental agency of its type in the United States and provides expert services across the range of forensic science disciplines. OCME operates the largest public crime DNA laboratory in the world, in addition to laboratories in toxicology and histology, and the nation’s only public molecular genetics laboratory. The agency is home to the country’s largest forensic pathology training program, having trained over 100 board-certified forensic pathologists since 1990. OCME also houses a department of forensic anthropology, and maintains a division of specially trained experts prepared to respond to any and all fatality events, no matter what hazards may be encountered during recovery.

For more information, contact the OCME Public Affairs Office at (212) 447-2041.