The ISHI Report

Letter from the Editor

What a difference a couple of months make. In February we were lamenting the cold weather and this month we are dealing with the ugly impact of COVID-19 on every facet of our lives! We are proud to share that Promega has been actively assisting in fighting the outbreak through our manufacturing of reagents and supplies being used to support 26 different COVID-19 diagnostic kits worldwide. Since the beginning of the epidemic in January, Promega has provided enough amplification reagents and enzymes to enable testing an estimated 52.5 million samples for SARS-CoV-2 worldwide.

You may be wondering what the plan is for holding this year’s 31st International Symposium on Human Identification. The short answer is that at the time of publication we are still monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic to assess the feasibility of holding a physical conference. The health and safety of our ISHI attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority and we will look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance.

Risk-free registration for the in-person event is being offered to all attendees, with the option to receive a full refund for cancellations made up to the date of the conference. You can also reserve a place at ISHI and defer payment until a later date. In the event that ISHI can’t be safely held in person, we are exploring the possibility of holding the event in a virtual format for a reduced rate. If this happens, general session talks will be recorded and available on demand. A selection of workshops will also be available.

We know that your lives and work are also being impacted by the virus. It’s our hope that this latest ISHI Report will provide you with a welcome diversion as it explores current topics in forensic science and introduces forensic professionals who are influential in the field.

We were thrilled to Zoom with CeCe Moore and Paul Fronczak, our keynote speakers for this year’s ISHI to talk about Paul’s story and the role that genetic genealogy played in resolving the mystery of his identity. Be sure to check out the interview to get a sneak peek into their keynote address and to learn more about CeCe’s new television show!

Our colleague Ken Doyle documents several very cold cases solved through the work of the DNA Doe Project, including a century old mystery. Karra Porter, co-founder of the Idaho Cold Case Coalition describes how she came to organize the group and provides details on how individuals can contribute to its success.

Ronaldo Carneiro da Silva Junior, who will be leading this year’s Grupo Cientifico Latino-Americano de Trabajo Sobre Identificacion Humana (GCLAITH) provides an update on forensic practices in the region and invites interested parties to submit abstracts for this year’s GCLAITH workshop.

We also interviewed Michael Coble and Jo Bright who will be co-chairing a workshop on presenting probabilistic genotyping data in court at ISHI. They elaborate on the advantages that probabilistic genotyping can offer and provide practical advice for adopting this technology. If you are interested in learning more, consider registering for their workshop.

Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria shares details on The Innocence Project Philippines Network, Inc. (IPPN)’s efforts to free wrongfully convicted persons in the Philippines. She discusses the numerous challenges the dedicated team from law schools, scientific and academic laboratories and non-governmental organizations have experienced since its inception, as well as their plans for the future.

On the lighter side, we feature an interview with Walther Parson in which he describes how he became involved in forensic science. His path to the lab might surprise you. Walther will be presenting at the upcoming ISHI on Otzi the “Ice Man” and his modern-day relatives.

Don’t forget to visit the conference website for updates on ISHI including details on submitting abstracts for oral presentation, workshop offerings and more.

We hope you enjoy the May issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and written contributions to our publication.

Stay well,

The Editorial Board

Rock Your Favorite ISHI Tee for a Good Cause!

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Even though we may not be able to come together in the same location right now, we can still come together virtually. Let's unite as one ISHI community and support those in our field and our neighborhoods.

Learn more on Page 15!

Submit an Abstract for ISHI 31

Would you like to share your work at ISHI?

We are now accepting abstracts for oral, interesting case, and poster presentation.

Abstracts will be considered for oral presentation on topics related to advances in the DNA typing process, policy updates and interesting case studies.

All proposals will be reviewed by an outside committee of forensic experts and selected based on perceived interest to the forensic community.  Abstract proposals should be non-commercial and focused on educating forensic scientists on topics that will improve their technical, legal or policy knowledge.

Abstracts must be received by June 5 to be considered for oral or interesting case presentation and by July 5 for poster presentation.