The ISHI Report

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to the fall issue of the ISHI Report! We hope that many of you were able to participate in the 30th International Symposium on Human Identification that took place in Palm Springs several weeks ago.

The symposium attracted a record number of participants with more than 1,000 people registered from around the world. Highlighting changes that have occurred since the first symposium was held in 1989, conference goers explored the “ISHI Museum” which featured displays of equipment used in early DNA typing labs and photos and memorabilia from historic events in forensic science including the OJ Simpson Trial.

This issue includes features and interviews with several speakers and attendees from the just completed conference. A very talented team of students pursuing advanced degrees in forensic science acted as “ISHI Ambassadors” during the meeting. Allison, Fabiana, Mirna and Rachel will relate their takeaways from the symposium and offer their advice for students interesting in attending the meeting.

Conference attendees and forensic scientists, Catherine MacMillan and Amy Jeanguenat chaired a table topic during ISHI to discuss how vicarious trauma can impact those who work on crime scene samples. Our interview with them provides their personal perspective on this issue and suggests resources that can be helpful to the forensic community.

Careers in science are often male dominated. Forensic science may be the rare exception. Ann MacPhetridge interviews multiple women representing various positions and levels of seniority in the forensic field. Her article offers insight into how women balance work and family responsibilities while advancing their careers.

Use of genetic genealogy to solve criminal cases was a topic addressed in pre and post symposium workshops and featured in several of the general session talks. Ken Doyle explores how genetic genealogy and other advances in technology are solving cold cases.

And speaking of new technologies, Chelsea Juarez describes how isotopes can provide useful information in cases where little is known about a decedent, including their country of origin. She provides practical guidelines for what samples and isotopes will yield the most useful results.

The aforementioned are just a sample of the features you’ll find in this issue of the ISHI Report. As always, we welcome your ideas and written contributions to our publication. If you would like to share your expertise in a direct way with the forensic community, consider submitting a workshop proposal for ISHI 31. Workshop proposals are due January 10. All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee and chosen based on timeliness of topic and perceived value to the forensic community. Workshop chairs will receive support including waived registration for ISHI 31 in San Antonio.

Warm Wishes,

The Editorial Board

Submit a Workshop Proposal for ISHI 31

The ISHI Program Committee invites those interested in presenting a workshop at the 31st International Symposium on Human Identification to submit a proposal.

All workshop proposals will be reviewed by committee and selected based on perceived interest to the forensic community. Workshop proposals are due no later than January 10, 2020.

Chairs will be notified about the status of their workshop proposal by February 7, 2020.

The most successful workshops will address:

  • A topic that is timely and important for the intended audience
  • Learning objectives that are clear and appropriate
  • Format that is interactive

Workshops should present useful content without a commercial bias.