Chris Palenik to Present Trace Evidence Workshop in Bangkok

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The Asian Forensic Sciences Network (AFSN) has invited Chris Palenik to present an “Advanced Trace Evidence Workshop” at their 8th annual meeting and symposium in Bangkok, Thailand next week. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings (17-18 August) Chris will speak to and lead scientists and experts from around Asia and the world in the AFSN Trace Evidence Working Group’s (TEWG) workshop.


Some of the more common analytical approaches to trace evidence are relatively mature, such as those for hair, fiber, paint, and glass analysis.  However, there is a great deal of additional information that can often be drawn from these and other types of trace evidence through more advanced analyses.  This workshop will provide a survey of the ways in which advanced microanalysis can be applied to the characterization and identification of colorants, soil, and nanoparticles.

Despite living in a colourful world, the dyes and pigments that are responsible for the colors that surround us represent a largely underutilized aspect of trace evidence.  The classification and identification of these colorants in fibers and paint can improve the evidentiary value of associations made by comparison but can also place constraints on the possible source of such materials.  This portion of the workshop will provide an overview of our research into the practical identification of colorants.  This will be supported by numerous case examples illustrating how these systematic approaches to the characterization of colorants have been successfully applied to practical forensic matters.

Soil evidence represents another form of trace evidence that is underutilized.  Soil is a complex matrix that contains information amidst its individual mineral, botanical, and anthropogenic components.  The information obtained from both individual components and the overall suite of components can be used to provide both comparative and investigative information.  This section of the workshop will provide an overview of our approach for isolating and identification various components in soil and the ways in which this data can be used both for comparison and geosourcing efforts.

The third portion of this workshop will focus on the ways in which the scale of trace evidence can be decreased to take advantage of smaller particles and smaller features.  Through a combination of both research and casework, the composition and engineered features of nanoparticles will be illustrated.  Because this form of evidence requires working with particles that are effectively invisible to the unaided eye, additional considerations regarding contamination, background levels, and significance must be considered.

It is hoped that attendees will leave this workshop with an expanded view of the ways in which microanalysis can be applied to new and smaller forms of trace evidence.

Day 1

Microanalysis in Trace Evidence – Part I: Colorants

  • The significance of colorants in trace evidence
  • Practical methods of colorant identification

Microanalysis in Trace Evidence – Part II: Soil

  • Approaches to forensic soil analysis

Day 2

Microanalysis in Trace Evidence – Part III: Advanced Sub-Visible and Nanoparticles

  • Everything Else: trace evidence beyond hair, fibers, paint and glass
  • Developing investigative leads from unusual particles
  • Finding, isolating, and characterizing unknown microscopic particles
  • Advanced applications of particle identification to nanoparticles and nanofeatures
  • Case Examples
  • Discussion

Symposium of Asian Forensic Sciences Network

The 8th annual meeting and symposium of AFSN will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from August 16th to 19th. The theme of this year’s conference is “Towards Forensic Standards in Asia: Integration, Unity, Collaboration.” The symposium aims to gather forensic scientists and researchers from across Asia and beyond for the sharing and exchange of technical expertise, experience, data, and standards.  The speakers for plenary and workgroup sessions will be eminent international experts from forensic science and law professions. This meeting and symposium serve as the premier international and interdisciplinary forum to exchange information to enhance scientific contributions in criminal justice investigation and administration, and to present the most recent innovations and their potential impact and practical challenges encountered, as well as other possible solutions in various fields of forensic sciences.

As we become more connected in the modern world, the boundaries of criminal justice investigation in each country are blurring. An increase in crimes across borders means that collaboration and integration across regions is more and more of a necessity. This symposium seeks to promote cross cultural dialogues that will unite the forensic science community.

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