Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $200,000)
The DuPage County Forensic Science Center (DCFSC) is a full-service forensic science
laboratory that analyzes evidence items from over 40 law enforcement agencies within DuPage County, Illinois. The DNA Section is an NDIS-participating laboratory and offers DNA analysis utilizing STRs and Y-STRs.
Funds in the amount of $200,000 are requested to fund overtime and support staff,
provide supplies needed for additional casework, and fund continuing education. In addition, a consultant will be hired to conduct a validation project that will combine the internal validation of a mega-plex amplification kit, along with validation of new model thermalcyclers. Using data from this validation, laboratory analysts will validate a fully continuous DNA interpretation software package, STRmix.
These objectives will enable the laboratory to increase capacity, decrease turnaround
times and maintain a low backlog. Overtime will be used specifically during periods of
increased submissions, when it is necessary to prevent a backlog. A quality control contractor will impact capacity and turnaround time by allowing the analysts to focus on cases. The capacity of the laboratory will be increased by purchasing supplies that otherwise might not be
possible to purchase, decreasing bottlenecks that occur while waiting for funds for supplies to become available. Continuing education will improve the analysts' scientific expertise and enable the laboratory to comply with QAS requirements. The validation of a new mega-plex
amplification kit will be mandatory for continued NDIS participation. Incorporating the verification of the thermalcyclers and interpretation using STRmix into the validation of the mega-plex kit will be an efficient way to validate all three components. Furthermore, the use of
an outside contractor to conduct the majority of the validation will allow the analysts to continue to focus on casework so that the backlog will not grow during the validation project. The use of the mega-plex kit and interpretation with STRmix will result in a larger number of DNA profiles
eligible for NDIS and quicker turnaround time because of the decreased cycling time of the new kit and increased efficiency of STRmix interpretation. The validation project will address bottlenecks in the current system by reducing the time it takes to deconvolute mixtures and in
turn, to review those interpretations.
Together, these objectives will allow the laboratory to work toward the goal of increasing capacity and reducing the forensic casework turn-around time so that the backlog can, in turn, be reduced or eliminated.