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Raman spectroscopy for analyzing body fluid traces: Universal method development

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $681,275)

As submitted by the proposer:

The proposed study is a continuation of an ongoing research project ultimately targeting the development of an easy-to-use, portable Raman spectroscopic instrument for the rapid, nondestructive, and confirmatory identification of body fluid traces recovered at crime scenes.

This new methodology will allow crime scene investigators to identify all major body fluids using one instrument and retrieve information about the donor, which could potentially include sex, race, and age. The objectives for this particular project will bring the researchers' method closer to a universal method that will work regardless of substrate and donor variation, and be a black box type instrument.

The six objectives the researchers will focus on are (i) determine if disease state fluids affect our current method of body fluid differentiation, (ii) determine if time since deposition of menstrual blood can be determined as well as if there is a time point after which peripheral and menstrual blood can’t be differentiated, (iii) use a statistical method based on multivariate curve resolution (MCR) to deal with body fluid stains on interfering substrates, (iv) verify the self-reported sex of some of our donors with PCR, (v) create a hierarchical model in the move towards a black box instrument, (vi) add urine to the list of body fluids that we can differentiate with our current method.

The researchers will be advised by Director Ray A. Wickenheiser and his colleagues at the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center throughout the proposed project, providing valuable insight into what is important for practitioners. In addition, Dr. Michael Sikirca of Forensic Medical Services will be helping to obtain some disease state fluids and Allison Eastman of Forensic DNA Consulting, LLC will advise on adapting DNA protocols for sex typing.

Body fluid samples will be purchased from a biological supplier to represent a genetically diverse donor population. Samples will be measured using a Raman microspectrometer, and the spectra will be analyzed using advanced chemometrics and statistical modeling. Regression and classification models will be built using calibration datasets, and then tested with external validation datasets.

The work will be carried out over three years at the University at Albany, State University of New York, in Albany, New York. All results from the proposed work will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals, submitted in semi-annual and final progress reports, and presented at professional conferences.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 29, 2017