Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $256,401)
The number of forensic case submissions to the Forensic Biology Section of the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner (ACOME) has continued to steadily rise from year to year. In response, staff scientists have worked extensively to implement novel ideas and systems to streamline sample processing, improve casework turnaround time, and reduce the backlog, as well as prioritize and streamline the training process for new DNA analysts. These improvements have successfully improved the throughput of the ACOME Forensic Biology Section, however, additional resources are required to prevent a future bottleneck as efficiency continues to improve through expansion of trained staff. Through the proposed effort, the ACOME will acquire and validate or performance check a new 8 capillary genetic analyzer to expand the capacity and ensure the efficiency of the Forensic Biology Laboratory. Use of a trained graduate student to support the validation work and overtime funds for staff scientists will minimize the impact of a time-consuming validation on the backlog of the Forensic Biology Section.
The ACOME projects a 24-month project period (January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020) and a budget of $256,401 for the proposed program. Expected results from this program include improvements to laboratory quality and efficiency as well as increased sample throughput through expanded capacity for genetic analysis. A reduction in the casework backlog and the turnaround time for casework will also result from this project.