Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $150,000)
Isotope Analysis of Modem Remains in Forensics: Optimizing Sample Preparation Methods for Accurate and Reliable Carbonate and Collagen Isotope Analysis Optimization of demineralization of bone for collagen isotopic analysis will have four phases: 1) initial test of accuracy of published methods, 2) verification of the efficacy of the treatment reagent, 3) objective determination of demineralization endpoint, and 4) final determination of accuracy and reproducibility using an optimized method. The organic removal of carbonate analysis will include 1) matrix-matched standard characterization, 2) verification of complete removal of organics and minimal isotopic exchange with reagents, and 3) determination of accuracy and reliability. Robust quality control is included at every stage, including development of in-house standards to be processed in parallel alongside samples to ensure successful extraction of each round of samples. These standards will include some carefully sourced bovine bones, collagen standards, and a pseudo-bone powder easily obtained by other labs. The ability to analyze standards alongside samples using methods that have been thoroughly evaluated for accuracy would increase the reliability of the analyses by ensuring data comparability across labs and making isotope analysis a more easily accessible and reliable tool for law enforcement agencies. Results will be disseminated in academic conferences, journal publications, and direct discussions with local law enforcement.
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). CA/NCF