Researcher Igor Lednev, long supported by the National Institute of Justice for his development of Raman spectroscopy for forensic investigations, won the prestigious Charles Mann Award from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) at the annual SCIX conference in Covington, Kentucky. It is considered the highest award in the field of applied Raman spectroscopy.
Lednev, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), won the award for his work developing novel laser techniques for forensic and biomedical applications. His forensic research program, supported by NIJ for 14 consecutive years, developed a nondestructive optical method for the detection, identification, and analysis of body fluid stains encountered at crime scenes. The method allows investigators locate critical DNA evidence more efficiently. Lednev recently received a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Science Foundation to commercialize the technology through his startup company, SupreMEtric.
In addition to Lednev, several students working with NIJ support in his lab also won awards at the conference.
Alexis Weber, a 3rd year PhD candidate in Lednev’s lab, received the FACSS Graduate Student award and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy award for outstanding research in spectroscopy. Weber is also the chief operating officer of SupreMEtric, the startup company aiming to move the body fluid ID technology toward commercialization.
Lamyaa Almehmadi, a PhD student whose work involves surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy of body fluids, was one of three student researchers who received the Coblentz Society Student award, which recognizes outstanding young scientists working in vibrational spectroscopy. Almehmadi is working in Lednev’s lab on a full scholarship from Saudi Arabia.
Anna Wojtowicz, a 4th year PhD candidate at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, is one of two student researchers who received the Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar award for her work developing novel spectroscopic techniques for practical forensic and analytical chemistry. Wojtowicz is currently collaborating in the Lednev lab.
Luis Perez-Almodovar, a student researcher in Lednev’s lab, won the best student poster award for his poster detailing his Raman research on fish blood as a test for certain types of pollution in lakes.
“Supporting talented researchers who can apply their expertise to forensic problems is essential to NIJ,” said NIJ program manager Gregory Dutton. “It’s gratifying to see this line of research really blossom and to see Lednev and his students recognized for their work by their peers.”