Department of Biology
Life Sciences Building
53 Campus Drive
Morgantown, WV 26506-6040
Phone: (304) 293-5245
Molecular Genetics, Developmental Biology, Gene Expression, Forensic Biology
Research in my laboratory encompasses genetics, developmental biology, and forensic science. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, we are investigating questions about chromatin structure and gene regulation and the processes whereby cells assume their proper fate. Much of this effort is in collaboration with fellow Department of Biology faculty member Dr. Ashok Bidwai.
Recently, much of my focus has shifted to questions in forensic science. We have developed new techniques to estimate the age of biological samples. Developments in DNA technology allow for the identification of individuals using DNA extracted from blood, saliva, or even fingerprints. Our technique will allow an estimate of time when the biological material was deposited and may temporally establish crime scenes. Our technique compares the rate of decay of two different RNAs over time using Real-time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). This approach is similar to that used in Carbon-14 dating in archeology where the ratio of radioactive Carbon-14 to non-radioactive Carbon is used to estimate the age of much older items. This method will provide a new tool to the forensic community to more accurately assess collected evidence.