Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series begins

September 07, 2011

A series of presentations on forensic evidence in the courtroom, drug-lab raids, cutting-edge criminal-investigation techniques, and the changing field of forensic science is part of Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series. All lectures are free and will be held on Mondays from 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. in 111 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus.

The four lectures in the 2011 Penn State Forensic Science Lecture Series include:

-- Sept. 12: "Investigating Clandestine Drug Laboratories"

James DeFrancesco, senior forensic chemist with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will give a first-hand account of the international investigation of clandestinely-produced fentanyl, its use as a replacement for heroin, and the subsequent overdose deaths of drug users nationwide.

-- Sept. 19: "Forensic Science in the Courtroom"

Dawn McQuiston, an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University, will speak about jurors' evaluation of expert evidence, the reliability of eyewitness testimony, and how fact-finders respond to forensic evidence in the courtroom.

-- Oct. 10: "The Evolution of Latent Print Development Techniques"

Robert Ramotowski, a chief research scientist with the U.S. Secret Service, will review the development of optical, physical, and chemical processing techniques that permit the visualization of fingerprint residues at crime scenes. This historical perspective will present the origin of well-known techniques and instruments that are widely used today by crime scene-investigators and laboratory technicians.

-- Oct, 24: "FBI Scientist's View on the Development of Forensic Science"

Melissa Smrz, retired FBI special agent and former deputy assistant director of the FBI Laboratory, will describe the changes in forensic science that she experienced in her 20-year journey from a DNA analyst to a senior manager in the FBI.

The Penn State 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series is sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science. For more information, contact the Forensic Science Program at 814-863-6758 or email

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015