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Student Achievements


Visit Publication & Patents to browse published research by IFRI students and faculty.


Master of Science in Forensic Science students have represented the program with oral and poster presentations at various symposia.

  • AAFS 71st Annual Meeting (2019)

    Carmen Mulet. “Comprehensive analysis of synthetic cannabinoids and metabolites in oral fluid (OF) by online solid phase extraction (SPE) and Liquid chromatography/triple quadruple/mass spectrometry LC-QqQ-MS”

    Mallory Baud. “The implementation of a method for rapid direct PCR on diluted saliva”

  • 2019 IFRI Forensic Science Symposium

    Carmen Mulet. “Comprehensive analysis of synthetic cannabinoids and metabolites in oral fluid by online SPE and LC-QqQ-MS”

    Mallory Baud. “The implementation of a method for rapid direct PCR on diluted saliva”

  • 2014 IFRI Forensic Science Symposium

    View Symposium program

    Natalie Damaso and Julian Mendel in "Bioinformatics for the classification and provenance of soil samples for intelligence and forensic applications "

    Lauren J. Colón-Crespo in *"Evaluation of Human Scent As Possible Classification Evidence

    Melissa Zwilling in "Forensic analysis and comparisons of white latex paints using LA-ICP-OES without matrix-matched standards "*

    Alison G. Simon in "Detection of the Laurel Wilt Pathogen for the Protection of Avocado Groves "

    Fanchen Bao in "Validation of Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) Profiling of Forensically Important Insects "

    Beatrice Kallifatidis in "Fluorescent Random Amplified Microsatellites (F-RAMS) Analysis of Mushrooms as a Forensic Investigative Tool "

    Beatrice Kallifatidis and Julian Mendel in "ParaDNA® Intelligence System Validation (USA) "

    Ketaki Deshpande and Natalie Leyva in "Breed designation for unknown equine case samples "

    Ana-Michelle J. Broomes in "Quantitative Analysis of Designer Drugs in Oral Fluid Using Liquid Chromatography Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry (LC/QQQ-MS) "

    Natalie Damaso in *"Novel Polymer for Bioseparations of Complex DNA Mixtures using Capillary Electrophoresis "

  • AAFS 69th Annual Meeting

    IFRI Faculty and Student Presentations at AAFS 69th Annual Meeting, February 13-18, 2017, New Orleans, LA 15 students, 4 faculty participating, 20+ presentations

    Dr. Jose Almirall Group

    Dr. Jose Almirall, Chair, Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis Scientific Area Committee (SAC), OSAC Priority Action Reports, February 14, 2017 1:00-5:00 PM (Strand 13A)

    D’Nisha D. Hamblin, Bruce A. Benner, Jr., Michele M. Schantz, William A. MacCrehan and José R. Almirall, Evaluation of a new technology for the collection of breath components in the detection of marijuana use (poster)

    Dr. Anthony DeCaprio Group

    DeCaprio, A.P., Gilliland, R.A., and Moller, C. Novel blood protein modification assay for retrospective detection of drug exposure. Invited platform presentation at NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium – Tuesday. Supported by NIJ 2015-NE-BX-K001.

    Kimble, A.N., Arroyo-Mora, L., and DeCaprio, A.P. Method validation using multiple compound mixtures for screening/confirmation of 800+ novel psychoactive substances by LC-QqQ-MS. Platform presentation – Supported by NIJ 2014-R2-CX-K006.

    Eckberg, M., Arroyo-Mora, L., Stoll, D.R., and DeCaprio, A.P. Separation of chemically similar and isobaric novel psychoactive substances using two-dimensional liquid chromatography. Poster presentation – Wednesday PM. Supported by NIJ 2014-R2-CX-K006.

    Gilliland, R.A., Moller, C., and DeCaprio, A.P. LC-MS/MS based analysis of in vitro covalent modifications of glutathione and peptide thiols by drugs of abuse. Poster presentation – Wednesday PM. Supported by NIJ 2015-NE-BX-K001.

    Dr. Kenneth Furton Group

    Vanquilla Shellman: Optimal Headspace Extraction for the Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Released from Synthetic Cathinones using Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME) for Field Application (poster presentation)

    Characterization of controlled odor mimic permeation systems (COMPS) containing live training aids for utilization by detection canines, Alison G Simon and Kenneth G Furton (oral)

    Greenhouse evaluations of volatile plant defense against an invasive agricultural and environmental biothreat agent, Rafaela lauricola, and possible implications for canine detection Alison G Simon and Kenneth G Furton (poster presentation):

    Capsule Phase Microextraction: An Ideal Sample Preparation Technique for Environmental and Biological Samples, Rodolfo Mesa (Poster):

    Utilization of Controlled Odor Mimic Devices to Improve Law Enforcement Canine Training Alice Boone (Poster):

    Dr. Bruce McCord Group

    Dr. Bruce McCord, Co-chair, (with Ira Lurie, Chair, and Chip Walls) Instrumental chromatographic separation techniques for forensic analysis: Application to the analysis of emerging drugs. Workshop, AAFS, New Orleans, February 14, 2017.

    Thaddeus Mostowtt, MFS; Chiara Deriu, MS; Jonanthan Munoz; Bruce McCord, PhD. The Evaluation of Mono-, Di-, and Trivalent Cations for the Optimized Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) Enhancement to Detect Synthetic Cannabinoids in Biological Samples”, AAFS, New Orleans, LA, February 2017 (Poster).

    Joana Antunes, MS (presenting); Vanessa Aguiar-Pulido, PhD; Kuppareddi Balamurugan, PhD; George T. Duncan, PhD; Giri Narasimhan, PhD; Bruce R. McCord, PhD, A New Approach Combining In Silico and High-Resolution Melt (HRM) Analysis to Quickly Identify New Loci for Body Fluid Identification Using DNA Methylation Melt Analysis” (oral presentation) AAFS, New Orleans, February 13-18, 2017.

    Georgiana Gibson-Daw, Bruce McCord. Ultrahigh speed PCR: a method for obtaining STR based genotypes in 8 minutes or less. AAFS, New Orleans, February 13-18, 2017. (presentation)

    Ling Wang, Bruce McCord, Gold Nanoparticle/Aptamer-Based Paper Microfluidic Devices Developed for the Detection of Cocaine, (poster) AAFS, New Orleans, February 13-18, 2017.

    Rosa Cromarte, Ashley Wardlow, George Duncan, and Bruce McCord, Rapid and reliable validation of body fluids using paper microfluidic devices. AAFS, New Orleans, February 13-18, 2017. (poster)

    Meghan Roig, Vanessa Martinez, Deepthi Nori, and Bruce McCord, A method for optimizing pressure-based extraction and direct PCR of simulated sexual assault samples. AAFS, New Orleans, February 13-18, 2017. (poster)

    Dr. DeEtta Mills Group

    Deidra Jordan, “Assessment of the F-108 Polymer and Capillary Electrophoresis Single-Strand Conformational Polymorphism to Screen Human DNA Mixtures, poster presentation, Criminalistics

    Dr. Jeffrey Wells Group

    Dr. Jeffrey Wells, invited speaker, “Statistical methods for combining multivariate and categorical data in postmortem interval estimation.” National Institute of Justice Forensic Science R&D Symposium, Tuesday, Feb, 14, New Orleans.


  • 2020 IFRI student development award

    Up to four mini-grants for FIU MSFS and PhD forensic graduate students are available to fund student research awards in the forensic sciences through the IFRI student development fund. Individual awards will be up to $2500 each (with convincing budget justification) will be awarded. Selection of awardees will be based on scientific merit and originality of the proposed project, broader impact to forensic science and/or the community, and the overall quality of the application. Applications will be reviewed and assessed by an internal review board. All applicants will be asked to give a ‘5 minute’ presentation on their proposal as part of the selection process. Consider this a ‘shark tank’ or elevator pitch to present your proposal to the committee.

    Quentin Gauthier: Development of an epigenetic panel for body fluid identification and age detection on the MiSeq RGx.

    Mirna Gehmrawi: Development of quantitative real-time assay to identify household miscellaneous biological samples using Taman technology

    Chiara Deriu: High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) for the characterization of novel functional colloidal nanomaterials for tailored application in forensic toxicology.

    Maurell Dsouza: DNA based identification of forensically important flies of the United Arab Emirates

  • 2019 Russel V. Ewald award
    Chantrell Frazier, IFRI PhD student, was awarded the Russel V. Ewald award for her commitment not only to academic excellence but also to community service, at the 35th McKnight Annual Fellows Meeting and 23rd Annual Graduate School Conference. Read more
  • 2019 NSF-Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship:
    Incoming MSFS student Christing Mba, who will start her Forensic Masters program in Fall 2019 was awarded the National Science Foundation-Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship.
  • 2019 Forensic Genetics, SISG Scholarship:
    Ph.D. student Amber MacInnis (Dr. Jeffrey D. Wells lab) was awarded a scholarship to attend the Forensic Genetics module of the Summer Institute of Statistical Genetics. (
  • 2019 FIU LAC Graduate Fellowship:
    MSFS student Amaries Suarez, was awarded an FIU Latin American and Caribbean Graduate Fellowship. The program is designed to promote international education and research between FIU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 2018 FACSS Poster Award, 2nd Place: Chantrell Frazier

    Chantrell Frazier poses with a fellow attendee at the SciX Conference

    Chantrell Frazier (pictured at left) was awarded second place by the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) for her poster presentation, "Human Scent Forensics: A Cross-Disciplinary Study Using SPME-GC/MS VOC Analyses and Next Generation DNA Sequencing," at the 2018 SciX Conference in Atlanta. Chantrell, who is pursuing a Biochemistry PhD with forensic concentration, is mentored by Kenneth Furton and DeEtta Mills.

  • 2017 FSF Emerging Forensic Scientist Award Winner: D'Nisha D. Hamblin

    FIU Alumna D'Nisha D. Hamblin, FIU MSFS was selected as a winner for the 18th Annual Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF) Emerging Scientist Award paper competition, hosted in New Orleans, LA, for her presentation entitled Evaluation of a New Technology for the Collection and Analysis of Breath Components for Marijuana Detection Using Capillary Microextraction of Volatiles (CMV).

  • Division of Student Affairs Outstanding Student Life Awards, Graduate Scholar Award, April 2018: Haixiang Yu

    The Graduate Scholar Award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership through academic achievement and/or academic research.

    Haixiang Yu is a change-maker with a breakthrough discovery in biochemical research that has yielded a U.S. patent, been featured in the Miami Herald and published in scientific journals such as Nucleic Acids Research, Applied Materials and Interface and Analytical Chemistry. Yu found a rapid, specific and ultra-sensitive fluorescent detection of small molecules such as biomarkers, toxins and controlled substances with excellent accuracy. This has resulted in a user-friendly field-test kit that costs less than $1 per kit. This discovery will revolutionize the ability to quickly detect even the smallest amount of cocaine and has the potential to save lives as the number of cocaine-induced seizures and overdoses has increased since 2014 and 2015 to the highest rates in the United States since 2007. Yu has achieved this all while maintaining an exceptional GPA, mentoring undergraduate students, training fellow graduate students and demonstrating a collaborative leadership style.

    FIU News story: Researchers Patent Quick Test for Cocaine

  • 2017 FIU Provost Award for Outstanding Paper or Manuscript (STEM): Haixiang Yu

    Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Haixiang Yu, has been awarded the prestigious FIU Provost Award for Outstanding Paper or Manuscript (STEM) for his paper on applied forensic chemistry entitled "A cooperative-binding split aptamer assay for rapid, specific and ultra-sensitive fluorescence detection of cocaine in saliva."

    The Provost Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, March 31, 2017.

    Citation: Yu H.X., Canoura J., Guntupalli B., Lou X.H. & Xiao Y.* (2017) A cooperative-binding split aptamer assay for rapid, specific and ultra-sensitive fluorescence detection of cocaine in saliva. Chem. Sci., 8, 131 – 141. (IF: 9.*144).