The University of North Texas said today that the Center for Human Identification at the UNT Health Science Center recently received a $3.5 million grant from Life Technologies to train researchers in forensic DNA analysis techniques.
Under the grant, Life Tech will equip a laboratory used to process single-source DNA reference samples. The grant also provides for a faculty director and two full-time training coordinator positions to train the DNA experts. The Health Science Center will issue the advanced certificate of completion and retain the equipment for current and future DNA analysis.
UNT-HSC said that the accelerated academic certification program is the first of its kind and will train forensic scientists in areas where DNA database legislation or DNA programs are being established to process samples and populate databases worldwide for use in criminal investigations and identity verifications.
As part of the program, up to 12 students per four-week session will earn eight credit hours of accelerated learning at the UNT Health Science Center's campus in Fort Worth. The grant will help establish a hands-on, didactic operational lab with equipment, teaching faculty, and up to 20 fellowships; and will give scientists the skills required to process DNA samples in countries where DNA database programs are growing at a faster rate than their ability to hire and train analysts to process samples, UNT-HSC said.
"Establishing the Center for Forensic Excellence at the University of North Texas Health Science Center provides the international forensic community access to one of the premier forensic laboratories and teaching facilities in the world," Leonard Klevan, president of the Human Identification Business at Life Tech, said in a statement. "Life Technologies is proud to support this unique educational and training program in an effort to expand the use of forensic DNA testing on a global basis."
Life Tech's products for forensic and human identification applications include the 3500 Series Genetic Analyzer and 7500 Real-Time PCR system for human identification; the AutoMate Express forensic DNA extraction system; AmpFℓSTR PCR human identification kits; Quantifiler DNA quantification kits; PrepFiler forensic DNA extraction kits; and GeneMapper ID software.