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The Jackson Group
Department of Forensic and Investigative Science

Our long-term goal is to catalyze the progress of biomedical, analytical and forensic research through the development of mass spectrometric instrumentation. We currently have several major projects under way:  

1) developing a new type of mass filter for operation at relatively high pressures (~1 Torr).
2) developing new ways of fragmenting gas-phase bio-ions using metastable atoms (MAD-MS) or kiloelectronvolt helium ions (CTD-MS).
3) developing new forensic and clinical applications of isotope ratio mass spectrometry.
4) developing other applications of forensic mass spectrometry, such as the analysis of cannabinoids, ignitable liquids and hair.

Click on the publications tab (above) to see recent publications in these different areas.

Latest News


GROUP RECEIVES NEW 3-YEAR NSF GRANT FOR $450K (AUG 2017)

The Jackson group received an NSF grant in the amount of $450K to modify two mass spectrometers to enable them to analyze gas-phase ions using a novel technique called charge transfer dissociation-mass spectrometry (CTD-MS). The project includes a collaboration and student exchanges with a research team at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Nantes, France. The tools being developed will help answer important questions about the structure and function of biological ions, especially oligosaccharides, such as the nature of enzymatic digestion of polysaccharides, the gelling properties of food-grade pectins and cell recognition pathways in living systems. The project is also providing a mechanism to educate elementary school students through organization of activity stations at local science fairs.

GROUP MEMBERS GRADUATING (MAY 2017)

Congratulations to J. Tyler Davidson and Ashley Cochran for passing their MS thesis defenses. They both excelled in the last few months and deserve a lot of credit for all the hours they’ve invested in their education. We wish you all the best in the “real world” (Ashley), and for another 3 years in the PhD program in FIS (Tyler). Thanks, also, to undergraduate researcher, Gabriel Walkup, who will be graduating with his BS in Chemistry this May.

DR. JACKSON PROMOTED TO FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY (MARCH 2017)

Dr. Jackson joined the RSC as an undergraduate student back in ~1995 and is honored to receive this most recent promotion.

DR. JACKSON DELIVERS A PRESS RELEASE ON HUMAN HAIR PROJECT AT THE ACS MEETING IN SAN FRANCISCO (APRIL 2017)

We appreciate the support of the ACS and the session organizers (Carlos Fraga and James Moran) for inviting us to participate in the excellent forensic sessions at the ACS meeting. Thanks, too, for all the news agencies for taking up our press release.

DR. JACKSON JOINS THE INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD OF ANALYTICAL AND BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY (NOV 2016)

Dr. Jackson is honored to join a prominent team at one of the leading analytical chemistry journals,  Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry . Formerly known as  Fresenius Journal of Analytical Chemistry, the traditional journal has been published by Springer since 1862.

DR. JACKSON QUOTED IN SEVERAL MEDIA OUTLETS  Chemicals (NOV/DEC 2016)

A research group at UC San Diego recently published a series of high profile manuscripts describing the chemical profiles on human surfaces, our cell phones and our environments. Dr. Jackson was asked to provide an independent opinion and some context for the work in a few different media outlets, including  Smithsonian.com and  Chemistry World, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

ashley ASHLEY AND DR. JACKSON FEATURED IN THE STATE JOURNAL AND THE INTELLIGENCER ON OUR DEPARTMENT’S STATURE AND PHD PROGRAM (NOV 2016)

The short articles ( here and  here) resulted from the academic media day, described below.

DR. JACKSON PUBLISHES SPECIAL FEATURE ON spectroscopy “ERROR TERROR IN FORENSIC SCIENCE” IN SPECTROSCOPY MAGAZINE (NOV 2016)

The invited editorial provides a subjective account about the NIST OSAC organization and the difficulties facing the development of rigorous standards in forensic science. Two major obstacles to the development of standards are the establishment of evidence-based error rates and the effective communication of the error or weight of evidence to triers of fact. The article can be found at  Spectroscopy online or  here .

cheat lake science fair FIS DEPARTMENT PARTICIPATES IN CHEAT LAKE ELEMENTARY SCIENCE FAIR (OCT 2016)

Tyler Davidson, Ashley Cochran, Korina Menking-Hoggatt served as judges in the 11th Annual Cheat Lake elementary. Members of the forensic science club also participated in judging and ran an activity station on fingerprinting.

Academic media dayDR. JACKSON PRESENTS AT WVU’S FIRST ACADEMIC MEDIA DAY (OCT 2016)

Dr. Jackson gave a presentation on the status of WVU’s  Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, and why our program is often cited as one of the best in the nation.

mayara MAYARA AND DR. JACKSON PRESENT AT FIRMS/ANZFSS CONFERENCE IN AUCKLAND, NZ (SEPT 2016)

Mayara gave a poster on the latest round of hair data for the NIJ-funded human hair project and Dr. Jackson gave an oral presentation on linking blowflies to carrion. The 2016 joint Australia New Zealand Forensic Science Symposium (ANZFSS) and Forensic Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (FIRMS) meeting served as the venue for the first Advisory Board meeting for the new journal,  Forensic Chemistry .

GLEN’S IMAGE USED IN AN ON-LINE EDUCATION education model MODULE FOR 10TH GRADE CHEMISTRY (AUGUST, 2016)

Glen’s cartoon-self guides student’s through a teaching module on “Reaction Types” at  cosmosforschools.com. Glen can’t take any credit for the educational content—which was assembled by Cosmosforschools—but the student responses above are scarily accurate :o) (click image to enlarge) 
Thank you CosmosForSchools!

MS PENGFEI’S ARTICLE FEATURED ON THE COVER OF IJMS (JUNE, 2016)

Congratulations Pengfei for his first first-author article, and for making the cover of  Int. J. Mass Spectrom

meet the experts DR. JACKSON PARTICIPATES IN “MEET THE EXPERTS” SESSION AT ASMS (JUNE, 2016)


ASMS Conference hosts a “meet the experts” luncheon each year as a way for undergraduate students to socialize with “experts” in mass spectrometry. The handful of experts rotated through 4-5 tables of undergrads and had a fun time sharing anecdotes and career advice.

forensic chemistry DR. JACKSON TO SERVE AS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF NEW FORENSIC JOURNAL (MARCH, 2016)

Elsevier is launching a new traditional journal titled  Forensic Chemistry  to meet the needs of the forensic chemistry research community. Dr. Jackson will share the responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief with  Prof. José R. Almirall of FIU. For details and manuscript submissions, please visit the  journal homepage. Manuscripts submissions open on March 15.

GROUP’S RESEARCH FEATURED IN  SCIENCE MAGAZINE (MARCH, 2016) science mag

Our recent work on chemical profiling of human hair was mentioned as a “forensic frontier” in  Science  magazine. A PDF of the article is available  here .

analytical scientistDR. JACKSON FEATURED IN  THE ANALYTICAL SCIENTIST (MARCH, 2016)

An interview with Dr. Jackson and Dr. Chris Palenik (MIcrotrace, LLC) appears in the March 2016 issue of “ The Analytical Scientist”. The interview covers various aspects of forensic science research, education and federal oversight and starts on  page 24 of the March issue . 

FIS FACULTY PARTICIPATE IN WVU LAW REVIEW SYMPOSIOUM (MARCH, 2016)

Professors Ayers, Bell, and Jackson participated as invited panelists in the  WVU Law Review Symposium in Morgantown, WV. The Symposium featured many high-profile leaders of the Innocence Project and covered various aspects of “flawed forensics”. A Youtube Video of all the presentations and panels can be found  hereDr. Bell’s presentationDr. Jackson’s presentation, and their  panel discussion can be found here.

GROUP ATTENDS SCIX 2015 IN PROVIDENCE (OCT 2015) providence

Pengfei and Heather presented posters and Billy gave an oral presentation on real-time derivatization of Cannabinoids in DART-MS/MS. Dr. Jackson didn’t present this year, but he served as Program Chair of the conference, Co-chair of the mass spectrometry section and session chair for two sessions.

GROUP’S HAIR ISOTOPE DATA CONTRIBUTES TO A NEW GLOBAL SPATIAL DATABASE (OCT 2015)

Our group’s 13C and 15N isotope data for US and Jordanian subjects has been incorporated into a collaborative publication in  Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrum. titled  Global spatial distributions of nitrogen and carbon stable isotope ratios of modern human hair. The database complements the existing global databases of 2H and 18O isotope ratios, and can be used in casework to help predict the geographic provenance or travel history of individuals.

spectropy 2015GROUP’S RESEARCH FEATURED IN  SPECTROSCOPY (SEPT 2015)

The Editors of  Spectroscopy recently spoke to us about four of our recent publications on the chemical analysis of human hair. The article on  Advancing the Forensic Analysis of Hair is available  here.

GROUP RECEIVES NEW NIH GRANT FOR ~$1.4M (MAY 2015)

Prof. Steve Valentine (PI, Chemistry) and Dr. Jackson (co-PI) have received an R01 grant in the amount of $1,376,751 from the National Institutes of Health to support a research project entitled Developing IMS-SID/MAD-MS Instrumentation for Characterizing Intrinsically Disordered Protein Structure. Dr. Valentine’s group is providing the expertise in ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) and Dr. Jackson’s group is providing expertise on metastable atom activated dissociation (MAD), as they build a tandem IMS/MS mass spectrometer to study peptides and proteins related to help advance biomedical research. The grant is funded through NIGMS.

grads GROUP MEMBERS GRADUATE (MAY 2015)

Congratulations to Ashley Cochran and Heather Birks, who both graduated with BS degrees in Forensic and Investigative Science. Congratulations to Feng Jin for receiving his PhD in Chemistry.

GROUP/DEPARTMENT FEATURED IN  WV FOCUS MAGAZINE (MAY 2015)

Our department and group were featured in an article written by Pam Kasey in  West Virginia Focus. The article covered the forensic science programs at Marshall University and WVU, and included many quotes from our faculty (starting page 49). The article can be found at wvfocus.com.


Jackson Group News Archive