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The Jackson Group
Department of Forensic and Investigative Science

News Archive

2015

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.


GROUP PUBLISHES RESULTS OF OUR MINIATURE MASS FILTER (FEB 2015)

filter

Postdoctoral researcher Billy Hoffmann recently published results from our chip-based Loeb-Eiber mass filter. The results appear in the February 2015 issue of  J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., which is a special focus edition on  Harsh Environment and Field-Portable Mass Spectrometry. Our Loeb-Eiber filter works at ~1 Torr and at rf voltages less than 30 Vpp.  View at Springer

JACKSON GROUP ATTEND THE 29TH ASMS SANIBEL CONFERENCE ON SECURITY AND FORENSIC APPLICATIONS OF MASS SPECTROMETRY (JAN 2015)

Undergraduate researchers  Heather Birks and  Ashley Cochran received NSF travel awards to attend the Sanibel conference in Clearwater Beach, FL. Postdoctoral researcher  Billy Hoffmannand Dr. Jackson presented research at the meeting, and Billy won a prize for best poster presentation. The meeting was co-organized by Dr. Jackson and Dr. Almirall (FIU) and attracted 150 attendees, of which more than 40 were students with travel awards. Details and photos of the event can be found at  ASMS.

jackson group


2014

GROUP PUBLISHES NOVEL APPROACH TO TANDEM MASS SPECTROMETRY (NOV 2014)

Postdoctoral researcher  Billy Hoffmann recently published our first results on Charger Transfer Dissociation (CTD), a method of tandem mass spectrometry that uses helium cations to fragment peptide cations. The results appear in the November issue of  J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom.View at Springer.

ID intelGROUP/DEPARTMENT FEATURED IN  ID INTEL MAGAZINE (FALL 2014)

Our department and group were featured in an article written by Pam Kasey in  Id Intel. The article covered the forensic science program and faculty research at WVU, and included many quotes from our faculty (starting page 69). A link to the ID Intel article can be found  here.

GROUP WELCOMES NEW STUDENTS (FALL 2014)

We’re pleased to welcome undergraduate researchers Clayton Johnson (Chemistry 2015), Ashley Cochran (FIS 2015) and Heather Birks (FIS 2015) to the group. 

NISTDR. JACKSON APPOINTED TO NIST FORENSIC OSAC CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES SUBCOMMITTEE (OCT 2014)

Dr. Jackson joins Dr. Bell and Dr. Speir in representing WVU and academicians in the new NIST Forensic Organization for Scientific Area Commmittees (OSAC). Dr. Jackson will serve on the  controlled substances subcommittee. OSAC is part of an initiative by NIST and the Department of Justice to strengthen forensic science in the United States. Click  here for more on OSACs at NIST.

fengFENG SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS DISSERTATION AND GRADUATES (SEPT 2014 & MAY 2015)

Congratulations Feng for successfully defending your dissertation titled “Development of a Portable Mass Spectrometer for Operation at 1 Torr”. Feng is now conducting research in Dr. Putluri’s metabolomics group at Baylor School of Medicine. Feng walked through graduation in May 2015.

BOBBY SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS DISSERTATION AND GRADUATES (MARCH-MAY 2014) Bobbby

Congratulations Bobby for successfully defending your dissertation titled “Structural elucidation of glycerophospholipids using metastable atom-activated dissociation mass spectrometry (MAD-MS)”.

KATERYNA PRESENTS POSTER AT AAFS MEETING IN SEATTLE (FEB 2014)

Katya presented her latest results on linking blowfly larvae, pupae and adult flies to carrion (meat) sources using isotope ratio mass spectrometry. This project is a collaboration with Forensic Entomologist Dr. Rachel Mohr, also in the Forensic & Investigative Science Program at WVU.


2013

FORENSIC RESEARCH RECOGNIZED AS FACSS INNOVATION AWARD FINALIST (OCT 2013)

Dr. Jackson’s abstract was selected from ~150 submitted abstracts for inclusion in the FACSS Innovation Award Session at SciX Conference 2014 in Milwaukee, WI. The presentation, which unfortunately did not take first place amongst the five finalists, was on “Biometrics from the Isotopic Analysis of Amino Acids in Human Hair”, the subject of our new NIJ grant.

GROUP AWARDED NIJ GRANT FOR FORENSIC RESEARCH ON HUMAN HAIR (SEPT 2013)

Our group was recently notified that our proposal titled “Biometrics from the isotope ratios of amino acids in human hair” will be funded in the amount of $283,464. The group will be analyzing hair samples from more than 150 volunteers to build classification models that can predict biometrics about human attributes and behavior. The grant will be active for two years starting in Jan 2014.

WVU PROFESSORS HELP DRAFT NSF FORENSIC SCIENCE WORKSHOP REPORT (SUMMER 2013)

Dr. Suzanne Bell (Chemistry) and Dr. Jackson attended and presented at an NSF-sponsored workshop in Dec 2012 titled “Strengthening Forensic Science through Connections with Analytical Sciences”. The conferences featured breakout sessions wherein discussions and report drafting took place. The report of the conference can be found  here, and enabled NSF to put out a “ Dear Colleague” letter in August 2013 to support Forensic-related research through traditional NSF calls.

YAN SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS DISSERTATION AND GRADUATES (MARCH-MAY 2013)

Congratulations Yan for successfully defending your dissertation titled “The Potential of Bulk and Amino-Acid Specific Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry of Human Hair in Forensic and Clinical Applications”.

DR. JACKSON FEATURED SPEAKER AT BENNETT PROGRAM (APRIL 2013)

Dr. Jackson was honored to be among the guest speakers at a  career program he had attended at WVU twelve years prior. The Bennett family has been fabulous in establishing and supporting this wonderful venue for chemistry majors to develop career ideas from external speakers who have degrees in chemistry.

SECOND PATENT ISSUED FOR JACKSON GROUP (MARCH 2013)

Our patent ( US 8,389,931) on coupling Metastable-Atom Activated Dissociation (MAD) with ion-mobility-selected precursor ions has been issued. We are continuing to develop the technique and it’s applications to assess the potential of MAD to the broader scientific community.
h4. Welcome new group members (Jan 2013)

We welcome our two newest lab members, both first year PhD students in Chemistry: Kateryna Konstantynova and Pengfei Li.

SETTLING IN (JAN 2013)

After the move and lab renovations in the fall 2012, the group is finally back in full swing. We have four mass spectrometers up and running with UPS backup.


2012

BIG MOVE TO MORGANTOWN (JULY 2012)

In July 2012, the Group moved from Ohio University to WVU. Feng, Bobby and Yan were able to make the leap to WVU, but Mengliang and Ayat stayed at OU and are now working with Dr. Harrington. We are now housed in the wonderful  Oglebay Hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, is newly-refurbished, LEED certified and all things nice (did we mention the foot-operated taps in the lab?).

 

DR. JACKSON PROVIDES EXPERT OPINION ON NANCY GRACE HLN/CNN (JUN 2011)

On the June 27th airing of Nancy Grace live, Dr. Jackson answered questions via telephone about the odors detected in Casey Anthony’s car.

BACKGROUND: The prosecution had provided evidence (via Arpad Vass) of five chemical odors identified through GC-MS that were found in the trunk of the car that were said to be indicative of human decomposition. The defense provided a witness (Ken Furton) who claimed the odors are not unique to humans. Another witness for the prosecution (Mike Sigman) testified that he could not say with confidence that the odors he detected were unique to human decomposition.


2011

YAN AN RECEIVES RICHARD EDDY SERVICE AWARD (MAY 2011)

Congratulations to Yan for receiving the Richard Eddy service award a the Departmental awards evening this spring. Yan received the award for all the work she does on the instrumentation in the forensic chemistry laboratory, and for all the training and support she provides to all the TAs and graduate students who use the instruments.

JACKSON AND HARRINGTON ACKNOWLEDGED IN SLATE.COM ARTICLE (JAN 2011)

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Harrington provided expert opinion to Brian Palmer of Slate.com (part of The Washington Post), who wrote an article on the Moscow Domodedovo airport bombing in January. A link to the article is  here.


2010

NEW MEMBERS JOIN THE GROUP (NOV 2010)

We are pleased to welcome two new graduate students, Ayat Rashaid and Mengliang Zhang, to the group. See the group page for details.

GROUP REPRESENTS NSF AT THE USA SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FESTIVAL (OCT 2010)

Dr. Jackson took two undergraduate students (Lee Greenawald and Rachael Kyper) to the first  USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC to host an exhibit titled “You Could be a Forensic Scientist!” The exhibit was co-hosted with  Prof. Facundo Fernandez of Georgia Tech. More than 100,000 people attended the huge science festival and first graders to retirees were given the opportunity to handle the miniature, portable scientific instruments at our exhibit. Theses included and XRF (thanks to Bruker), and FTIR (thanks to A2 Technologies) and a Raman instrument (thanks to Thermo).  Click here to see a related article in Compass.


Memorable highlights of our exhibit include:

1) the six year old who had to make is own ‘ray gun’ noise when he was using the hand-held X-Ray Fluorescence instrument (bzzzzzzzzzz…).
2) the second grader who spent 45 minutes at our exhibit and analyzed every sample we had (some more than once!).
3) the first-grade triplets who loved the FT-IR system: one would analyze a sample while the other two would “cook” the next sample (the samples were never quite as pure after that).
4) the woman who discovered her air-loom wedding band was almost pure gold, not a lower carat.
5) the high school kid who saw his ‘boring’ white powder give a positive result for “cocaine” on the FTIR. His excitement lasted about as long as it took him to realize that we weren’t letting him handle real cocaine, but we had him hooked for a few seconds.
5) the countless smiles and looks of awe, and fear, as kids and adults were handed a portable scientific instrument to use.

GRADUATE STUDENTS ZELAND AND CAROLYN GRADUATE (JUNE 2010)

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Congratulations to Zeland and Carolyn. We wish you all the best.

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS CHRISTINE, SAM AND MARK GRADUATE (JUNE 2010)

Congratulations to Christine Fisher, Sam Blake and Mark Barkett, and thank you for all your efforts. Christine will begin her Ph.D. with Prof. Scott McLuckey at Purdue University over the summer and Sam will be joining Prof. David Muddiman’s group at North Carolina State university to pursue her Ph.D. Mark will be starting Med School in the fall at Lake Erie COM.

CAROLYN SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS PH.D. (APRIL 2010)

Congratulations to Carolyn for successfully defending her dissertation. Carolyn is currently performing research with Dr. Birkenmeier at the University of Leipzig, Germany.

CHRISTINE RECEIVES ACS ANALYTICAL AWARD (APRIL 2010)

Congratulations to Christine for your excellent undergraduate research simulating ion manipulation in SIMION.

ARTICLE FEATURED ON THE COVER OF SPECTROCOPY (FEB 2010)

Our recent collaboration with  Dr. Harrington’s group has lead to a publication and the front cover of Spectrocopy. The first author on the paper is Andreas Baum, a visiting scholar from the University of Leipzig who worked with Dr. Harrington and our group in the spring/summer of 2009. The research describes the use of compound specific isotope ratio mass spectromety to distinguish between different origins of virgin olive oil.

ZELAND SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS PH.D. (JAN 2010)

Congratulations to Zeland for successfully defending her dissertation. Zeland is currently a research fellow with Dr. Jeffrey Supko through Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.


2009

SHANNON COOK PRESENTS AT UPPSALA CONFERENCE IN NARA, JAPAN (DEC 2009)

Shannon presented our latest results on metastable-atom activsted dissociation of peptides; our first article on this topic was recently published in  J. Mass Spectrom.

FENG JIN AND BOBBY DEIMLER JOIN THE GROUP (FALL 2009)

Feng will be working on the miniature/portable mass spectrometry project and Bobby is currently working on the stormwater runoff projects.

RESEARCH FEATURED ON LAW AND ORDER SVU (MAY 2009)

Our research on the analysis of the Margaret Shilling stain (below left) was featured in an episode of Law and Order SVU on Tuesday May 19 (Season 10, Episode 21, “Liberties”). In the show, a white ghostly stain (below right) on an indoor concrete floor is reported as being formed via a combination of bacterial decomposition and acidic treatment—almost identical to our reported findings in the  Journal of Forensic Sciences .

MEGAN WENNING RECEIVES SEA AWARD (MAY 2009)

Well done Megan for writing a successful grant proposal for the  student enhancement award. This award enabled Megan to travel to MAAFS (Maid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Sciences) conference in Baltimore, MD in May to present the results of her DNA research.


2008

ÜNIGE LASKAY GRADUATES WITH PH.D. (DEC. 2008)

Congratulations to Üni for successfully defending your dissertation. Üni currently holds a postdoctoral position in Dr. V. Wysocki’s group at U. Arizona.

YAN AN JOINS THE GROUP (FALL 2008)

Yan will be working with Derrell on the development of new, miniature, portable mass spectrometer.

LISA AND MEGAN INTERVIEWED FOR THE POST (JUNE 2008)

Lisa Lojek and Megan Wenning were quoted in an article in  The Post about their DNA project. The article was also noted by  Forensic Magazine.

DR. JACKSON RECEIVES “DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SPEAKER IN STEM” RECOGNITION (APRIL 2008)

The South-Eastern Ohio Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science honored nine OHIO faculty with the award this year. The recognition requires the recipient to present a seminar to the general public.

GC-C-IRMS EXPERIMENT IMPLEMENTED IN THE UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM. (APRIL 2008)

With Zeland’s assistance, Dr. Jackson introduces a gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) laboratory exercise into CHEM 487B (forensic chemistry laboratory). This undergraduates learned how to use this instrument to help find common sources between various cocaine samples.

CASE REPORT ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES (APRIL 2008)

This work stemmed from our involvement with the filming by the History Channel in our labs in March 2007 (see below), and was related to the analysis of suspected human remains.

ISOTOPE RATIO MASS SPECTROMETER UP AND RUNNING (MARCH 2008)

After extensive troubleshooting, Zeland Muccio successfully revives a Delta Advantage IRMS (new to our lab in the fall). Zeland will be using the GC-C-IRMS system (with real-time single quadrupole MS data), to explore some novel forensic applications.

DR. JACKSON RECEIVES NSF CAREER AWARD (JANUARY 2008)

Dr. Jackson has been awarded a $562,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for his project titled “Mass Spectrometry for the Masses.”

DR. JACKSON INTERVIEWED ABOUT THE FORENSIC CHEMISTRY PROGRAM (JANUARY 2008)

OHIOs communication and marketing department interviewed Dr. Jackson about the forensic chemistry program. A  highlight video appeared on the University’s homepage in the winter quarter of 2008.


2007

MEGAN WENNING AND LISA LOJEK RECEIVE A JOINT PURF AWARD: (OCTOBER 2007)

Congratulations Megan and Lisa for receiving $1000 to study the forensic viability of DNA in chewing gum. Click here to see an article in Outlook featuring Megan and Lisa.

JACKSON GROUP RECEIVES ODOT GRANT: (OCTOBER 2007)

As part of a collaboration with Gayle Mitchall and Guy Reifler in Civil Engineering, we have now received funding to develop vegetated biofilters as a method for stormwater management for highways. The total funding amount is $569,616.

EXPLOSIVES PROJECT FEATURED ON ONN: (AUGUST 2007)

The Jackson group’s research on faster detection methods for high explosives is featured in the Ohio News Network.  Click here to see a video of the news broadcast.

EXPLOSIVES PROJECT FEATURED IN PERSPECTIVES MAGAZINE: (MAY 2007)

The Jackson group’s research on faster detection methods for high explosives is featured in the Spring/Summer 2007 edition of Perspectives, a publication on research, scholarship and creative activity at Ohio University.  Click here to see the article.

JACKSON GROUP RECEIVES NSF GRANT: (MAY 2007)

Dr. Jackson has been awarded a grant for $228,160 for the development of “An Advanced Quadrupole Ion Trap for Proteomics”. This funding, through the Biology Division’s Instrumentation Development for Biological Research, will help develop dynamic CID (DCID) for bottom-up quantitative proteomics.

DR. JACKSON PRESENTS AT THE OXFORD ROUNDTABLE ON CRIMINAL LAW AND JUSTICE (APRIL 2007)

Dr. Jackson presented a paper titled “CSI effect on Forensic Science Degree Programs in the US” at the invitation-only meeting at Oxford University in England.

DR. JACKSON TEACHES WORKSHOPS AT FORENSIC CONFERENCE (MARCH 2007)

Dr. Jackson taught two workshops on forensic applications of mass spectrometry at the Continuing Education for Forensic Professionals Meeting in Orlando, FL. The meeting, funded by NIJ and organized by WVU’s Forensic Science Initiative, offers complementary training for current forensic professionals from across the US.

THE HISTORY CHANNEL FILMS IN THE JACKSON LABS (MARCH 2007)

A new pilot show for the History Channel called “House of the Unknown” is currently in production by a company called Evolution Film and Tape. Evolution visited our lab in March to film us collecting and analyzing a stain found on the floor of a remote wing of the Ridges. The stain was thought to have been related to a former patient of the Ridges Mental Hospital, Margaret Shilling, who was known to have died at that location. We’ll let you know when to tune in to the History Channel to see the results!

ÜNIGE LASKAY’S LATEST PAPER APPEARS ON THE FRONT COVER OF THE APRIL EDITION OF J. AMER. SOC. MASS SPECTROM. (MARCH 2007)

OLIVIER COLLIN AND CAROLYN ZIMMERMANN PRESENT PAPERS AT PITTCON ‘07 (FEB 2007)

Visit  Pittcon for more conference information.

ZELAND MUCCIO, LISA LOJEK AND MEGAN WENNING JOIN THE GROUP (JAN 2007)

Lisa and Megan will be using the departments ABI 310 CE system for DNA profiling. Zeland will be developing novel forensic applications of isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) using our new GC-IRMS.


2006

OLIVIER COLLIN WINS SCHOLARSHIP (MAY 2006)

Congratulations Olivier for winning a scholarship from “Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies” (Québécois Fund for Research on Nature and Technologies).

CAROLYN ZIMMERMANN EARNS GRANT (NOV 2006)

Congratulations to Carolyn for being awarded a grant from the Women’s Chemistry Committee to present a poster in February at  Pittcon 2007 in Chicago, IL.

CHRIS KANALAS RECEIVES PURF AWARD (NOV 2006)

Congratulations to Chris for receiving a PURF (Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fund) award. He will help to develop a mass spectrometric method for the analysis of gun shot residues.

SHANNON COOK AND CHRISTOPHER KANALAS JOIN THE GROUP (FALL 2006)

Shannon will be working on the HP 1100 HPLC for the analysis of lipids. Chris will be using the DESI-QIT Bruker system to work on gun shot residue analysis.


2005

RESEARCH NOMINATED FOR MOST VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO A VOLUME (JUNE 2005)

An  editorial in Spectrochimica Acta, Part B announced that two papers published in 2003 by Jackson and coworkers made the short-list for the highest quality articles published that year.

FORENSIC CHEMISTRY VIDEO (JAN 2005)

Horizons, a media company contracted by McGraw-Hill Publishers, visited OU to record video footage for a series of forensic chemistry videos. These videos accompany textbooks purchased by high schools throughout North America. Below are links to several related newspaper articles:

1-19-2005, The Post:  Forensic_Chem_The_Post 1-16-2005, The Messenger:  Forensic_Chem_The_Messenger 1-13-2005, Ohio University Outlook: “Forensic faculty showcased in upcoming video”