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The Jackson Group
Department of Forensic and Investigative Science


Principal Investigator/Faculty Member


Ming Hsieh (Shay) Distinguished Professor

Dept. of Forensic & Investigative Science & C. Eugene Bennett Dept. of Chemistry

Current funding: NIJ 15NIJ-21-GG-04179-COAP

Recent funding: NIJ 2018-75-CX-0033, NIJ 2018-DU-BX-0225, NSF CHE 1710376 & NIH R01GM114494 NIJ logo NSF logo NIH & NIGMS logos

Hometown: Coventry, England, United Kingdom

PhD Analytical Chemistry, West Virginia University, 2002
MS Analytical Chemistry, Ohio University, 1998
BSc (Hons) Chemical and Analytical Science, University of Wales Swansea, 1998

Graduate Students

Alexandra Adeoye 2022 ALEXANDRA ADEOYE

2nd year graduate student (PhD FIS, Jan 2022-present)
Development of EASI algorithm for MS identification of drugs.

Funded by NIJ 15NIJ-21-GG-04179-COAP
NIJ logo

Hometown: Port Harcourt, Nigeria

BS Biochemistry, Harding University, 2018
MS Forensic and Investigative Science, West Virginia University, 2021

Erica Maney 2022 ERICA MANEY

4th year graduate student (PhD FIS, Aug 2020-present)
Forensic applications of GC-C-IRMS.

Funded by a University Provost's Fellowship.

Hometown: Myerstown, PA

BA Biochemistry, Duquesne University, 2019
MS Forensic Science and Law, Duquesne University, 2020

Emily Ruiz 2022 EMILY RUIZ

3rd year graduate student (PhD Chemistry, Aug 2021-present)
Development of CTD-MS.

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

BS Chemistry, Thomas More University, 2021

Madeline Schuch 2022 MADELINE SCHUCH

3rd year graduate student (PhD Chemistry, Aug 2021-present)
Development of CTD-MS.

Hometown: Frederick, MD

BS Chemistry, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2021

Courtney LaPointe 2022 COURTNEY LAPOINTE

2nd year graduate student (PhD Chemistry, Aug 2022-present)
Development of CTD-MS.

Hometown: Hendersonville, TN

BS Applied Chemistry, Tennessee Tech University, 2022
Minors in Biology and English

Hannah McMillan 2022 HANNAH MCMILLEN

2nd year graduate student (MS FIS, Aug 2022-present)
Development of a model to simulate the evaporation of ignitable liquids.

Hometown: Charles County, MD

BS Forensic Chemistry, West Virginia University, 2022
Minor: Criminology

Chaney Ganninger 2022 CHANEY GANNINGER

1st year graduate student (MS FIS, Aug 2023-present)

Interpretation of data from fire debris analysis

Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

BS Forensic Chemistry, West Virginia University, 2023

Minor: Criminology

Undergraduate Students


Undergraduate Researcher in Forensic Chemistry (Aug 2021-present)
Development of EASI algorithm for MS identification of drugs.

Hometown: North Attleboro, MA

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Statistics

Sarah Mosinski 2022 SARAH MOSINSKI

Undergraduate Researcher in Forensic Chemistry (Fall 2022-present)

Forensic applications of GC-C-IRMS

Hometown: Mequon, WI

Major: Forensic Chemistry

Minors: Addiction Studies, Psychology

McKenna Oaks2022 MCKENNA OAKS

Undergraduate Researcher in Forensic Chemistry (Fall 2022-present)

Interpreting mass spectra of novel psychoactive substances (NPS)

Hometown: Independence, KY

Major: Forensic Chemistry

Previous Members


Dr. William (Billy) D. Hoffmann

Billy was an Assistant Professor at Texas State University.


Max Denn (MS FIS, Aug 2021-Aug 2023)

Max is employed at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) in Willow Grove, PA.

Christopher Poulos (MS FIS, Aug 2021-Aug 2023)

Chris is now on a fellowship at the FDA Forensic Chemistry Center in Cincinnati, OH.

Isabel Galvez Valencia (MS FIS, Jan 2021-Aug 2023)

Alia Hacker (Sept 2019-Dec 2022)

Dr. Balapuwaduge Praneeth "Mario" Mendis (PhD Chemistry, Sept 2016-Dec 2021)

Mario is currently an R&D scientist at Viatris Inc., Morgantown, WV.
Mario won the 2020 C. Eugene Bennett Fellowship from the C. Eugene Department of Chemistry at WVU.

Dr. Halle M. Edwards (PhD Chemistry, Sept 2016-Dec 2021)

Halle is currently an R&D scientist at Viatris Inc., Morgantown, WV.

Dr. Zachary J. Sasiene (PhD Chemistry, Sept 2016-May 2021)

Zach is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Zach won the 2020 John R. Conard Fellowship for research, scholarship, and service in the WVU C. Eugene Bennett Chemistry

Dr. J. Tyler Davidson (MS FIS, Sept 2015-May 2017; PhD Forensic Science, Jun 2017-May 2020)

Tyler is currently an Assistant Professor of Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.
During his PhD studies, Tyler received the 2019-20 Forensic Science Foundation (FSF) Emerging Forensic Scientist Award and a WVU Foundation Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship.

Caitlyn Wensel (MS FIS, Aug 2018-May 2020)

Caitlyn is currently working as a Forensic Scientist in the Chemistry Division of the Nebraska State Patrol Laboratory in Lincoln, NE.

Thomas M. Hakey (Chemistry Jun 2018-July 2019)

Dr. Mayara P. V. de Matos (PhD Biology, Aug 2014-May 2019)

Mayara is currently pursuing a postdoctoral appointment at the FDA in College Park, MD.

Taylor Krivenki (Sept 2014-Jun 2018)

Korina Menking-Hoggatt (MS FIS, Sept 2015-Dec 2017)

Korina is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in FIS with Prof. Trejos at WVU.

Ashley Cochran (MS FIS, Sept 2015-May 2017)

Ashley is currently working as a Crime Scene Investigator at Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification. Before that, she was a forensic scientist at RTI in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Pengfei Li (PhD Chemistry, Sept 2012-May 2017)

Pengfei worked at a Mass Spectrometrist in the School of Chemical Sciences at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, IL before returning to China.

Dr. Feng Jin (PhD Chemistry, Sept 2009-Dec 2014)

Feng is currently a Scientist in the Metabolomics Core at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston,TX.

Kateryna I. Konstantynova (Sept 2012-Aug 2014)

Katya earned an MS degree at U. Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Dr. Robert (Bobby) E. Deimler (PhD Chemistry, WVU, Sept 2009-May 2014)

Bobby is a quality control chemist at PremierTox.

Dr. Yan An (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2008-May 2013)

Yan works as a research scientist at Baxter, a global healthcare and pharmaceutical supplier.

Dr. Mengliang Zhang (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2010-Nov 2014)

Mengliang is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Ayat Bani-Rashaid (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2010-July 2014)

Ayat completed two years of research with Dr. Jackson on clinical and forensic biomarkers in human hair. Ayat joined Dr. Harrington’s group in the fall of 2012 when the group moved to WVU. She is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan.

Dr. Shannon L. Cook (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2006-April 2011)

Shannon worked for several years as an LCMS senior product specialist with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc.

Dr. Carolyn M. Friedrich (nee Zimmermann) (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2005-April 2010)

Carolyn is a partner and lab director for a medical marijuana lab in Streetsboro Ohio. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher the Department of Proteomics at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in the Leipzig, Germany.

Dr. Zeland Schwartz (nee Muccio) (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2006-Jan 2010)

Zeland was a Forensic Strategic Business Manager at NMS Labs. Before that, she was a research fellow with Prof. Jeffrey Supko at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and an isotope ratio sales specialist at Elementar.

Derrell L. Hood (MS Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2007-Aug 2009)

Derrell currently serves in the US Air Force.

Dr. Ünige A. Laskay (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2004-Dec 2008)

Ünige is an analytical chemist at SICPA in Switzerland, which specializes in secured identification, traceability and authentication solutions using inks and dyes. Before this, she was a postdoctoral researcher with Yury Tsybin at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Before that, Üni spent two years as a postdoc with Dr. V. Wysocki at U. Arizona.

Dr. Olivier L. Collin (PhD Chemistry, Ohio U, Sept 2004-Dec 2007)

Olivier is currently an LC/MS field service engineer with Thermo Fisher Scientific in Canada.


Yifan Huang and Wenjing Peng

Visiting Researchers (Prof. Mechref's group), Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, Jul 2019

Lauren Pepi & Prof. Jon Amster

Visiting Researchers, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, Nov 2018.

Dr. David Ropartz & Dr. Hélène Rogniaux

Visiting Researchers, INRA, France, Oct-Nov 2018

Dr. Zilin Fan

Visiting Scientist, Tianjin Fire Research Institute of MPS, China, Mar-Dec 2018

Dr. David Ropartz

Visiting Scientist, INRA, France, Aug 2016

Iris Kreft

Visiting Scholar, U Avans, Sept 2015-Feb 2016

Madlen Sander

Visiting Scholar, U of Leipzig, Apr-Jun 2012

Claudia Wöckel

Visiting Scholar, U of Leipzig, Apr-June 2009

Matthias Beier

Visiting Scholar, U of Leipzig, Apr-Jul 2006

Claudia Niegel

(visiting scholar, U of Leipzig, Apr-Jul 2005


(Parentheses show undergraduates research dates)

Chaney Ganninger

Undergraduate researcher (May 2022-May 2023)

Clarissa McQuain

Undergraduate researcher (REU) (Summer 2022)

Jessica Orris

Undergraduate researcher (REU) (Summer 2022)

Ahna Kotula (BS FIS Examiner, May 2022)

Undergraduate researcher (Fall 2019-Spring 2022)
Winner of the 2021 George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship and the 2021 Johnson-Whyte Memorial Foundation Scholarship from the Chesapeake Bay Division of the International Association for Identification (CDB-IAI). Ahna is currently a CSI in Prince George's County, MD.

Jacob King

Undergraduate researcher (REU) (Summer 2021)

Evan Ferweda (BS FIS Chemistry, May 2021)

Undergraduate Researcher (Sept 2019-May 2021)

Samantha Mehnert (BS FIS Chemistry, May 2020)

Undergraduate Researcher (SURE) (Summer 2017-May 2020)

Winner of the 2019 George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship from the CBD-IAI, the 2019 ACS Analytical Chemistry Award (to an outstanding Junior), the 2019 EAS Student Research Award and a 2020 "WVU Outstanding Graduate."

Isaac Willis (BS Chemistry & BS FIS, May 2019)

Undergraduate Researcher (June 2017-May 2019). Isaac is pursuing his PhD in Chemistry at Michigan State University. Isaac received the 2018 ACS Analytical Chemistry Award (to an outstanding Junior).

Sarah Chaffman (BS Chemistry, May 2019)

Undergraduate Researcher (June 2016-May 2019)

Brandon Lowe

Undergraduate researcher (REU) (summer 2018)

Emily Gleco

Undergraduate Researcher (REU) (Summer 2017)

Gabriel Walkup (BS Chemistry May 2017)

Undergraduate Researcher (June 2016-May 2017)

Tyler Williams (BS Chemistry May 2016)

Undergraduate Researcher (June 2015-May 2016)

Tyler is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at Clemson University with Prof. Ken Marcus.

Sierra Stinson

Undergraduate Researcher (REU) (Summer 2016)

Olivia Dodd (BS FIS May 2016)

Undergraduate Researcher (Sept 2015-May 2016)

Heather Birks (BS FIS May 2015)

Undergraduate Researcher (Sept 2014-May 2015)

Heather completed an MS in Forensic Science at VCU.

Ashley Cochran (BS FIS May 2015, MS FIS May 2017)

Undergraduate Researcher (Sept 2014-May 2015)

MS Researcher (Sept 2015-May 2017). Ashley worked as a forensic scientist at RTI in Raleigh, NC before becoming a Crime Scene Investigator with the Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification.

Clayton Johnson (BS Jan 2014-Dec 2014)

Clayton will be pursuing a Ph.D. at Notre Dame U. starting 2015.

Ashley March (BS Mar 2010-May 2011)

Ashley is a forensic scientist in Indiana.

Daniel Cobau (BS Jun 2009-May 2011)

Dan is currently pursuing his DO in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University.

Christine Fisher (BS Jun 2008-May 2010)

Christine completed her Ph.D. at Purdue University under the supervision of Prof. Scott McLuckey before joining the FDA, where she is now a staff fellow.

Samantha Blake (BS Sep 2009-May 2010)

Sam completed her M.S. in chemistry at North Carolina State University and is pursuing her State Agent training in North Carolina.

Mark Barkett (BS Sep 2009-May 2010)

Mark works in the analytical labs at Dover Chemical Company in Ohio.

Megan Wenning (BS Jan 2007-May 2009)

Megan is currently working in the DNA section of BCII (Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification), Columbus, OH.

Lisa Lojek (BS Jan 2007-May 2009)

Christopher Kanalas (BS Sept 2006-May 2008)

Jen Hyland (BS Sept 2004-May 2006)

Jen obtained her MS in chemistry from U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2008 and now works for a small R&D company in IL.

Kate DeRhodes (BS Sept 2004-May 2006)

Brad Nichol (BS Jan-March 2006)

Aaron Jarrel (BS Jan-March 2006)

Aaron worked for Metler-Toledo before joining Metrohm.