Rapid DNA Center of Excellence celebrates one year

Rapid DNA Center for Excellence ribbon cutting

Since opening its doors at the National Forensic Science Technology Center at Florida International University (NFSTC@FIU) last November, the Thermo Fisher Rapid DNA Center of Excellence hasn’t slowed down, even when faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The center is one of the few training locations for professionals to get their hands on, even virtually, this lab-in-a-box technology. The Applied Biosystems™ RapidHIT™ ID can provide a DNA profile in as little as 90 minutes, generating investigative leads, identifying suspects, decreasing lab workload and saving time in critical emergencies.

“It’s changing the way laboratories and even police agencies can process DNA evidence,” Robert O’Brien, NFSTC@FIU’s forensic biology research project manager, said. “It really is a breakthrough piece of technology and we have it right here at our fingertips.”

O’Brien’s team has quickly adapted trainings in a virtual space during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing agencies the opportunity to log in and see the capabilities from around the globe. They’ve provided agencies in Spain, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Malaysia, Washington, Georgia, California, Florida and the United States Special Operations Command demos on the FBI NDIS-approved instrument.

“No other university can say they can provide their students with this type of technology, with this level of partnership,” O’Brien said.

The team is also researching possible new applications for the technology and presenting their work and experience at virtual events around the globe. This unique partnership allowed two FIU Professional Science Master’s in Forensic Science students to conduct research projects on the instrument.

“We are very pleased with our on-going partnership with NFSTC@FIU as we work together to educate the law enforcement community about the power of Rapid DNA to make communities safer,” Martin Guillet, vice president and general manager of the Human Identification Business at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said. “Their rapid DNA webinars, in particular, have been educational, instructive and have helped inform interested agencies on how to implement a rapid DNA program in their communities responsibly.”

To learn more about the Thermo Fisher Rapid DNA Center of Excellence or to book a demo, visit nfstc.org.