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Dr. Morgan is internationally recognized for his work in forensics, body armor, special operations technology, and predictive policing. He directs and develops forensic science research, training, and quality assurance programs, including the National Institute of Justice Forensic Technology Center of Excellence and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Laboratory Certification Program.
Currently, he is responsible for management, business development, and strategic planning to maintain and grow our programs in forensic science and related areas of education, policing, homeland security, defense, and international capacity building.
Previously, Dr. Morgan was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and Congressional Science Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has served in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Defense as a senior executive managing programs that encompass scientific research, public safety, military technology, special operations, information systems, and standards. He received the 2007 Service to America Medal for his work to improve the nation’s capacity to conduct DNA analysis.
Contact Dr. Morgan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-990-8363.
Dr. John Mitchell, Principal Investigator (PI) for the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP), Center for Forensic Sciences
Dr. John Mitchell is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) contract with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A biochemist by education, he has worked in the field of toxicology and drugs of abuse testing for more than 25 years. He has published in the areas of enzymology, method development for drug abuse testing, quality assurance and quality control (QC) for drugs of abuse testing, and analysis, detection, and pharmacokinetics of drug use. Dr. Mitchell has most recently published in the area of drugs of abuse testing in urine, hair, and oral fluids.
Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller, Principal Investigator (PI) and Director for RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences
Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller is a Principal Investigator (PI) and Director for RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences. She is a Board-certified Forensic Toxicologist with Fellow status in the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (F-ABFT). Dr. Ropero-Miller has more than 20 years of experience conducting forensic toxicology, clinical chemistry, and hair drug-testing studies. In addition, she has led projects that focus on professional development and training, laboratory efficiency, technology transition, technology evaluation, databases, and program monitoring and evaluation. Prior to her tenure with RTI, she served as the Deputy Chief Toxicologist at the State of North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), for which she is currently Secretary. She is also a member of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), the International Association of Forensic Nursing, and the Toxicology Subcommittee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC). She served on the Executive Committee of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Toxicology, as the Executive Secretary of the NIST OSAC, the Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis Scientific Area Committee, and as a Laboratory Inspector for the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) and for ABFT.
Dr. Ropero-Miller currently supports several RTI projects, including the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), for which she is the Project Director and Principal Investigator. She also provides support to other projects, including the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the evaluation and development of analytical technologies, hair drug testing methodologies, and cheminformatic databases through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research and Development Programs. Dr. Ropero-Miller has supported other projects, including the Census for Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices (Bureau of Justice Statistics), the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory Survey for the National Violent Death Reporting System (for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), and the Technology Transfer Strategies of Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) to the Practitioner End User (NIJ). Her work has been extensively published in the areas of clinical and forensic toxicology, including the 2012 Forensic Toxicology: Scope, Challenges, Future Directions, and Needs.
Dr. Patricia Melton, Co-director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) project
Dr. Patricia Melton is nationally recognized for her work in sexual assault case reform and forensic DNA analysis. As a senior research forensic scientist in the Center for Forensic Sciences at RTI International, she develops and implements training, technical assistance, and educational strategies that promote the derivation of polices focusing on sexual assault evidence to solve violent crimes. Dr. Melton is currently the co-director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) project. In this capacity, she coordinates and directs the activities and deliverables that provide the requested TTA to the 32 jurisdictions currently awarded under the SAKI project. She also directs the implementation of the SAKI vision in additional jurisdictions to address sexual assault case reform through a nationwide promotion and education platform. Dr. Melton was a member of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)–funded Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) working group and contributed to the development of the SAFER working group report and its recommendations.
Dr. Melton has more than a decade of experience in forensic DNA analysis and has testified as an expert witness. Her knowledge and experience as a DNA forensic practitioner are integral to supporting other projects at RTI, including two NIJ–funded projects: (1) the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence and (2) the Sexual Assault Kit Processing Efficiency in Law Enforcement Agencies and Crime Laboratories. A focal point of her work has been to use research, training, and education to facilitate the adoption of recommendations and best practices that recognize the value of forensic evidence examined with current forensic DNA technology as part of sexual assault case reform and obtaining justice for violent crimes. Additionally, she has a strong research interest in combatting human trafficking through education, TTA, and policy reform of local and state law enforcement task forces.
Before joining RTI, Dr. Melton was a forensic DNA practitioner for the U.S. Department of Defense Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory and for the Baltimore County Police Department Forensic Services Section. In addition, she was an adjunct faculty member at Stevenson University (in Maryland) and a faculty member at Western Carolina University (in North Carolina). Dr. Melton is a member of American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD). She maintains her status as an assessor for the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors’ Laboratory Accredited Board (ASCLD-LAB).
Donia Palomo Slack, Research Forensic Scientist, Center for Forensic Sciences
Donia Slack is the Associate Director for the NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE). She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and assists the center with leading cutting-edge,technology-driven efforts in support of the Sponsor’s mission. Ms. Slack has over 12 years of experience in the forensic community, directing and overseeing a number of internally and federally funded forensic projects pertaining to genomic analyses of human, plant, and microbial DNA. Ms. Slack has managed complex research and operational efforts serving the DOD, DOJ, and the Intelligence Community, and has provided contractual and programmatic oversight of contracts and subcontracts. Ms. Slack provides critical leadership to long-time clients, and helps to manage the day-to-day operations of FTCoE. Ms. Slack is listed as a co-inventor on two U.S. patents that were developed under federally funded research efforts, which demonstrates her ability to turn ideas into realistic solutions, and transition research into the commercial sector.
Dr. Megan Grabenauer, Research Chemist in the Center for Forensic Sciences
Dr. Megan Grabenauer is a Research Chemist in the Center for Forensic Sciences at RTI International. In this capacity, she identifies funding opportunities, secures external funding, and supervises laboratory staff. She implements advanced analytical techniques beyond conventional data acquisition methods, including ion mobility, MSE acquisition, and post-acquisition data mining, and develops mass spectrometry (MS)–based assays for identification and quantification of proteins and small molecules from environmental and biological matrices. Dr. Grabenauer is particularly interested in nontargeted, unbiased data acquisition methods, and processing and interpretation of the resulting complex data sets. She also has extensive experience with identifying metabolites and using biophysical techniques to study protein and peptide structures, including ion mobility mass spectrometry, circular dichroism (CD) spectrophotometry, atomic force microscopy, and molecular modeling.
Nicole Jones, Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Operations
Ms. Nicole Jones is the Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Operations in the Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS) at RTI International. She has more than 15 years of experience in chemical analysis, quality systems management, and quality assurance (QA), including 10 years of experience in working with the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP). She has also served as the Program Coordinator for CFS and as the Project Manager of the Forensic Science Technology Center of Excellence, which is a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). In these roles, she is responsible for reviewing financial records and reconciling project charges and for analyzing other direct costs (ODCs), including comparison to project projections and identification of trends that may affect project performance. Ms. Jones also revises project projections to include new information about labor and other direct and indirect charges. She is responsible for calculating project costs, preparing cost summaries, and for analyzing the project’s finances to identify overrun potential or project issues that could affect revenue. She is also responsible for evaluating CFS–supported U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant activities, including technology evaluation, technology assistance, and technology transfer. In this role, she serves as a liaison between state, local, and federal law enforcement; NIJ; and the research community. She also serves as the Task Leader and liaison for the NIJ Forensic Science Technology Working Group. She has developed validation protocols for implementing new instrumentation and new technologies for use in forensic drug testing laboratories.
Before joining RTI, Ms. Jones served as the Lead Auditor and Quality Assurance Officer at General Engineering Laboratories (GEL) in Charleston, SC. While at GEL, she worked on the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) implementation team and was responsible for validating the system. She also worked closely with the Naval Weapons Station to develop methods for explosive detection using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS) and conducted training for inspectors to assist them in identification of fraudulent laboratory practices. While at GEL, she was also responsible for the ISO certification initiative, which included the automation of data collection systems and data transfer to the LIMS.
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Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm ET.