Just Science Podcast

Sexual Assault Awareness Month  – 2021

As national efforts to address sexual assault response reform continue to grow, more and more jurisdictions are resolving their sexual assault kit backlog and identifying causes associated with the accumulation of sexual assault kits. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Just Science sat down with leaders in the field of sexual assault response reform to talk about current issues in this arena, including the impact of COVID-19. Listen along as our guests discuss methods for supporting victims of sexual assault while presenting considerations and resources for improving sexual assault response reform in this special release season of Just Science.

This season is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.


Episode 160 | Just a Survivor’s Perspective and Reflection

In episode one of our 2021 Sexual Assault Awareness Month mini season, Just Science sat down with author, non-profit founder, and sexual assault survivor Natasha Alexenko to discuss her book, A Survivor’s Journey, and the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every survivor of sexual assault has their own story. Some have experienced successful case resolutions and others have not, but all […] read more

Just Forensic Genetic Genealogy and GEDmatch:  Verogen’s Approach

In this Forensic Science Week special episode, Just Science interviews Brett Williams, the CEO of Verogen, about the GEDmatch database, how it can be used by law enforcement to perform forensic genealogy searches for investigative leads, and the short- and long-term plans Verogen has for the widely used database and related services.

Verogen is a spin-off of the Illumina corporation and has grown to be an innovator in the realm of forensic genomic technologies. Since their inception, Verogen has evolved from forensic applications to focus on biometrics-based human identification, as a whole. Following this vision, in December of 2019 Verogen  acquired GEDmatch, a crowd-sourced database used by millions of genealogy enthusiasts to trace their family trees, but more recently it has been adopted by law enforcement to aid in cold case investigations.

Listen along with our guest host, Donia Slack, as she and Brett Williams discuss the impact that genetic genealogy and GEDmatch have had on the criminal justice system in this episode of Just Science.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].


Just COVID-19: The Impact to Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault

This week on Just Science, we are publishing a special release episode in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Social distancing, shelter in place, and other responses to COVID-19 can create a stressful environment for survivors of sexual assault especially if they feel they cannot access resources or are physically unable to seek help. In addition, highly stressful situations that result from significant amounts of change, such as unemployment, disruption in ‘normal’ activities, and social isolation may increase the risk of domestic violence and sexual assault. In this podcast, we will discuss what services are available to survivors of sexual assault, including leveraging on-line platforms and modified strategies for first responders, rape crisis centers, and victim advocates. We will also discuss how we as a friend, family member, and community can be prepared to respond to a victim of sexual assault in this challenging time.

Listen to last year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month episode “Just the Evolution of Sexualt Assault Evidence Collection” with guest Dr. Pat Speck by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is need of emotional support, advice, or crisis intervention please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673), or visit, www.rainn.org, the rape, abuse and incest national network, for advocacy support online.


Episode 159 | Just Polysubstance Use and the Importance of Data Trends

In episode ten, Just Science interviews Josh Yohannan, a forensic chemist and expert in emerging drug trends, about polysubstance use in the opioid overdose epidemic.  Polysubstance [...]

Episode 158 | Just Addressing the Stigma of Substance Abuse Disorder

In episode nine, Just Science interviews Clarence Jordan, the Vice President of Wellness and Recovery at Beacon Health Options, to discuss stigma and [...]

Episode 157 | Just the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System

In episode eight, Just Science interviews DeMia Pressley from the DEA’s Diversion Control Division to discuss the importance of information sharing across [...]

Episode 156 | Just Building Policy From The Ground Up

In episode seven, Just Science interviews Dr. Alex Kral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI International, about innovative policy solutions to improve outcomes for [...]

Episode 155 | Just Alternative Crisis Response: One Community’s Experience

In episode six, Just Science interviews Tim Black of the White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon about the CAHOOTS [...]

Episode 154 | Just Partnerships To Enhance Overdose Fatality Review

Episode Overview In episode five, Just Science interviews Dr. Mallory O’Brien, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, to discuss how [...]

Episode 153 | Just the Story of the Healthy Grandfamilies Project

Episode Overview In episode four, Just Science sat down with Bonnie Dunn, Co-Director of the West Virginia Healthy Grandfamilies Project, to discuss a free initiative [...]

Episode 152 | Just The Importance of Identifying Emerging Drug Threats

Episode Overview In episode three, Just Science sat down with Amanda Mohr and Dr. Alex Krotulski from the Center for Forensic Science Research [...]