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Student Wins Top National Award for Forensic Research

Image associated with the Student Wins Top National Award for Forensic Research news item

Author: Kiara Owens, student writer, and Hazel Scott

Release Date: Mar 04, 2016

A graduate student in ASU’s Forensic Science program recently earned a first-place award during a national research conference.

Zahra CampbellZahra Campbell, a master’s student in forensic science at Alabama State University, recently won first place at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Washington, D.C. 

Her win was in the biological science graduate oral presentation division. The title of her presentation was “Life After Death: Thanatomicrobiome Sex Differences.” Thanatomicrobiome (thanatos-, Greek for death) research is vital in uncovering microorganisms in internal organs of cadavers that provide identification tools for forensic investigations.

“The ERN Conference was truly an awesome experience.” said Campbell. “It was amazing to see so many science professionals come together to share their knowledge and show their commitment to increasing minorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent ASU and showcase one of its many dynamic research projects.”

Dr. Gulnaz Javan, assistant professor of forensic science, is proud of Campbell’s hard work and representation of the University’s Forensics Science program.

“Zahra’s achievement adds to the growing list of accomplishments in the lab,” said Javan, who serves as the student’s adviser. “These groundbreaking research endeavors support current efforts by many around the world to establish the Human Postmortem Microbiome Project (HPMP),” an emerging research relating to thanatomicrobiome and epinecrotic (microbial communities residing in and/or moving on the surface of decomposing remains) communities.

Javan said thanatomicrobiome research is very unique to the ASU forensics lab, one of only two in the world using internal organs from actual criminal casework.

The conference was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.



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