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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) yesterday named nearly 70 new members to the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), the NIST-administered body that is seeking to strengthen forensic science through the identification and development of standards and guidelines.

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The latest round of appointments is for the OSAC’s five scientific area committees. These committees provide the critical bridge between the Forensic Science Standards Board and the 23 discipline-specific subcommittees which will lay the groundwork for establishing new forensic science standards and guidelines.

One of those new appointees is John R. Vanderkolk, a 34 year veteran of the Indiana State Police who currently serves as the Fort Wayne Regional Laboratory Manager. “I thank the current and past commanders and personnel of the Indiana State Police and our Laboratory Division for supporting me throughout my career and encouraging me to participate in this NIST project as we strive to help forensic comparative science become better. I am also excited that my research colleague, Thomas Busey, Ph.D., Associate Chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, has also been named as a member of this committee” said Vanderkolk who was appointed to the Physics/Pattern Scientific Area Committee along with 14 others from around the nation. The Physics/Pattern Committee encompasses the forensic science disciplines of bloodstain pattern analysis, friction ridge, firearms/tool marks, footwear, tire tread and questioned documents.

“The new appointees represent leading forensic science experts and researchers from crime laboratories and academic institutions,” said John Paul Jones II, associate director for OSAC affairs. “We’re grateful that they are willing to participate in the OSAC.”

The Scientific Area Committees will manage the work performed by the OSAC subcommittees and play a key coordination role when standards and guidelines span multiple forensic science disciplines. Scientific Area Committee meetings will provide an open venue for OSAC subcommittees’ work products to be shared with the public for feedback. The Scientific Area Committees have the authority to approve OSAC guidelines for publication in the OSAC Registry of Approved Guidelines and approve standards to be presented to the Forensic Science Standards Board for approval and inclusion in the OSAC Registry of Approved Standards. View the membership of each Scientific Area Committee through this link: www.nist.gov/forensics/osac
• Biology/DNA
• Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis
• Crime Scene/Death Investigation
• IT/Multimedia
• Physics/Pattern

The committees will hold virtual online kick-off meetings during the month of September. To learn more about OSAC and NIST forensic science research, and to sign up to receive NIST forensic science news updates, go to www.nist.gov/forensics.