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FY 2023 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction - Competitive

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $527,090)

The Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC) is a uniquely independent laboratory that provides forensic services to the Houston Police Department (HPD), one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state of Texas.  As is true for many forensic laboratories, HFSC is challenged to meet customer demand for DNA services and must continuously seek opportunities to streamline laboratory operations, alleviate bottlenecks in the testing process, and increase throughput.  FY 2023 CEBR Competitive funding is requested to improve DNA casework efficiency and capacity at the extraction phase of the workflow.  Specifically, grant funds are requested to replace the Forensic Biology/DNA section’s existing QIAcubes and EZ1 instruments with next generation technology. 

Upgrading to QIAcube Connect technology will prevent a litany of issues from occurring once vendor support is discontinued for the laboratory’s aging QIAcube instruments.  This upgrade is also expected to result in efficiency gains, as QIAcube Connect technology allows the instrument to complete a run without interruption.  Upgrading to EZ2 technology is expected to improve both efficiency and throughput, given the newer model’s increased sample processing capabilities.  By replacing six EZ1 instruments with four EZ2 models, HFSC can expect to see a 25% increase in the number of samples that can be processed at one time, while freeing up valuable bench space.  All of which will result in HSFC’s ability to process more CODIS eligible samples, in a shorter period of time, than is currently possible with the laboratory’s existing DNA technology.

Date Created: September 8, 2023