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DNA Laboratory Instrumentation, Annual Maintenance, and Supplies

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $298,213)

The Regional Forensic Science Center (RFSC) is a department within the Sedgwick County Division of Public Safety that provides forensic services to the city of Wichita, Kansas and surrounding cities within Sedgwick County.  The RFSC houses the Office of the District Coroner and Forensic Science Laboratories. 

The DNA laboratory has accumulated a backlog over the past several years.  With newer scientists recently becoming proficient in screening, the laboratory has been able to process backlogged sexual assault cases and move them into the queue for DNA analysis, thus creating a shift in workflow bottleneck and an increased awareness of supply costs associated with the additional analysts. The goal of this project is allocation of funding for required equipment and supplies so sexual assault cases and homicides awaiting analysis may be processed for CODIS entry.  Increasing expenses associated with added positions, newly validated robotics kits/consumables, inflation, and sample volumes are addressed within the scope of this project proposal.  As in years past, budget shortfalls county-wide present the laboratory with challenges related to the continuation of maintenance agreements on critical software necessary to use the LIMS, carry out probabilistic genotyping and DNA extraction, quantification, and PCR profiling.  The laboratory currently owns STRmix and Forensic Advantage licenses and numerous automated critical instruments which will require ongoing preventative maintenance and service agreements; this proposal addresses those needs.  The RFSC strives to routinely replace and update equipment and continually seeks to provide professional growth opportunities to DNA scientists. Accordingly, this project will expand laboratory capacity by acquisition of equipment and will also afford off-site training conference opportunities to DNA analysts.

The goal of this project is to enhance laboratory services by best utilizing robotic instrumentation to enhance the analytical capacity of the laboratory, increase throughput, and reduce the backlog of cases awaiting processing and database entry.  This includes proper operational and preventative maintenance of instrumentation, purchasing lab equipment as needed, and acquisition of supplies commensurate with the addition of trained staff, increased sample volume, and implementation of robotic procedures.  Recognizing that continuing education fosters innovation, this proposal requests funding for training opportunities that would not otherwise be possible.  These objectives will collectively result in faster turn-around times and more efficient entry of eligible CODIS profiles.

Date Created: September 8, 2023