Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $320,843)
Capacity enhancements and process improvements through changes in technology are continual in the field of Forensic Biology. To achieve them, several large-scale projects are currently being pursued by the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner (ACOME) Forensic Biology Section. The ACOME has identified additional needed capacity enhancements moving forward, which should not be as labor-intensive to implement, but will significantly enhance the DNA workflow. Under the proposed project, the ACOME will increase DNA sample throughput by means of capacity enhancements and reduce the DNA casework backlog and turnaround time through supply acquisitions. The increased sample capacity of the proposed new instrumentation, combined with the reduction in downtime for instrument maintenance, will improve the DNA sample throughput for entry into CODIS. The purchase of new casework supplies and the offering of casework OT to ACOME Forensic Biology Scientists will result in the completion of at least 129 additional cases, which will reduce the casework backlog and improve the turnaround time for casework processing.