Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,136,367)
This application is for Federal assistance from the FY 2023 DNA Capacity Enhancement For Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program. SLED expects to reduce the DNA case and database sample backlog by the end of the award period. Funding on this award will allow for analysis of approximately 100 cases and 2,000 database samples using grant funded overtime. Additionally, it is anticipated approximately 332 cases will be outsourced using these funds.
Funds are being sought to provide continuing education for DNA analysts, including STRmix training. Educational information and new technologies presented in these training events enhance the lab’s capabilities in implementing new DNA methodologies and increasing throughput through exposure to novel automation and techniques.
Funds will be used to purchase two Qiacube Connect and two EZ2 Connect Fx extraction instruments to expand the instrument capacity of the DNA Casework Department. The Department is in the process of hiring and training eight additional analysts. The additional extraction instruments will help accommodate these new analysts’ instrument needs and prevent instrumentation from becoming a bottleneck in the analysis process. Outsourcing the performance check of these instruments is also being requested. Staffing limitations would make it difficult to complete these studies in a suitable timeframe; however, outsourcing the performance check will help keep DNA personnel focused on primary duties so that the backlog is not adversely affected.
Service contracts for instruments purchased on this and previous grants will provide preventative maintenance and service repair, as needed, to keep these instruments operational. Instrument outages can negatively impact capacity and therefore DNA backlogs.
Two pipette sets are needed for expansion of workstations for the DNA Casework Department. Pipettes are needed to dispense reagent volumes required for the analysis of DNA samples. Calibration services will also be included in the cost of the pipettes, so they will arrive ready to use. Artel PCS Instruments are needed for the performance checks of departmental pipettes. An annual performance check is required by the FBI's Quality Assurance Standards for pipettes used during DNA analysis.
Genemapper GMID-X upgrades are needed for the DNA Casework Department for compatibility with Windows 11. The software also contains a feature that will eliminate a data preparation step for import into STRmix.
The 2023 award will fund a vendor to perform a QAS external audit without requiring SLED analysts to provide an audit to another laboratory in return. This allows SLED analysts to focus on their primary responsibilities; thereby aiding in the reduction of the SLED DNA backlog.