International Forensic Research Institute
About Us


International Forensic Research Institute


Executive Summary


IFRI Vision/Mission


Statement of Purpose


Areas of Research


IFRI Partners


Our Faculty


Our Facilities


Academic Programs


Frontiers in Forensic Science- Seminars


Contact Us


Research Highlights:


Detector Dog Research



What's New:







Executive Summary

IFRI was the first academic Forensic Center approved by the State of Florida in 1997 to serve law enforcement efforts in the application of scientific principles to the administration of justice. The main functions of this institute are to conduct original research in forensic science, transfer technologies from other scientific disciplines for use in forensic applications, provide scientific expertise to the law enforcement and legal community and provide needed continuing education and advanced training to practicing scientists. FIU has one of the oldest undergraduate forensic science programs in the State of Florida with the Criminalistics Chemistry program beginning in 1974, an undergraduate Certificate in Forensic Science beginning in 1997, the first State approved M.S. in Forensic Science starting in 1998, a report option M.S. in Forensic Science for practitioners and planning for a Ph.D. in Forensic Science to begin soon.

The partnerships between the institute, law enforcement agencies, government laboratories and corporations result in a unique center for research and training. Dozens of institute affiliated faculty conduct research and provide forensic expertise and are complemented by over 100 scientists in the local laboratories at the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Dade County Medical Examiner's Office, the Broward Sheriff's Office, the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration Southeast Laboratory. FIU and these local forensic science laboratories have regular interactions with scientists from around the world.

IFRI Vision

To be recognized as a premier academic and research program in forensic science.

IFRI Mission

To advance forensic science through world class education, research and outreach.

This mission is accomplished by:

  • Educating and training forensic scientists
  • Providing training and certification for law enforcement and the legal community
  • Assisting faculty and students conduct impactful research
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary studies
  • Providing access to state of the art facilities for research and training
  • Providing technical expertise and services to law enforcement, the legal community and general public
  • Building local and worldwide partnerships including those in Latin America and the Caribbean

IFRI Statement of Values

  • To provide forensic science education, research, training and service of the highest quality
  • To have integrity and ethics in the performance of our professional duties
  • To assist all faculty, staff and students to attain their full potential
  • To create an environment that stimulates initiative, fosters creativity and promotes pride in our work product
  • To use our resources efficiently and effectively
  • To maintain a safe and healthy working environment
  • To foster a spirit of cooperation and caring for all affiliates of the institute

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Introduction and Statement of Purpose

The collaboration between academic faculty interested in forensic science research and education, practicing forensic scientists in law enforcement agencies, scientists in well-equipped government laboratories and public-oriented corporate sponsors results in a synergistic environment that is mutually beneficial to the advancement of forensic science. Practicing forensic scientists provide many years of experience and expertise with real world scientific challenges. The academic researchers provide a second arena for scientific validation that enhances the scientific defensibility of results in the courtroom and provide the student assistance to address research needs. Government laboratories provide access to additional state-of-the-art facilities and expertise.

This Institute evolved from a long successful criminalistics chemistry program in the FIU Chemistry department with dozens of FIU interns completing internships at the Metro-Dade Police Crime Lab and other forensic science laboratories. The institute currently administers an interdisciplinary FIU undergraduate level Forensic Science Certificate and the first SUS BOR approved M.S. in Forensic Science, an interdisciplinary graduate program with non-traditional course delivery available.

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Advisory Board Members

IFRI Advisory Board Members:

Brian Caddy, Director, Forensic Science Unit, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

James Carr, Commander, Metro-Dade Police Crime Laboratory Bureau

Barry A.J. Fisher, Past President of IAFS & American Academy of Forensic Sciences

W. Lee Hearn, Director, Dade County Medical Examiner Toxicology Lab

William D. Beasley, Laboratory Director, Southeast Regional DEA Laboratory

Kevin Lothridge, Deputy Director, National Forensic Science Technology Center

Lawrence J. Myers, Past-Director, Institute for Biological Detection Systems, Auburn Univ.

John Pennie, Director, Broward County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory

Harold E. Schueler, Chief Toxicologist, Broward County Medical Examiner Toxicology Lab

or Michael Wagner, Toxicology Supervisor, BCME

The Advisory Board enhances communication between the Institute, the law enforcement community and other forensic science centers concerning:

  • The need for university courses, training programs and certification programs.
  • The need for research to clarify difficult forensic science or law enforcement problems.
  • Experts available to assist the forensic science and law enforcement community.
  • Opportunities for extramural support for research programs.
  • Opportunities for collaboration between forensic science research groups around the world.

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IFRI Strategic Planning Steering Committee:

Kenneth Furton, Director of IFRI, Dean Arts and Sciences, Professor of Chemistry, FIU

Jose Almirall, Assoc. Director of IFRI, Asst. Professor of Chemistry, Director Forensic Science Graduate Program, FIU

Kalai Mathee, Assoc. Professor of Biology, FIU

Robert George, Instructor of Biological Sciences, FIU

Stephanie Stoiloff, Forensic Biology Section Chief, Miami-Dade Police Crime Lab

Oliver Spicer, Forensic Chemistry Section Chief, Miami-Dade Police Crime Lab

W. Lee Hearn, Lab Director and Chief Toxicologist, Miami-Dade Medical Examiner

Facilitator: Clifford Perry, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs & Undergraduate Programs, College of Business Administration, FIU

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee was convened July-August, 2003 to further clarify the vision and mission of the institute and to assist in establishing goals, priorities, and future directions for growth.

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Areas of Research and Training Available:

Some of the research and training areas available through the Institute include:

  • arson and explosive residue analysis
  • counterfeit currency detection
  • detector dogs
  • DNA evidence and population substructuring
  • drug analysis
  • environmental forensics
  • fingerprint development
  • forensic anthropology
  • forensic facial approximation
  • forensic toxicology
  • glass analysis
  • human performance under the influence of ethanol and drugs
  • PCR applications and quality assurance
  • trace elemental analysis of biological samples
  • courtroom persuasion
  • effect of pretrial publicity
  • eyewitness identifications
  • eyewitness testimony of children
  • homicide patterns and trends
  • improving witnesses recall
  • international drug money laundering
  • jury decision making
  • jury selection
  • narcotics trafficking
  • substance abuse

To find out more about our programs of study, see our course listings.


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