Hands-On Forensic Science Laboratory Experience
The Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) is offered by Arcadia University in partnership with the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) and in collaboration with NMS Labs, one of the nation’s premier forensic science laboratories. Both facilities are about 10 minutes from Arcadia University in Willow Grove, PA. A portion of the coursework is conducted at the CFSRE facility, and forensic practitioners from NMS Labs provide part of the instruction.
Among forensic college programs, Arcadia is unique in its partnership with the CFSRE and association with NMS Labs, which is frequently involved in high-profile cases as well as serving the local law enforcement community. This professional alliance provides a source of adjunct instructors, a forensic library, invaluable links to the forensic science community, state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and facilities.
Arcadia believes that hands-on forensic science experience is essential. Arcadia’s 12-credit guaranteed internship at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education is a unique feature not available at other colleges with forensic science. This highly desirable, comprehensive, and intensive 14-week internal internship program gives every student valuable real-world experience and career preparation in three areas: Forensic Biology, Forensic Toxicology, and Forensic Chemistry.
Arcadia Forensic Science students take classes with renown forensic scientists on site at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, where fully-equipped labs and smart classrooms provide a personal, hands-on learning experience. Interaction in forensic science laboratories with established researchers and practitioners, often involving case material, is a unique feature of Arcadia’s Forensic Science program. Students also have opportunities to conduct original forensic research.
Crime Scene House
The Crime Scene House (CSH) at Arcadia University is a multi-use facility managed by the Forensic Science Program. The facility provides a hands-on, realistic training environment to both undergraduate and graduate students studying criminal justice and forensic science. Students in the Forensic Science program principally use the space for their Crime Scene Investigation and Analysis class. The CSH is open for use by any department or student group at Arcadia and has also been utilized by local law enforcement agencies for training as well as school and community groups for enrichment activities.
The CSH is located at 2063 Church Road and consists of living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor crime scene spaces. Also available is a dry lab area available for processing evidence. The house comfortably handles groups of up to 25. Organizations interested in using the Crime Scene House should contact the director of the program.
Forensic Biology/DNA research laboratory
The Forensic Biology/DNA laboratory is equipped with the latest instrumentations in the line of Applied Biosystems systems for conducting DNA testing. This analytical process consists of five main steps, including sample detection/collection, extraction, quantitation, amplification, and capillary electrophoresis.
Alternative light sources are used primarily for enhancing the detection of evidence samples from crime scene specimens using filters of different colors.
The laboratory is equipped with both LED forensic light source used for the search of biological samples and different forensic serology-based kits for presumptive and confirmatory testing of body fluids.
DNA extraction is the key step toward the generation of DNA profiles utilized for human identity testing. DNA from different biological sources (i.e., body fluids or tissues) is extracted using a diverse array of DNA extraction kits, which our laboratory is equipped with.
One of the required standards of forensic DNA testing laboratories is the quantitation of DNA, a process used for a wide range of forensic genomic applications that enables the determination of the amount of DNA present in an evidence sample. This is essential for success in the subsequent amplification step, which requires a narrow range of DNA input. The laboratory is equipped with the Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System.
It is a high-performance instrument, which uses probe-based bioassays and intercalating dyes for the measurement of the amount of DNA in a sample. The HID Real-Time PCR Analysis Software v1.3 is used to optimize the quantitation workflow.
Once the amount of DNA in a sample is determined, millions of copies of a specific sequence of DNA are generated through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) process. The PCR amplification step is performed using a diverse array of HID amplification kits on the latest ProFlex™ 96-Well PCR thermal cycler system.
Capillary Electrophoresis (CE)
The PCR products are lastly separated by size through the capillary electrophoresis-based process. Our laboratory is equipped with the Applied Biosystems SeqStudio Genetic Analyzer.
It is a 4-capillary and fluorescence-based CE system used for DNA fragment analysis and Sanger sequencing. The GeneMapper electrophoresis-based genotyping software package is then used for the analysis of DNA profiles.