David R. Foran

Director, Forensic Science Program

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1987

426 Giltner Hall
Office Telephone: 517-432-5439
Research website

Forensic Science, Forensic Molecular Biology, Species and Individual Identification

The Forensic Biology program at Michigan State University is a joint curriculum of the Department of Zoology and School of Criminal Justice. Research in my laboratory focuses on designing and perfecting techniques that help advance the fields of forensic biology and forensic molecular biology. We also strive to develop a better practical and theoretical understanding of methods currently used in State, Federal and private forensic laboratories. Our research encompasses both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, and while the primary focus is on the human species, work is performed on trace evidence from domestic animals that may exist at a crime scenes, and wildlife species that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise at risk. We also conduct research on cases of historical interest through molecular examination of crime scenes and exhumed bodies, such as our work on the Boston Strangler and Dr. Hawley Crippen.

Representative Publications

SM Thomasma and DR Foran. 2013 The influence of swabbing solutions on DNA recovery from touch samples. Journal of Forensic Sciences  58, 465–469

MJ Mutolo, LL Jenny, AR Buszek, TW Fenton and DR Foran. 2012 Osteological and molecular identification of Brucellosis in ancient Butrint, Albania.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147, 254-263

SG Hoffmann, SE Stallworth and DR Foran. 2012 Investigative studies into the recovery of DNA from improvised explosive device containers. Journal of Forensic Sciences 57, 602-609

AM Tarone, CJ Picard, C. Spiegelman and DR Foran. 2011 Population and temperature effects on Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) body size and minimum development time. Journal of Medical Entomology 48, 1062-1068

LM Hebda, AE Doran and DR Foran. Collecting and Analyzing DNA Evidence from Fingernails: A Comparative Study  In press Journal of Forensic Sciences