Registration is Open for Forensics@NIST 2022

The entrance sign at NIST's Gaithersburg campus. Credit: J. Stoughton/NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the dates for its annual Forensics@NIST. The virtual event will be held Nov. 8–10, 2022.

Forensics@NIST will feature presentations from NIST scientists on how they are using advanced methods in metrology, computer science and statistics to strengthen forensic science. The topics to be covered are:

  • drugs/toxins
  • statistical methods in forensic science
  • firearms and toolmarks
  • forensic genetics
  • trace
  • digital and multimedia
  • biometrics

As a NIST Center of Excellence, the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) will present on Nov. 10 from 3–4:30 p.m. EST. CSAFE researchers will provide an overview of the CSAFE resources available to the forensic science community and give updates on firearms and toolmarks, bloodstain pattern and handwriting analysis projects.

  • CSAFE Overview

    Presenter: Alicia Carriquiry, CSAFE director and Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair in Statistics at Iowa State University
  • CSAFE Firearms and Toolmarks Analysis

    Presenter: Maria Cuellar, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania
  • CSAFE Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

    Presenter: Tong Zou, graduate student in statistics at the University of California, Irvine
  • CSAFE Handwriting Analysis

    Presenter: Danica Ommen, assistant professor of statistics at Iowa State University

    Presenters: Carriquiry, Cuellar, Zou and Ommen

NIST will also hold optional workshops on Nov. 14–15, 2022. Each workshop is limited to 175 attendees, and registrations will be approved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendees must attend the main sessions on Nov. 9–10 to register for a workshop. The list of workshops is below:

  • How It’s Made: NIST Forensic DNA Reference Materials
  • NIST 2022 Forensic Cannabis Workshop
  • Mass Spectral Interpretation – Tips and Tools for GC-EI-MS and High-Resolution MS Data
  • Process Mapping
  • Application & Implementation of 3D Technology, Algorithms, and Statistics for Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Analysis

For more information or to register, visit

OSAC Public Update Meeting Set for Sept. 13

Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science will host its annual Public Update Meeting on Sept. 13, 2022, from 1–4:30 p.m. EDT. Attendees will learn how OSAC is making an impact on the forensic science community through standards.

The virtual meeting will feature presentations from the seven chairs of OSAC’s Scientific Area Committees and the chair of the Forensic Science Standards Board. Each presenter will describe their committee’s activities, including the latest standards actions, research gaps, challenges being addressed and priorities for the coming year.

There is no fee to attend, but registration is required. The meeting agenda and registration information are available at

The OSAC works to strengthen the nation’s use of forensic science by facilitating the development of scientifically sound forensic science standards and by promoting the use of those standards by the forensic science community. OSAC has over 500 members and 275 affiliates that work together to draft and evaluate forensic science standards through a transparent, consensus-based process that allows for participation and comment by all stakeholders. For more information about OSAC and its programs, visit

Two New Forensic Firearm Examination Standards Added to the OSAC Registry of Approved Standards

Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science has placed two new standards covering firearm and toolmark analysis on its Registry of Approved Standards. According to a recent news release, these new standards provide guidance on implementing 3D technologies in forensic labs.

The new standards are:

The new release noted that researchers have been developing new methods that use 3D surface scanning microscopes to produce 3D models of the bullets, and computer algorithms can then compare the microscopic features of the two virtual bullets to measure how similar they are.

“These standards give labs guidance on purchasing and setting up a 3D system, validating it to ensure that it produces accurate results, and implementing it into their workflow,” said Erica Lawton, a firearms examiner at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences who, as the chair of OSAC’s Firearms and Toolmarks Subcommittee, helped guide the new standards through the approval process.

According to the news release, a benefit of using a 3D system for comparing the surface features of two bullets or cartridge cases is that the algorithm generates a numerical score that describes how closely the two surfaces match. “That match statistic expresses the amount of uncertainty in the analysis, and police investigators, jurors and others can use it when weighing the evidence. With the traditional method, an expert can only give a subjective opinion as to whether two bullets or cartridge cases were fired from the same gun. They cannot provide a match statistic,” stated the news release.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) administers OSAC as part of its larger Forensic Science Program, which works to strengthen forensic science through advanced research and improved standards. NIST also supports laboratory efforts to implement standards on the OSAC registry via a cooperative agreement with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. For more information on OSAC’s role in the standards development process, visit the OSAC website.

The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), a NIST Center of Excellence, is developing statistical and scientific foundations for assessing and matching firearms and toolmarks. Learn more about CSAFE’s work in this area at