Department of Justice
JoAnn Buscaglia began her career in biometrics through forensic science research and development. In the early 2000s, she served as a research chemist in the FBI’s Laboratory Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit (CFSRU). While there, she assisted with latent fingerprint research to develop quantitative measurements and assess the scientific basis of identification conclusions in order to address court admissibility challenges to the discipline.
In 2002, Buscaglia began working with automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) algorithms as a tool for quantification of fingerprint features. She also wanted to explore the possibility of using image-based and other non-minutia-based algorithms for latent print searching and matching in AFIS. In 2004-2005, she served on an internal FBI Laboratory panel to assess the research needs of the latent print discipline, particularly related to the scientific basis of conclusions.
Buscaglia completed her PhD in 1999, with a dissertation also in the area of trace elemental analysis of materials. Prior to joining the FBI Laboratory, she worked for almost a decade in academia and as a consultant for both private- and public-sector forensic, environmental, and industrial hygiene laboratories. She now has more than 18 years with the FBI Laboratory’s CFSRU and nearly 14 years in biometrics research. Much of her biometric research has been supported through collaboration with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Systems Division Biometrics Center of Excellence.
Buscaglia says her proudest accomplishment in biometrics is leading the FBI Laboratory “Black Box” latent print examiner decision analysis study, which quantified the accuracy, repeatability and reproducibility of LPE decisions. Black Box was the first, large-scale study to estimate error rates for latent print examiners.