Media Relations

CSAFE Background

CSAFE team of researchers are applying statistical foundations to the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence. In the past — and even yet today — human bias and error have threatened justice. Through research focused on human factors, statistical foundations, and training and education, CSAFE strives to develop stronger scientific foundations, more-objective methods of evidence analysis, and a greater understanding of how to interpret and communicate findings.

CSAFE was founded in 2015 and is funded by NIST. More than 60 researchers across scientific disciplines collaborate toward CSAFE’s goals.

Alicia L. Carriquiry

As the director and lead investigator at CSAFE, Dr. Carriquiry provides her scientific oversight and research expertise to the organization. She is a distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences and a professor of statistics at Iowa State University. She serves on the OSAC subcommittee on materials and trace evidence and was recently named to the National Academy of Medicine and elected as a fellow to AAAS.

Research reports:
Weighing the Evidence: Forensic Analysis of Bullet Lead (2004)
Ballistic Imaging (2008)

William F. Eddy

William Eddy is the John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, Emeritus, at Carnegie Mellon University. He has appointments in the Department of Biological Sciences, Machine Learning Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. Eddy’s past research focused on theoretical probability and statistics, but in the last couple decades he has shifted his research to applied problems, including forensic sciences. He has been designated a lifetime National Associate by the National Academy of Science.

Karen Kafadar

Karen Kafadar is a Commonwealth Professor and the Chair of Statistics at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Her research focuses on robust methods; exploratory data analysis; characterization of uncertainty in the physical, chemical, biological and engineering sciences; and methodology for the analysis of screening trials, which includes awards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Statistical Association (ASA), and American Society for Quality. She currently serves on the Forensic Science Standards Board and chairs the ASA’s Committee on Statistics in Forensic Science.

Research reports:
Weighing the Evidence: Forensic Analysis of Bullet Lead (2004)
Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009)
Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the FBI’s Investigation of the Anthrax Letters (2011)
Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification (2014)

Hal S. Stern

Hal Stern is a Professor of Statistics at the University of California – Irvine. Hal is known for his research in Bayesian statistical methodology and model assessment techniques, and his current areas of research include applications of statistical methods in psychiatry and human behavior, atmospheric sciences and forensic science. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee for an Arnold Foundation funded American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) quality and gap analysis of the forensic science literature.

Research reports:
Latent Print Examination and Human Factors: Improving the Practice (2012)

Brandon Garrett

Brandon L. Garrett serves as the L. Neil Williams, Jr. Professor of Law at Duke University, where he is the founder and Director of the Center for Science and Justice. Garrett’s research and teaching focuses on forensic science, eyewitness identification, corporate crime, constitutional rights and habeas corpus, and criminal justice policy. Garrett’s work has been widely cited by courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Garrett also frequently speaks about criminal justice matters before legislative and policymaking bodies, groups of practicing lawyers, law enforcement, and to local and national media. He is involved with a number of law reform initiatives, including the American Law Institute’s project on policing.

Fact Sheet

8 collaborative research university partners

11 US and international partner agencies

88 researchers across scientific disciplines

Undertaking 28+ active research projects addressing pattern and digital evidence in human factors, statistical foundations, training and education

The CSAFE is building statistical models and foundations to help forensic scientists analyze:

  • Blood Spatter (Bulletr Software and Cartridges Software)
  • Digital Change Detection
  • Fingerprints
  • Firearms and Toolmarks
  • Handwriting
  • Mobile Apps
  • Shoeprints and Tread Marks
  • Steganography

CSAFE has made available 207 statistics courses for forensic practitioners worldwide.

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Past Media Coverage

“Most Forensic Science Is Bogus. Will New Federal Rules Help?” – Gizmodo, March 16, 2018

“Database will help build foundation for steganalysis of forensic evidence” – Iowa State University, News Service, February 12, 2018

“Winners of the 10th annual Women in Innovation awards” – Business Record, November 14, 2017

“The Proficiency of Experts” – Advocacy of Evidence Resources, Temple University Beasley School of Law, October 2, 2017

“Evaluating Negative Forensic Evidence: When Jurors Treat Absense of Evidence as Evidence of Absense” – Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, August 7, 2017

“New UVA Law Research May Test Jurors’ Faith in Forensics” – University of Virginia, July 6, 2017

“Label the limits of forensic science” – Nature International Weekly Journal of Science, April 2017

“Forensice Science Controversies” – CQ Researcher, February 2017, Vol. 27, Issue 6

“UVA Law Launches Effort to Improved Forensics Analysis as Part of New National Center” – University of Virginia, October 6, 2016

“HM The Queen opens Leverhulme Centre for Forensic Science” – University News, July 6, 2016

“IMPACT REPORT: 100 Examples of President Obama’s Leadership in Science, Technology, and Innovation” – The White House Office of the Press Secretary, June 21, 2016

“Iowa State statistician organizes symposium to discuss stronger science behind forensics” – EurekAlert! The Global Source of Science News, February 10, 2016

“Invalid Forensic Science Testimony and Wrongful Convictions”Virgina Law Review: March 2009, Vol 95, No 1

“DBASSE Advisory Committee Biographical Sketches” – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine

“Statiticians and Forensic Science: A Perfect Match” – CHANCE

Social Media
Stacy Renfro

Program Manager

Sarah Carraher

Communications Specialist

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