$3.5 Million Life Technologies Grant Will Help Train, Certify Forensic Scientists at UNT Health Science Center
Certification program to accelerate world-wide DNA testing
FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Center for Human Identification at the UNT Health Science Center recently received a three-year $3.5 million grant from Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE), a leader in forensic DNA testing systems, to train researchers from around the world in forensic DNA analysis techniques. This first of its kind accelerated academic certification program will train forensic scientists in areas where DNA database legislation or DNA programs are being established to process samples and populate databases worldwide for use in criminal investigations and identity verification.
Up to 12 students per session will earn eight credit hours of accelerated learning at the UNT Health Science Center’s campus at Fort Worth, Texas. The grant will help establish a hands-on, didactic operational lab with state-of-the-art equipment, teaching faculty and up to 20 fellowships. The four-week program will give scientists the skills required to process DNA samples in countries where DNA database programs are growing at a faster rate than their ability to hire and train analysts to process samples.
“Establishing the Center for Forensic Excellence at the University of North Texas Health Science Center provides the international forensic community access to one of the premier forensic laboratories and teaching facilities in the world,” said Leonard Klevan, PhD, president of the Human Identification Business at Life Technologies. “Life Technologies is proud to support this unique educational and training program in an effort to expand the use of forensic DNA testing on a global basis.”
As part of the grant, Life Technologies will equip a state-of-the-art, high-throughput laboratory used to process single-source DNA reference samples. The grant also provides for a faculty director and two full-time training coordinator positions to train the DNA experts. The Health Science Center will issue the advanced certificate of completion and retain the state-of-the-art equipment for current and future DNA analysis.
“Life Technologies is establishing a great opportunity to train DNA professionals from other countries,” said Arthur Eisenberg, PhD, chairman of the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics at the UNT Health Science Center. “As the world grows smaller and more interrelated, the need to share information in databases just multiplies. By training more DNA experts in various countries to collect reference samples and process them more efficiently, we can increase the number of reference samples in databases across the world which could help identify missing individuals, criminal perpetrators and victims of trafficking. The number of missing, unidentified and exploited people across the world is a silent mass disaster. By identifying these people, we can bring resolution to families, take criminals off the streets and improve the outlook for people who had lost hope.”
UNT Health Science Center
The UNT Health Science Center comprises the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Public Health, and the School of Health Professions. Key research areas include aging and Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and physical medicine. This year, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine was named a top 50 medical school in primary care by U.S. News & World Report for the ninth consecutive year. The organization contributes more than $500 million to the Tarrant County and Texas economies annually. For more information, go to http://www.hsc.unt.edu/.
About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company dedicated to improving the human condition. Our systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific and medical advancements that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance the fields of discovery and translational research, molecular medicine, stem cell-based therapies, food safety and animal health, and 21st century forensics. The company manufactures both molecular diagnostic and research use only products. Life Technologies’ industry-leading brands are found in nearly every life sciences lab in the world and include innovative instrument systems under the Applied Biosystems and Ion Torrent names, as well as, the broadest range of reagents with its Invitrogen, Gibco, Ambion, Molecular Probes and Taqman products. Life Technologies had sales of $3.6 billion in 2010, has a work force of approximately 11,000 people, has a presence in approximately 160 countries, and possesses one of the largest intellectual property estates in the life sciences industry, with approximately 3,900 patents and exclusive licenses. For more information on how we are making a difference, please visit our website: http://www.lifetechnologies.com.
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SOURCE UNT Health Science Center