Forensic scientists in the making

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A group of sixth graders from Mater Academy Middle School visited FIU in January for an interactive, hands-on science day.

The students toured FIU’s state-of-the art trace evidence and DNA profiling facilities and learned about the research that goes on at the International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI), Biomolecular Sciences Institute (BSI) and other biology and chemistry labs at FIU.

The visit to FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus complemented Mater Academy’s curriculum, which includes topics on how quickly an epidemic can become a breakout, the spread of mosquito viruses and DNA analysis. FIU faculty representing those areas conducted special sessions related to DNA typing, decomposition, Zika, and brain and behavior. The students also analyzed four DNA samples, fingerprints and blood and hair samples to solve a murder.

FIU biologist DeEtta Mills spoke about canine heroes. She highlighted the various roles dogs play in law enforcement, homeland security and the agricultural industry – including the work our researchers are doing with dogs and drones to fight laurel wilt, which is destroying avocado trees at alarming rates. The students then participated in a live K-9 unit scent detection demonstration.

For more photos from Mater Academy’s science day at FIU, click here.


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