Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
I am incredibly passionate about Forensic Science and when I read about the work that Dr. Susan Walsh and her collaborators were doing, I knew I wanted to be a part of that kind of advancement in the field. Her research is really what drew me to IUPUI and helped me to solidify my choice in pursuing my graduate degree here.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
My favorite accomplishment thus far has been the opportunity to present my work at the International Symposium on Human Identification.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
I really enjoy the fact that I can live in the suburbs outside the city, but it only takes me about 20 minutes to drive to about any place inside Indianapolis. The accessibility of both small town and city life is wonderful.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
In our laboratory we work on Forensic DNA phenotyping, which means that we look at the genes and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that cause your externally visible characteristics in order to develop forensic tools that allow us to predict what an individual looks like from a sample left at a crime scene. Currently, with the prediction tools developed by Dr. Walsh and her collaborators we can predict and individual’s hair, eye, and skin color, but we hope to one day be able to produce and actual physical print out of what the person looks like.
While in the Walsh Laboratory I have helped to establish our phenotyping database of over 2200 samples in which we can continuing to collect for as well. My thesis work focuses on improving these phenotyping tools and applying them to Next Generation Sequencing through the Illumina Miseq through custom assays. I also work to apply these tools to casework through an established collaboration with the Indiana State Police.
Krystal is also a recipient of the IUPUI Travel Fellowship award. Read more about her Travel Fellowship here »