Alumni Spotlight

The faculty of the BMFS program is proud to feature the following student(s) as they begin their careers:

Elisse Ruiz-Coronado, Graduating Class of 2010

Elisse came to the BMFS program from the University of Massachusetts where she obtained her Masters of Science in Biology. While at UMass she taught lab sections of Anatomy and Physiology and Introductory Biology labs. Her undergraduate training in Biology was performed at Boston University. As soon as she started the forensics program, Elisse became interested in Forensic Biology/DNA. She began her research in forensic DNA Analysis while in her first year. SheElisse-Ruiz-426x300 also became the Forensic Biology Laboratory Assistant where she was responsible for the everyday set-up and maintenance of the Forensic Biology Laboratory and for setting-up the laboratories for the forensic biology lab course, preparing reagents, performing run-throughs of the experiments prior to the lab class, keeping track of supplies, and performing literature searches. While still a student in the BMFS program, she was notified that she had been offered employment at the Massachusetts State Police Crime lab. She still currently works for the same forensic laboratory. When asked about her experiences at BU, Elisse stated:

I had a great experience. It was refreshing to know that all of the instructors had worked or were working for forensic labs, whether it was the MSP, BPD, or a private lab. I felt that the curriculum allowed for hands on experience that was directly applicable to jobs I was applying to during my tenure as a student. I definitely believe my experiences (especially my thesis work) at the BMFS program is why I was hired at the MSP Crime Lab. The fact that the instrumentation used and techniques taught in the labs are those currently used at the MSP crime lab and at labs around the country is very valuable. Also, having guidance and advice (also job references) from instructors that were currently working or worked for forensic laboratories was very important to me. For me, one of the highlights of the program was presenting a poster at NEAFS & AAFS based on the work performed during my masters’ thesis. Investigating mixture deconvolution using current technology (i.e. AmpFlSTR® Identifiler™ and MiniFiler™ amplification kits, ABI’s 3130 Genetic Analyzer, Genemapper ID software for STR fragment analysis, and the GeneAmp® PCR System 9700.) I am now a ‘Chemist II’ (that’s the official title, although I work with forensic DNA and biology samples) for the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory. Current job duties include, performing chemical, physical, biological, microscopic and DNA examinations of evidence found at the scenes of crimes or submitted by law enforcement personnel. I analyze samples in an effort to obtain DNA profiles from biological fluids and trace evidence for use in court, operate and maintain microscopes, thermocyclers and electrophoresis instruments employed in forensic DNA examinations and comparisons, respond to crime scenes and properly recognize, document, examine, package, preserve and transport evidence as required. I also provide technical assistance and expert testimony to lab personnel, investigators and the courts and ensure laboratory reports are issued with accurate information.

Nearly everything I learned in Forensic Biology class & lab, Forensic DNA Analysis class & lab, and Trace class I have been able to directly apply to my current position at the MSP crime lab. The procedures & techniques I learned in the BMFS program are those currently utilized at the MSP Crime lab DNA unit and Criminalistics unit. Training at the MSP lab was easier for me because I’d already learned many of the procedures at the BMFS program.”

Click here to see a copy of Elisse’s NEAFS presentation and thesis.

We would like to congratuate Elisse on all of her successes and wish her all the best in her future!

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