Robin W. Cotton, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology

Robin Cotton
72 E. Concord St Silvio Conte (K)


Dr. Cotton is the Director of the Biomedical Forensic Sciences Program and teaches courses in Forensic DNA Analysis. She is an expert in the fields of DNA identification and analysis of biological evidence, whereby she has testified in over 200 cases – including numerous high profile cases – around the country. In October of 2006 Dr. Cotton joined the faculty at the Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine to be the Director of the Biomedical Forensic Sciences Program. Dr. Cotton comes to the University from the Orchid Cellmark Laboratories in Germantown, Maryland where she was the Laboratory Director. She received her Ph.D in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California at Irvine and then she completed post-doctoral research with Dr. Roger Chalkley at the University of Iowa.

Her Expertise include: Forensic DNA testing of evidence in criminal cases; DNA extraction methods and DNA separation via capillary electrophoresis; Interpretation of forensic DNA data when only small amounts are available.

Other Positions

  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • University of California, Irvine, PhD
  • Southern Methodist University, MS
  • Southern Methodist University, BS

Classes Taught

  • GMSFS700
  • GMSFS720
  • GMSFS721
  • GMSFS730
  • GMSFS800
  • GMSFS840
  • GMSFS870


  • Published on 3/30/2022

    Bemelmans EA, Cotton RW, Brodeur AN. Effects of decomposition on the recoverability of biological fluid evidence. Int J Legal Med. 2022 Sep; 136(5):1201-1210. PMID: 35355113.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/13/2018

    Lynch PC, Cotton RW. Determination of the possible number of genotypes which can contribute to DNA mixtures: Non-computer assisted deconvolution should not be attempted for greater than two person mixtures. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2018 11; 37:235-240. PMID: 30261423.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/16/2015

    Cotton RW, Fisher MB. Review: Properties of sperm and seminal fluid, informed by research on reproduction and contraception. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2015 Sep; 18:66-77. PMID: 25817211.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/28/2013

    Hennekens CM, Cooper ES, Cotton RW, Grgicak CM. The effects of differential extraction conditions on the premature lysis of spermatozoa. J Forensic Sci. 2013 May; 58(3):744-52. PMID: 23550664.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/6/2012

    Bregu J, Conklin D, Coronado E, Terrill M, Cotton RW, Grgicak CM. Analytical thresholds and sensitivity: establishing RFU thresholds for forensic DNA analysis. J Forensic Sci. 2013 Jan; 58(1):120-9. PMID: 23130820.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2010

    Grgicak CM, Urban ZM, Cotton RW. Investigation of reproducibility and error associated with qPCR methods using Quantifiler® Duo DNA quantification kit. J Forensic Sci. 2010 Sep; 55(5):1331-9. PMID: 20629910.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/1/2006

    Horsman KM, Hickey JA, Cotton RW, Landers JP, Maddox LO. Development of a human-specific real-time PCR assay for the simultaneous quantitation of total genomic and male DNA. J Forensic Sci. 2006 Jul; 51(4):758-65. PMID: 16882216.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2003

    Cotton RW, Word CJ. Commentary on: Thompson WC, Taroni F, Aitken CGG. How the probability of a false positive affects the value of DNA evidence. J Forensic Sci 2003;48(1):47-54. J Forensic Sci. 2003 Sep; 48(5):1200; author reply 1202. PMID: 14535702.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/1/1992

    Walsh DJ, Corey AC, Cotton RW, Forman L, Herrin GL, Word CJ, Garner DD. Isolation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from saliva and forensic science samples containing saliva. J Forensic Sci. 1992 Mar; 37(2):387-95. PMID: 1500889.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/1991

    Cotton RW, Forman L, Word CJ. Research on DNA typing validated in the literature. Am J Hum Genet. 1991 Oct; 49(4):898-903. PMID: 1897533.

    Read at: PubMed

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