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Scientific Team

Nationally recognized experts in DNA technology lead DDC’s scientific team. Only the best are invited to take the challenge of translating the latest DNA technology into applications for our clients.

If you are a member of the media and are seeking expert sources on DNA testing, please email pr@dnacenter.com.

Dr. Michael Baird | Laboratory Director

Dr. Baird has decades of experience in the field of DNA testing. In 1982, he was at the forefront of DNA testing as part of a team that pioneered DNA identity testing, eventually offering it on a commercial scale. In 1987, he was the first DNA expert to testify in a U.S. court case and has since testified in hundreds of court cases involving DNA and forensics. In 2007, Dr. Baird was appointed by the courts as the DNA expert in the paternity case involving Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.

More about Dr. Michael Baird

Dr. Baird has written and published numerous articles and manuscripts in the field of DNA technology, paternity testing, and forensics. He has appeared on several national TV shows that featured DNA testing. NBC News hired him as their on-air DNA expert during the OJ Simpson trial. He has also been interviewed on Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, Court TV, and others.

An active member of the AABB for over 20 years, Dr. Baird has served as chair of the Relationship Testing Standards Program Unit and was in charge of rewriting the 9th Edition of its Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories. Dr. Baird is also a member of the Molecular Testing Standards Committee of the AABB. This committee is in charge of crafting standards for the molecular testing of genetic markers important for transplantation.



 

Dr. Thomas Reid | Associate Laboratory Director

Dr. Reid is DDC's primary technical expert for cases involving unusual or complex family relationships. He specializes in extended DNA testing such as genetic reconstruction and siblingship studies. In April of 2006, his expertise was called upon to lend his expertise in the effort to perform genetic reconstruction analysis to help identify victims of the hurricane Katrina.


More about Dr. Thomas Reid

Dr. Reid obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, specializing in molecular biology. Before joining DDC he worked at the Centers for Disease Control, investigating the effects of carcinogens on DNA. He has been with DDC since 2000 and has led several laboratory research projects, including developing more STR markers to add to DDC's testing battery for unusual and difficult DNA cases.

 

Dr. Julie Heinig | Assistant Laboratory Director

Dr. Heinig is in charge of the forensic laboratory operations at DNA Diagnostics Center. She performs DNA testing on crime scene evidence for DDC Forensics. Dr. Heinig designed and prepared DDC's forensic laboratory for accreditations by the prestigious FQS-I (Forensic Quality Services-International)/ISO IEC17025 and ASCLD/LAB-International, setting up the laboratory policies and procedures and performing validation studies.


More about Dr. Julie Heinig

Before joining DDC, Dr. Heinig spent 4 years as a Senior Forensic Scientist/DNA Analyst at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's office, where she performed testing on the highly publicized Dr. Sam Sheppard case. Dr. Heinig has appeared as an expert in a number of court cases testifying on her own casework and that of other scientists. She has extensive experience in processing crime scenes.

Dr. Heinig is an experienced lecturer, having hosted seminars and given lectures at the Coroner's office and offsite to various groups including attorneys, physicians and universities. She has also conducted crime scene evidence collection workshops for law enforcement agencies.

 

Dr. Richard Chmelo | Research Scientist

Dr. Richard Chmelo, a genetics and molecular biology expert, joined the DDC team in March of 2011 to spearhead the Company's expanded research and development efforts for the creation of groundbreaking new DNA tests.

He has more than 25 years experience with genetic test development and implementation. He has been recognized for the successful development, validation and launch of numerous products, assays and SNP-based genetic panels.

More about Dr. Richard Chmelo

Dr. Chmelo obtained his Ph.D. degree in Genetics from West Virginia University. Most recently, Dr. Chmelo worked at CyGene Laboratories, in Coral Springs, Florida as the Director of Genetic Profiling Services where he developed, validated, implemented, and launched numerous SNP panels and assays for personal genetics.

 

Dr. Debra Davis | Laboratory Director

Dr. Debra L. Davis Joined DDC in 2012. She has been in the field of Relationship and Paternity Testing since 1998. She is actively involved in accreditation and standards for paternity testing and serves on a subcommittee of the AABB. She also holds an MBA and has a focus on process control and quality improvement. She is also experienced in complex relationship evaluations involving family reconstructions.

 

 

Dr. John Peterson | Associate Laboratory Director

Dr. Peterson spent 5 years as a DNA analyst with a municipal forensic laboratory and is experienced with forensic samples and DNA related court testimony. He is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has testified internationally, regarding canine parentage, as part of DDC’s veterinary group, VDC. Dr. Peterson obtained his Ph.D. from Wright State University, where he worked with bacterial toxins and cell culture.

 

 

Dr. Joy Johnson | Associate Laboratory Director

Dr. Joy Johnson obtained her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Wright State University in 1987 with an emphasis in microbial genetics and conducted postdoctoral research with bacteria that degrade agent orange compounds at the EPA in Cincinnati. From 1988 to 1998 she performed infectious disease research including monoclonal antibody and bacterial DNA STR studies at the VA Medical Center in Dayton. After a year and a half working in an immunoparasitology lab in the biology department at Wright State University Joy began 11 years in DNA paternity case review at Orchid Biosciences during which she reviewed well over 200,000 cases. She joined DDC in October of 2012.

 

Dr. Tricia Frye | Associate Laboratory Director

Dr. Frye joined DNA Diagnostics Center 2012. She has been working in the field of human identity testing for over 10 years and is certified by the The New York State Department of Health in Parentage and Identity testing. Dr. Frye's core responsibility is contributing to the daily work flow and implementing processes that ensure quality as well as rapid turn-around-time.

 

   
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