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Dr. Mark Wilson Joins Battelle's Applied Genomics Team

Posted on Oct 6, 2015

Wilson to focus on practical forensic applications of Next-Gen Sequencing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Oct. 6, 2015)—Battelle announced today that Dr. Mark Wilson, a noted genomics researcher with decades of experience in forensic science, is joining the Applied Genomics team as a Research Leader. Wilson will lead research and development for Battelle’s next-generation DNA sequencing technologies, including ExactID®, and provide training and support for Battelle’s forensic clients.

Wilson began his career as an FBI Special Agent in 1984. He eventually moved from investigative fieldwork to the Laboratory Division, where he applied his background in molecular biology to trace evidence analysis. His early work with mitochondrial DNA led to new forensic techniques targeting trace and biological evidence such as hair and bone samples. His research project was the first in the U.S. to apply mitochondrial DNA analysis to applied forensic casework.

Following 9/11, Wilson’s focus shifted to microbial-based evidence, including casework related to toxins, bacteria and other potential microbial threat agents. He worked in the newly formed Chemical-Biological Sciences Unit of the FBI Laboratory until his retirement in 2007.

Since then, he has worked in academic settings. He served as the Director of the Forensic Science Program at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC where he was been involved in the development of next-generation DNA sequencing technology, also called Massively Parallel Sequencing, and its application to forensic evidence.

In his new role at Battelle, he will be focused on driving the adoption of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies in crime laboratories.

“These new technologies generate much more genetic data and present these data to the analyst,” he said. “The sheer amount of data has implications for complex mixed samples and limited or degraded samples that are often encountered in forensic casework.”

These emerging technologies also allow analysts to obtain useful information about ancestry and appearance from DNA samples that do not produce a direct match in a database. By applying these techniques, forensic researchers can make progress on cases that were previously considered unsolvable.

His future research will be focused on bringing new analytical techniques to forensics laboratories, including work on mitochondrial DNA and microbial forensics.  Some of these emerging technologies may allow forensic scientists to ascertain where in the world a person has been based on the distribution of microorganisms and pollen grains on their skin or clothing.  Wilson also sees potential for applying predictive analytics to forensic work.

Wilson holds a duel B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Azusa-Pacific College, an M.S. in Biology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in Biosciences from George Mason University.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information,  

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Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544