Igor Lednev, professor of chemistry, explores a faster way to gather details for law enforcement.
Dr. Igor Lednev is a chemistry professor in the University at Albany’s College of Arts and Sciences and is affiliated with The RNA Institute. Lednev’s research focuses on the development and application of novel laser spectroscopy for biomedical and forensics applications. He has co-authored over 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Lednev graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russian Federation, receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1983. Then Dr. Lednev worked at the Institute of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, as a group leader till 1994.
Since Perestroika, Dr. Lednev had been a visiting researcher at the University of York with Prof. Ronald Hester. He also worked as an academic visitor in Japan and Canada, and as a research professor at the University of Pittsburgh with Prof. Sanford Asher.
Dr. Lednev joined the University at Albany faculty in 2002. His current research is focused on the development and application of novel laser spectroscopy for biomedical and forensic applications. Dr. Lednev was selected recently to serve as an advisory member of the Interagency Working Group, White House Subcommittee on Forensic Science, National Science and Technology Council. Dr. Lednev is a recipient of the Research Innovation Award; he has been interviewed for press coverage over dozen times during 2009-20010 by the leading science agencies including C&E News and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Scanning Blood Spatters at Crime Scenes
Imagine how much time crime scene investigators could save if they were able to scan a blood splatter and instantly know if it belongs to a male or female, the approximate age of the individual, their ethnicity and how long ago the stain was deposited – all without time-consuming DNA analysis.
My students and I have spent the last decade developing a laser-based technology to do just that.
The patented technology relies on Raman spectroscopy, which measures the intensity of laser light scattered by a biological stain.
No two samples will produce the same Raman spectra, making the measurements unique, almost like a fingerprint. The process is also nondestructive, allowing for the preservation of the material for future analysis.
Through our research, we have found that the Rama spectra of bloodstains, and dry traces of other body fluids including semen, sweat and vaginal fluid, coupled with advanced statistics, can tell us many clues about the person who left it behind, with high accuracy.
We are currently in the process of developing a portable “point-and-shoot” Raman spectroscopy scanner.
The next step is to get this into the hands of law enforcement. We are working with the New York State Police Crime laboratory to make the technology practical and believe it could be used at crime scenes within 5 years.