Instructor Biographies

Jack Ballantyne, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry, University of Central Florida
Associate Director for Research, National Center for Forensic Science

Jack Ballantyne is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Associate Director for Research at the National Center for Forensic Science in Orlando, Florida. He possesses a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, a Master of Science Degree in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY. His current duties include teaching and conducting research in forensic molecular genetics. Dr. Ballantyne teaches a variety of forensic biology courses to baccalaureate and Masters level students in the Forensic Science Program and nucleic acid biochemistry to Ph.D. students in the Biomedical Sciences Program.

Prior to entering academia, Dr. Ballantyne was a casework forensic scientist in Scotland, Hong Kong and New York where he proffered expert testimony in the criminal courts of these jurisdictions. He was the full time DNA technical leader in Suffolk County, New York and then served as a part-time consultant DNA technical leader for the States of Mississippi and Delaware, the City of Dallas, and Sedgwick County, Kansas. He is the Chair of the New York State DNA Sub-committee, a regular visiting guest at the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) and a member of the Department of Defense Quality Assurance Oversight Committee.

Dr. Ballantyne’s research interests include Y chromosome markers, the assessment and in vitro repair of damaged DNA templates, RNA profiling for body fluid identification, the determination of physical characteristics by molecular genetic analysis and single cell/low copy number analysis.

Eric Buel, Ph.D.

Retired Laboratory Director, State of Vermont Forensic Laboratory

Eric Buel received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1979. After graduate school, Eric started working as a drug analyst for the Vermont Forensic Laboratory. He later worked in serology, and in 1990 he established the RFLP DNA analysis program for Vermont. In 1998 Eric became the Director of the Vermont Forensic Laboratory, serving in this capacity until September of 2011. He is currently working as a forensic consultant.

Dr. Buel was a member of the Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods from 1990 to 1998, the Technical Working Group on Crime Scene Investigation from 1998 to 2000, the Inter-agency Working Group for Education, Ethics and Terminology (IWG EET) of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Science Subcommittee on Forensic Science from 2010 to 2011, the NIJ/NIST DNA Forensics Technical Working Group, and a board member of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors from 2002 to 2005. He is currently serving on the Department of Defense DNA Oversight Committee, the OJP Science Advisory Board NIJ Subcommittee, the ASCLD Forensic Research Committee, the New York State Commission on Forensic Science DNA Subcommittee, and the Steering Committee for the Green Mountain DNA Conference. Dr. Buel has offered testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the subjects of grant funding for forensic laboratories and the National Academy of Sciences’ 2009 report on forensic science.

Eric is on the editorial review board for the Journal of Forensic Sciences, has served as a guest referee for a number of scientific journals, has authored or co-authored over 30 peer reviewed journal articles on subjects concerning drug and DNA analysis, and has regularly presented papers at scientific meetings since 1979. In addition, Dr. Buel has ensured over the years that his laboratory is actively involved in federally funded research projects.

Christopher T. Culbertson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Kansas State University

Chris Culbertson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Kansas State University (KSU). He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Harvard College in 1988, his Bachelor of Chemistry Degree from the University of West Florida in 1991, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996. Prior to joining KSU as an Assistant Professor in 2002, Dr. Culbertson worked as a Postdoctoral Associate and as a Research Scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The research interests of Dr. Culbertson’s group are focused on developing novel separation and sample handling components for microfluidic (Lab-on-a-Chip; µTAS) devices and then using these devices to solve interesting bioanalytical problems, with special emphasis in the areas of protein separations (proteomics) and single cell analysis. This research is multidisciplinary in nature drawing upon knowledge in the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering, cell biology, and biochemistry.

Dr. Culbertson received the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award in 2006, the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science, the Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, and the Masao Horiba Award in 2007, and the University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010. Chris serves as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, the NSF (ad hoc), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and a number of journals, including Analytical Chemistry, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Electrophoresis, the Journal of Chromatography, Langmuir, Lab-on-a-Chip, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In addition, Dr. Culbertson has co-authored two book chapters and 45 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has presented extensively at professional meetings since 1993.

Micah Halpern, M.S.

Principal Scientist and Founder, GenSol Diagnostics, LLC

Micah Halpern is the Founder and Principal Scientist at GenSol Diagnostics in Saint Cloud, Florida. GenSol is dedicated to the design and development of DNA-based diagnostics for clinical and forensic applications. Mr. Halpern possesses a B.S. in Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Industrial Chemistry with a focus in Forensic DNA Analysis from the University of Central Florida.

Prior to establishing GenSol, Micah worked as a Senior Scientist at Midwest Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City, Missouri where he managed a number of projects in areas ranging from forensic science to pathogen detection. Before working for MRI, he was a Technical Editor and Field Technician for Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. located in Jupiter, Florida. He also served as a laboratory researcher in the Brookfield Zoo Conservation Genetics Laboratory in Brookfield, IL studying the genetic diversity of wild and captive animal populations.

Micah’s research interests include nucleic acid and protein assay design, development and implementation; DNA sequencing and sequence analysis; DNA extraction optimization; multidisciplinary technology development; and microbiology studies of BSL2 and BSL3 bacteria and viruses. Mr. Halpern also specializes in project management in the GLP/GMP regulated environment. He has co-authored five peer-reviewed journal articles, published four genome sequences, and holds two patents.

Richard Selden, M.D., Ph.D.

Executive Chairman, NetBio, Inc.

Richard Selden is the Executive Chairman of NetBio in Waltham, Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2000, NetBio has developed a series of enabling microfluidic and molecular biology technologies and products for sample preparation and DNA purification, rapid thermal cycling, highly multiplexed amplification, focused DNA sequencing, optical detection of DNA sequences, and nucleic acid separation and detection. Under his direction, NetBio is developing products for Rapid DNA Analysis™, defined as the fully-automated, fully-integrated molecular biological analysis of a forensic, clinical, or environmental sample, with no operator manipulations.

Dr. Selden received his B.A. degree from Harvard College, his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Genetics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He trained as a pediatrician at the Massachusetts General Hospital and, prior to becoming NetBio’s Executive Chairman, he founded Transkaryotic Therapies. As that company’s CEO, Dr. Selden initiated and coordinated programs that lead to the approval of three protein therapies using their patented gene activation technology. He is an inventor on 34 U.S. patents and an author of 30 scientific publications.