TORONTO, ONTARIO - A new collaboration between Humber College and Othram Inc. will measure social and criminal justice impact and develop tools to support law enforcement and the development of programs to educate future forensic professionals.
Othram Inc., the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, located in The Woodlands, Texas, is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. The company develops best-in-class forensic DNA technology, which has helped law enforcement solve cases locally and nationally throughout the United States and Canada, many of which had been unsolved for decades.
Humber is the only college in Ontario to offer a Forensic Identification program providing students with leading-edge forensic knowledge and skills for public and private policing and laboratories. The college also has strong connections to law enforcement across the country.
Othram recently assisted the Toronto Police Service in high-profile criminal investigations including the murders of Christine Jessop, Susan Tice and Erin Gilmour.
“This innovative approach allows the justice system to prepare for future advances in science,” said Stephen Smith, A/Detective Sergeant, Cold Cases, Toronto Police Service. “This collaboration creates opportunities that have not historically been available to not only solve cases but to provide families with missing relatives an ability to identify and properly recognize their loved ones.”
This partnership will enable applied research initiatives to drive validation and adoption of new DNA technology in forensics. It will also support the development of curriculum to develop the next generation of forensic professionals in diverse topics such as genomics, bioinformatics, and forensic genetic genealogy.
For this initiative, Humber’s newest Centre of Innovation, the Centre for Social Innovation, will provide leadership to identify and cultivate social impact opportunities generated by the partnership with Othram.
“Humber brings academic excellence and commitment to developing a future-focused and career-ready workforce, particularly through industry collaborations offered through the College’s Centres of Innovation Network,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, president and CEO, Humber College. “Humber is partnering with Othram to develop academic programs, conduct applied research, and build the infrastructure to serve law enforcement agencies across Canada while providing our students with invaluable real-world experience.”
The establishment of infrastructure will support the deployment of forensic genetic genealogy and other new tools throughout Canada’s forensic and law enforcement communities. It will also measure and monitor the impact of cold case backlog reduction at the level of victims, their families and society at large to affect social policy change.
The collaboration marks the potential for understanding the impacts of forensic-grade genome sequencing technology in a social innovation application. The contribution to social justice initiatives and support of the law enforcement community with emerging investigative technology is unique in Canada.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside Humber College as we build tools to power the future of forensic DNA testing in Canada and we are particularly excited to incorporate social impact measures into our work,” said David Mittelman, CEO, Othram Inc.
About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
Humber College is focused on our students' future. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 86,000 learners in-person at three main Toronto locations and online. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. A comprehensive range of credentials, including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit humber.ca.
About Othram Inc.
Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches fail. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. Visit dnasolves.com to learn how anyone can make a difference in helping solve the next cold case.
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