Signature Science LLC
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Biological Forensics
Our Approach
Over the past two decades, forensic science has developed, implemented, and validated a suite of relatively robust human DNA typing technologies. The diverse operating environments and challenges are inherent in obtaining quality, defensible, and cost-effective human and microbial DNA signature data under less than ideal conditions. Signature Science focuses and works to find efficient and effective solutions to meet client needs.

Signature Science provides technologies to characterize “touch” DNA samples, such as those obtained from partial prints off of surfaces and low quality samples that include interfering substances such as soil, grime, petroleum, fuel, or explosive components. Signature Science develops novel forensic collection and extraction tools that conduct forensic sample recovery using non-invasive collection methods and improves sample collection and extraction efficiencies. Signature Science validates biological forensics collection, extraction and detection strategies, and biological signatures through statistically defensible “real-world” field testing. Signature Science evaluates and provides solutions for the recovery and evaluation of both human and microbial forensics signatures (DNA, protein, chemicals).

We offer a full range of forensic training from collection through analysis and reporting including: crime scene processing, evidence collection and handling, use of proper chain-of-custody, evidence receiving and storage, evidence processing, sample analysis, interpretation of results, report writing, and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) procedures and practices.

Our Staff
The Signature Science biology business area is staffed with scientists who specialize in the area of forensic science, proteomics, entomology, clinical and environmental microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, public health, biological threat agents, production processes, and detection technologies. Our biologist’s specific forensic experience includes:
  • Nuclear STR DNA and Mitochondrial DNA
  • Capillary electrophoresis based genetic analysis
  • Mass spectrometry based genetic analysis
  • Real-Time PCR quantification and quantification assay design
  • Real-Time PCR threat agent detection, assay design, and validation
  • Mass spectrometry based protein analysis
  • Isolation and identification of biological threat agents using microbiological assays and media
  • Crime scene processing
  • Biological threat agent identification and detection training and training on threat agent/weapons of mass destruction (WMD) production processes
Specialized Equipment/Facilities
The biological laboratories consist of five individual but related laboratories: a general microbiology laboratory, a molecular biology laboratory, a biological QA/QC laboratory, a biological/chemical treatability laboratory, and a water quality laboratory.

The Signature Science on-site biological laboratories operate at Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) and are equipped to perform isolation, cultivation, and identification of microorganisms including aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and viruses and their signatures. These laboratories include incubators, water baths, shaker tables, autoclaves, microscopes (bright field, phase contrast, and fluorescent) and other microbial culture (aerobic and anaerobic) and identification equipment. Biothreat agent culturing and identification activities are performed at partnering facilities.
Signature Science’s biochemistry laboratories include equipment for detection of microbial and human forensics signatures (proteins, fatty acids, lipopolysaccharides, nucleic acids, media constituents, metabolic bioproducts, etc.) such as: gas chromatographs (GCs), high performance liquid chromatographs (HPLCs), and ultra-high pressure liquid chromatographs (UPLCs) coupled to a variety of mass spectrometers (including single and triple quadrupoles, linear quadrupole ion traps, and high resolution OrbitrapsTM). Several ionization techniques are available to complement our mass spectrometry instruments, including ambient ionization techniques such as desorption electrospray ionization (DESI), desorption atmospheric chemical ionization (DAPCI), and direct analysis in real-time (DART), in addition to traditional ionization methods (electron ionization (EI), chemical ionization (CI), electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI)). Spectroscopy techniques available include ultraviolet-visible-near infrared spectrophotometry (UV-VIS-NIR), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) (transmittance and attenuated total reflection (ATR)), fluorimetry and Raman. 
Signature Science’s molecular biology laboratories include Applied Biosystems PRISM® 7000 Sequence Detection Systems and a Ruggedized Advanced Pathogen Detection (R.A.P.I.D.®) System, including Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) software. This laboratory also has the capability of standard DNA amplification and electrophoresis and primer and probe design. Nuclear STR DNA and Mitochondrial DNA capillary genetic analysis are performed off-site within partnering laboratories.

The biological QA/QC laboratory supports quality assurance projects by providing environmental (e.g., soil, water, vegetation, food) and other (e.g., swabs, gauze, filters, blood) matrix reference standards.

Applications of our biological forensic offerings include:
  • Analytical method development and improvement
  • Sample collection method and tool development
  • Testing and validation
  • Training curriculum and material and training development
Current and Past Experience Customer Listing
Signature Science has recent and ongoing experience working with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and related agencies in the area of biological forensics.