SU Signs Asset Transfer Agreement with SRC’s Bioforensics Group
The Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) in The College of Arts and Sciences has signed an asset transfer agreement with SRC Inc., a nationally recognized independent, not-for-profit research company. The agreement calls for the transfer of the SRC Bioforensics Group’s operational assets and personnel to SU.
As part of the agreement, three SRC scientists will become SU employees and continue their research as part of FNSSI.
“We are honored to build on the work started by SRC’s Bioforensics Group,” says College of Arts and Sciences Dean George M. Langford. “Acquiring their core competencies, which include bioinformatics and the analysis of environmental signatures, enhances and underscores our commitment to forensic science training and research. This agreement significantly contributes to our research capacity within FNSSI, while benefiting the nation’s forensic and intelligence communities.”
“This transition is a great example of how our research and development partnerships can make a larger impact on keeping America safe and strong,” says SRC President Paul G. Tremont, adding that FNSSI will help the group’s technology grow and prosper. “We are pleased to have such a longstanding relationship with SU and look forward to other areas of collaboration.”
FNSSI Executive Director James T. Spencer says the transfer was prompted by SRC’s decision to shift its focus to other areas. “SRC has developed considerable expertise and capabilities in bioforensics research,” says Spencer, who also serves as the college’s associate dean for science, mathematics and research and as the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Chemistry. “The timing of the transition couldn’t be better, given the growing need for methodologies involving bioterrorism threats, chemical detection and analysis, and sample provenance and origin.”
Spencer says that FNSSI stands to gain state-of-the-art DNA capabilities, as well as expertise in complex worldwide biological systems, including powerful research tools that determine the geospatial origins of biological samples. “These samples include heroin, cocaine and other plant-based materials,” he says.
The team is led by Professor of Practice David Knaebel. “They come with impeccable credentials, including technical, managerial and entrepreneurial experience,” says Langford. “The team will continue pursuing external funding through grants and contracts, while honing their research programs in SU’s Lyman Hall.”
Knaebel, whose expertise includes molecular biology and ecology, is no stranger to higher education, having served as an assistant professor of biology at Clarkson University. “I see incredible potential for interactions, partnering, scholarship and effective outcomes for bioforensics research within FNSSI and throughout the campus community,” says Knaebel, whose Ph.D. mentor also worked at SU.
Per the agreement, FNSSI will acquire nearly $1 million in biochemical research equipment, in addition to specialized research materials, inventions and scientific expertise.
FNSSI is the nation’s first program to comprehensively focus on scholarship in forensic and national security sciences. Housed in the college, it is nationally renowned for advancing the scientific base and capabilities of forensic science and for training both forensic scientists and those in allied professions.