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Forensic Institute for Research and Education at MTSU


Expanding Forensic Education and Enhancing Training for Forensic Scientists and Law Enforcement Personnel

FIRE has received three BJA grants totaling nearly $1.4M with Dr. Hugh Berryman as principal investigator. These two have shared objectives to:

  • Test the efficacy of training for law enforcement by developing innovative specialized online training.
  • Establish a digital forensics lab at MTSU to serve academic and training needs.
  • Provide training for law enforcement and the community from national experts on organized crime.
  • Develop a forensics emphasis at MTSU through undergraduate and graduate curriculum development.
  • Encourage innovative student research across disciplines and the presentation of research at regional and national meetings. 


Investigation of the detection of Gunshot Residue (GSR) on bone using Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis

This research determined that gunshot residue can be detected on bone visually using Scanning Electron Microscopy as well as by elemental composition using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis. The results were presented at the 60th American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting 2008 and received the Ellis R. Kerley Award. This research paper was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences 2010. You can read the article abstract here.

Forensic Science Foundation‘s Lucas Grant funded a follow-up study which determined that the GSR particles detected are truly primer derived. This was achieved by using bullets with strontium-based primers and a rigorous protocol. Strontium particles were detected on bone in gun to target distances of up to 6 feet, the maximum distance investigated. This research was presented at the 63rd Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting 2011, and we are currently working towards journal submission of these results.  

Click here to view student research

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Box 89
Murfreesboro TN 37132

Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU P.O Box 109
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

(615) 898-5223