50 Heroes: Dr. Bruce Budowle

August 31, 2020

Bruce BudowleDr. Bruce Budowle has spent his career developing novel ways to improve forensic genetics analyses, solving mysteries and bringing answers to grieving families. 

After 26 years at the FBI, Dr. Budowle, the most published faculty member at HSC, has helped to transform The HSC Center for Human Identification (CHI) into one of the world’s preeminent forensic laboratories. The 70-person team uses forensic science and databases to solve crimes and other challenges, deter human trafficking and give crime victims and their families resolution. 

The laboratory is responsible for more than half of DNA profiles of the human remains or missing persons and family reference samples in the Combined DNA Index System database (CODIS), the FBI’s database program to support the use of DNA in criminal investigations. 

CHI assisted in identifying victims of serial killers John Wayne Gacy and The Green River Killer, and was among the first arrivals to ground zero after the 9/11 attacks.  

“People ask us all the time what’s the biggest case we’ve handled,” Dr. Budowle said. “We answer ‘All of them.’ Every missing person we’ve identified had a family, people who loved them; every rape victim had a life torn apart. Every person we identify is a big success to us and to all the victims and their families.” 

Under Dr. Budowle’s leadership, CHI has become a leading forensic resource not just for U.S. law enforcement agencies but for law enforcement around the world. Recently, CHI has implemented a novel humanitarian DNA Identification database to identify smuggled and trafficked victims from Mexico and Central America who die crossing the border into the U.S. 

Dr. Budowle also trains the next generation of forensic science leaders. CHI has an innovative research laboratory where students have a unique opportunity to learn about cutting-edge forensic genomics, pharmacogenomics, and bioinformatics.  

For his commitment to HSC, forensic science, crime victims and countless families with missing loved onesDr. Budowle is a Hero.

50th Anniversary Logo

Honor your HSC hero today! Please make a tribute gift, submit a photo or share a story that you value.

Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

Dr. Nolan Kline, School of Public Health
HSC researcher envisions new Public Health 4.0 to include racial and gender justice as necessary components for advancing health equity

By Sally Crocker   A new article published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), co-authored by HSC Assistant Professor Nolan Kline, PhD, describes how one community-based organization in Florida challenged structural racism and COVID-19 together by imagining the future of public ...Read more

Jan 21, 2022

Dr. Scott Walters
The realities of ‘breaking bad’ - how one HSC researcher is attacking the opioid crisis

By Sally Crocker He didn’t know it at the time, but when Dr. Scott Walters was growing up in San Diego in the mid 1980s, a next-door neighbor was concealing a homemade meth lab just across the fence and mere steps away from his bedroom window. For some time, concerned parents in his fam...Read more

Jan 18, 2022

Dr. Taylor
Provost Taylor: Committed to doing meaningful work in the community

Charles Taylor, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth's Provost and EVP of Academic Affairs, began his journey in higher education earlier than most as he spent the first five years of his life living in a modified dorm room with his parents on the campus of Samford...Read more

Jan 13, 2022

Ireb Fc
TCU and UNT Chancellors announce updates to MD School

Today, Chancellor Michael R. Williams and Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., issued the following joint statement to affirm the vision and announce the next evolution in the advancement of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine: “Together, the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) and T...Read more

Jan 12, 2022