Research Faculty & Staff
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Faculty and Staff
Interim Executive Director, UNT Center for Human Identification
Michael (Mike) Coble earned his Ph.D. in Genetics from The George Washington University in 2004. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Coble was a NRC Postdoctoral Fellow and, later, a Research Biologist in the Biotechnology Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He later moved on to The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) where he spent four years as the Research Section Chief. During his tenure at AFDIL, he assisted on numerous identifications including the positive identification of two of the children of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. Dr. Coble later returned NIST as a Forensic Biologist where he worked until 2018 when he accepted the Associate Director position at the UNT Center for Human Identification. Dr. Coble has served as Executive Director for the UNT Center for Human Identification since 2022.
Since arriving, Dr. Coble has been instrumental in furthering the training efforts to reduce human trafficking by assisting on a grant from the US State Department to train forensic scientists in Central America. His current research focuses on issues associated with DNA mixture interpretation and probabilistic genotyping methods of interpretation using software analyses. Other areas of research include haploid marker systems for forensic testing (mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome testing), and non-traditional marker systems (e.g. X-chromosomal STRs, insertion-deletion markers, etc.) to increase genetic information from challenged samples.
Associate Director, UNT Center for Human Identification
Dawn Moore Boswell,
Director of Legal Forensics & Training, UNT Center for Human Identification
Dawn Moore Boswell joined the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Center for Human Identification, as its Director of Legal Forensics & Training in December of 2019. Previously, the Baylor Law grad exclusively practiced criminal law as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Texas and worked as an adjunct professor for Texas Wesleyan University.
Dawn has played a vital role in the oversight of forensic science and disclosure obligations to criminal justice stakeholders. During her tenure as the first chief of the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), Dawn collaborated with local labs to develop and implement that office’s Forensic Disclosure Compliance Procedure — the first of its kind in Texas. Under her leadership, and directly resulting from one of the CIU’s actual innocence investigations, the Tarrant County CIU also pioneered a jailhouse informant procedure which became a model for state-wide reform legislation on the use and tracking of jailhouse informants.
Dawn has served on the DNA Mixture Legal Advisory Subpanel for the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC), as a subject matter expert on Brady, statutory, and ethical disclosures for Texas’ new, legislatively mandated forensic analyst licensing exam, and currently assists on the TFSC’s STRmix Working Group.
A passionate proponent of best practices in forensics and criminal justice reform, Dawn encourages others to embrace these concepts as a frequent speaker at various state and national forensic, legal, and law enforcement trainings on the topics of Conviction Integrity, Ethics and Brady obligations, Forensic Disclosures, and DNA.
With the increasingly critical roles science and scientific experts play in the criminal justice system, the addition of Dawn’s knowledge, experience and perspective enables CHI to advance best practices for forensics within that system, develop forward-thinking training programs for forensic analysts, and promote improved communications between the scientific and legal communities.
Jennifer Churchill is currently a Assistant Professor at UNT Health Science Center’s Center for Human Identification. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate research at Texas A&M involved the application of molecular genetic technologies to the study of population and conservation genetics of the North American bison. Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences specializing in Human and Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her dissertation work focused predominantly on the use of linkage and next-generation sequencing technologies to identify novel autosomal dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa genes. Jennifer currently works with Dr. Bruce Budowle’s group at UNTHSC’s Center for Human Identification. Her research focuses on the development and application of human identification genetic marker analyses with massively parallel sequencing technologies including the validation and implementation of MPS for mitochondrial DNA analysis into UNTHSC Center for Human Identification’s Missing Persons Unit and Forensic Unit.
Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Angela van Daal,
Research Scientist IV
Angela was Assistant Chief Scientist in Biology at the South Australian Forensic Science Centre from 1991-1998, where she established some of the fundamental molecular biology methodologies which are still used today by forensic laboratories worldwide. She was the first person in Australia to provide expert courtroom testimony on the PCR DNA typing methodology, thus pioneering forensic genetics in Australia.
Angela was integral in formulating the quality standards for DNA testing for forensic laboratories incorporated into the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation requirements of Australia and was an accredited laboratory inspector for both NATA and the US-based forensic accreditation body, ASCLD-LAB.
From 1999 to 2005 she was employed at Queensland University of Technology as Project Leader in the Co-operative Research Centre for Diagnostics. She was Professor of Forensic Science at Bond University from 2005 through 2012. In her position at Bond University she developed Bachelor and Masters of Forensic Science degree programs and conducted research in the area of improved DNA applications for forensic science. Since 2012 she has been a consultant reviewing forensic casework for quality and interpretation issues.
Angela’s research career spans 30 years and includes Drosophila, marsupial and human genetics and molecular biology. She has researched projects on medical diagnostic techniques, the genetic basis of complex human diseases such as schizophrenia and craniosynostosis. She also has extensive research capabilities in the area or forensic genetics, having researched the genetic basis of human physical appearance (pigmentation, face shape and features and height), improved methods for low template DNA samples and enhanced recovery and DNA analysis of degraded DNA samples.
Sammed is from Kolhapur, a city that resides along mountain ranges in western India. He has an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology. He then graduated with a Master of Science degree in Bioinformatics from Indiana University Indianapolis in 2014. His research interests are focused on designing and implementing analytics pipeline for high-throughput data, developing methods for integrating data from a range of sources, and building tools. He likes to spend his leisure time with his pets or reading books or learning new programming language.
Xuewen Wang received his Ph.D in Molecular Genetics from King’s College London, University of London, United Kingdom, and obtained his Master and bachelor degree from College of Life Science at Peking University, China. He then conducted postdoc research in University of Georgia. He worked as a leading scientist and leader of China Tobacco Gene Center for National Tobacco Genome Project, and a principle investigator in Chinese Academy of Science, and later worked at an adjunct position of University of Georgia and US Department of Agriculture for Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Service. He joins the center of human identification at UNTHSC in 2021.Dr. Wang’s research focuses on bioinformatics and genomics at large data scale with high performance computing facilities. He has rich experiences in next generation (2nd e.g. Illumina and 3rd, e.g. PacBio) sequencing (NGS) data analysis, especially for genome assembly, graph pan-genome, variants discovery, sequence comparison, population or single cell genomics, gene-trait associate, and integrated omics analysis of transcriptomes and metabolomes. He also developed many bioinformatic pipelines and several novel bioinformatic software, e.g. GMATA, to facilitate NGS data analysis and applied genomics. He published more than 50 high impact research articles at Nature Biotech and Nature Communications ect., and his articles were cited worldwide. He serves as an active reviewer and editor of more than 50 peer-reviewed academic journals. He is currently working on projects that apply state-of-art technologies in bioinformatics and genomics to develop novel software and technology, to advance the research and service in human DNA identification with high-throughput sequencing, and to solve challenging problems in forensic science.
Meng Huang is a Quantitative Genetics Scientist with experience in the research fields of human genetics, animal breeding, and plant breeding. His research interests focus on the development of novel statistical analysis software, parallel computing, and big dataset analysis.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Benjamin Crysup obtained his BS degrees in chemical engineering and computer science (UT). He then followed them up with a Ph.D. in scientific computation (at Florida State) by doing methods development to speed up molecular dynamics simulations. Being a computational chemist might make him the odd man out in the lab, but a collection of interesting computational questions both draws his interest and leverages his talents.
When he’s not coding, he’s writing (check out my book), running, making mead/melomel or working on one of his many side projects.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Muyi Liu received his bachelor’s degree from Computer Science Department at Tsinghua University, China. He graduated from both Biological Sciences Department and Computer Science Department, at Purdue University, with Ph.D. and M.S. degrees, with a further two years of postdoctoral research training in the school of Medicine, at Indiana University.
He has more than five years of experience in Single Cell Genomics, including RNA-Seq, ATAC-Seq, Spatial, genomics alignments, annotations, and gene differential expression analysis. He is also an expert on graph mining FSM, clustering Algorithms, and NP problem reductions to Modern SAT solvers.