Independent Forensics is a forensic DNA laboratory that provides DNA testing and conceives, develops, perfects, manufactures, markets and sells new products to forensic laboratories worldwide. Our staff has over 60 combined years of experience in DNA, molecular biology, forensics, paternity, human identification and related scientific fields.
Scientific Senior Staff
Dr. Karl Reich
Chief Scientific Officer / CSO
Karl Reich grew up in New York City and had an urban childhood. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Cornell University in rural Ithaca. He then worked in several laboratories as a technician, before going back to school and obtaining his doctorate in Molecular Biology from UCLA (through a quirk, his graduate research was performed at Harvard Medical School).
Dr. Reich’s postdoctoral training included work at the Institut Pasteur, Paris France and at Stanford Medical School in Stanford California. He then spent five years in the Pharmaceutical Division of Abbott Laboratories. This experience awakened his interest in the commercial opportunities of science. Subsequently, he has worked in a number of biotech ventures all related to genomics, genetics, and DNA. He is presently the Chief Scientific Officer of IFI where he oversees the laboratory and directs the research and development efforts.
Karl has more than 20 years of scientific experience in chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry. He was originally trained as a chemist and an undergraduate degree from Cornell. His graduate training was in molecular biology at ULCA and Harvard Medical School. In addition, he has significant post-doctoral training at Institut Pasteur (Paris) and at Stanford Medical School.
Karl has industrial management experience from his years at Abbott Laboratories where he directed numerous molecular biology projects in anti-infectives and diabetes. He has published more than 20 research papers in first line scientific journals and has received allowances on two molecular biology related patents.
Liz (Graffy) Kopitke
Quality Manager, Forensic DNA Technical Leader and Relationship Testing Supervisor
Liz (Graffy) Kopitke, M.S. serves as IFI’s Quality Manager, Forensic DNA Technical Leader, and Relationship Testing Supervisor. Ms Kopitke received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, majoring in Biochemistry and Genetics. A M.S. in Criminal Justice with a forensic science specialization followed from Michigan State University in 2004. Her graduate research thesis entitled “Development and Validation of an Alkaline Extraction Method for Isolating Mitochondrial DNA from Human Hair Shafts” was published as a Technical Note in the Journal of Forensic Science, September 2005. That same year, Ms Kopitke also co-authored a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine and has subsequently published at the International Symposium on Human Identification, American Association of Blood Banks’ Annual Meeting, and the World Congress of the International Society of Forensic Genetics.
She also has made a number of presentations on forensic biology and DNA analysis, including to the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and at the 2009 Joint Forensic Association Meeting. Ms Kopitke joined Independent Forensics in March 2004, where she initially participated in research to develop stain identification methods for human body fluids. She transitioned into DNA analysis of paternity and forensic cases in 2005 and has testified as an expert in forensic DNA analysis in both state and federal court.
Dr. Alexander Sinelnikov
Dr. Sinelnikov has over 20 years of experience in Molecular Biology, Genetics and DNA Identity and Family Relationship testing. Alex Sinelnikov education includes M. Sc. in Microbiology from Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from University of Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana. Before coming to IFI, Dr. Sinelnikov worked as a Research Scientist at Cybergenetics in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and as an Assistant Laboratory Director and Laboratory Operations Manager at Genetica DNA Laboratories in Cincinnati Ohio. At IFI, Dr. Sinelnikov led research and development of new materials and methods to obtain STR DNA profiles from low template (‘touch DNA’) samples including individual fingerprints detected with fingerprint powders and cells collected by laser capture microdissection. Dr. Sinelnikov co-authored over 20 scientific articles, abstracts and presentations.
Dr. Pravatchai W. Boonlayangoor
Technical Leader and Laboratory Director (Retired)
Dr. Boonlayangoor is Laboratory Director at IFI. Dr. Boonlayangoor comes to IFI with over 20 years of experience expertise in Molecular Genetics, Forensic Sciences, Paternity Testing and Histocompatibility testing. He was the Laboratory Director at the DNA & Immunogenetics Institute, Illinois Masonic Medical Center and an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Sciences and Immunogenetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Boonlayangoor started and directed the Cook County Hospital's Paternity Blood Testing Program in 1981, thus pioneering the implementation of blood testing for parentage determination.
Under his direction, this center became one of the largest testing programs in the country, providing state of the art technology such as high-resolution electrofocusing and DNA typing. Dr. Boonlayangoor has made significant contributions to the field of DNA testing both scientifically and legally: he co-authored The State of Illinois New Parentage Act, Section 11 of Chapter 40, which details the legal basis for parentage determination in the state of Illinois. He is the author of more than 30 publications and is an active participant in all aspects of the laboratory.
IFI's staff has significant experience in consulting on the process and procedures of DNA forensic testing and can explain the science of DNA and its use in paternity and forensic testing.
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