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Expert Witness

Is this your first DNA case? What do you need to do first? Don't worry, we have the expertise you need!

Updated: Jan 31 2020

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Our expert witnesses

Independent Forensics offers DNA based case review and consultation to the legal profession and the public. Our experienced staff has testified in state, federal, and international courts on both criminal and civil matters.

IFI staff has wide experience in all aspects of forensic DNA, body fluid ID, sexual assaults, touch DNA, mixture interpretation, Y-STRs and mitochondrial DNA. We are able to provide DNA case review, help in forensic DNA observations, and serve as an expert witness for forensic DNA cases. DNA forensics for the legal profession - IFI's staff has extensive experience in training and educating law enforcement and legal professionals in the aspects of forensic science in support of their cases or investigations.

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.

Dr. Karl Reich

Cheif 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

Senior R&D ScientistProduction ManagerRelationship 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. Pravatchai W. Boonlayangoor

Former Technical LeaderFormer Laboratory DirectorCurrently 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 and 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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Independent Forensics (IFI) develops new innovative and reliable products and services for crime laboratories, forensic genetics, and human identification.

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