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The Forensic Science Program

Lyons Science AnnexThe Program

Forensic science engages students in the application of scientific principles and methods for the evaluation of evidence. The field of forensic science has received extensive exposure in recent years and is now regarded as a highly respected discipline among scientists and criminalists. Forensic science encompasses a wide array of disciplines including criminology, pathology, toxicology, etc. The educational background of professionals in this field is embedded heavily in the natural and behavioral sciences such chemistry, biology, physics, sociology and criminal justice. The mission of the Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Forensic Science is to produce technically skilled graduates equipped with the basic foundational science and laboratory problem solving skills necessary for success in the modern crime laboratory, and who will contribute to the advancement of the forensic science community. Students will receive preparation in areas such DNA analysis, forensic chemistry and trace evidence. The program will also provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare reports documenting their findings and laboratory techniques used, and to provide expert witness testimony based on these findings. Upon completion of the Forensic Science program graduates will be prepared to function as forensic scientists and specialists, or for advanced study in areas such as forensic science, biomedical research, medicine and law.                          



  • Dr. Khalid Lodhi, along with the staff and faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences would like to give a big round of applause to Ms. Carla Peguese and her new appointment at a Wilmington, NC Crime Lab; Melissa Kuykendall on her new position at BioFire Diagnostics, LLC; Amanda Macias on her position at Signature Science, LLC; and Derrick Murphy for his recent appointment at Genewiz, Inc.  These are huge accomplishments and we are so proud of all of their achievements.      
  • Amber Maas, a Forensic Biology major, has been accepted into the Pathology Assistant program in Philadelphia, PA. We are so proud of the success that the graduates of the Forensic Science Program have achieved. For more information on the Forensic Science Program, please click on the link located on this website.
  • During the summer of 2016, a forensic science student, D-Jon-Nique Devone, participated in a research project entitled Forensic Study of Bullet Cartridges under Dr. Anjali Mazumder at Carnegie Mellon University. The project was funded by the Center for Statistics and Application in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), which is sponsored by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Pictures of the breech face of fired casings were examined. The casings were fired from the same gun but with a different slide. The objective of the project was to create a method for computing numerical signatures, and develop probabilistic methods for comparing signatures, potentially eliminating the reliance on the subjective opinions of firearms examiners.
  • In March of 2016, two students, Jennifer Long and Macy Neblett, along with Ms. Natalia Czado, attended a workshop sponsored by CSAFE at the Palm Beach County's Sheriff's Office. The workshop was entitled, Introduction to Statistical Thinking for Forensic Practitioners. These students were exposed to the growing importance of applying statistics to pattern and impression evidence, and were able to network with local crime lab directors. More information on CSAFE can be found at: 
  • Fayetteville State named One of 15 Top Forensic Biology Programs. 

FORENSIC SCIENCE Faculty and Staff


Dr. Abdelmajid Kassem, Professor and Department Chair

Dr. Abdelmajid Kassem received a BS degree in Plant Biology from Mohamed V University, Morocco in 1992, an MS degree in Enzymatic Engineering, Bioconversion, and Microbiology from the University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France in 1995. In 1999, Dr. Kassem joined the Center for Excellence in Soybean Research, Teaching, and Outreach, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA where he earned his PhD in Plant Biology in December 2003. Dr. Kassem joined Kean Universityas AssistantProfessor of Botany in 2004 and Fayetteville State University (FSU) as an Associate Professor of Botany in 2006. At FSU, he was promoted to Full Professor in 2009 and Dept. Chair in 2010. Dr. Kassem also served as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) for one year (2014-2016) and rejoined his position of Dept. Chair at FSU in August 2015. Dr. Kassem serves as an Advisory Board member of Scientific Journals International (SJI), an Associate Editor of Journal of Forestry, Horticulture, and Soil Science, a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Biotech Research, and a reviewer for several international journals and funding agencies.


Ms. Deborah Keller, Administrative Assistant

Ms. Keller joined the Department of Biological Sciences on September 2, 2014. She has been a part of the Fayetteville State University family for nearly 13 years. Prior to joining the Department of Biological Sciences she served as the Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School from 2008-2014 and as the Assistant to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences from2005-2008. Ms. Keller was alsothe administrative support for the Coastal Rural Systemic Initiative (CRSI) grant progam at FSU from February 2004 until it ended in September 2005. Ms. Keller brought with her to FSU a considerable amount of knowledge and experience and she has a long history of volunteerism and community service. As your first point of contact when you visit our department, she is happy to assist you or direct you to needed resources.


Ms. Shawnta' Cummings,  Academic Advisor  

Mrs. Cummings brings several years of experience working with College Access Programs to assist students in their academic success. She has worked as an Academic Advisor for TRiO Talent Search, as a Site Coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, and held positions in the GEAR UP Program. She is passionate about helping others. Mrs. Cummings is proud to be a part of the FSU family and to do her part in ensuring students receive advisement to reach their academic and professional goals.


Dr. Khalid Mahmud Lodhi, Associate Professor/ Program Director 

Dr. Khalid Mahmud Lodhi, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Fayetteville State University. In addition, he serves as the Director of the forensic science program. Dr. Lodhi started his forensic career at ReliaGene Technologies as a Senior Scientist, where he was a member of team who worked on forensic DNA database. He then joined Indianapolis Marion County Forensic Services Agency as a forensic scientist, where he investigated over 100 criminal cases involving DNA, and testified as an expert witness. Dr. Lodhi received several scholarships and prestigious awards to receive his education and career advancements such as NUFFIC/FAO fellowship, UNESCO research fellowship, Asia 21 Scholarship, Yoneyama Rotary Scholarship, Kenan Fellowship, and Fulbright Specialist award. Dr. Lodhi's current research interest involve (1) the identification of one or more individual(s) using Low Copy Number DNA from a touched object; (2) innovative methods of forensic education, and (3) identification of one or more individual(s) from hematophagous insects. Dr. Lodhi supervises the research of graduate, undergraduate and high school students on these projects. He is the author of several high-ranking international peer reviewed journals. He serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Forensic Research.


Ms. Natalia Czado, Lecturer

Ms. Czado has a broad range of interests in the forensic sciences. She has interned with the City-County Bureau of Identification and the San Diego Police Department Forensic Biology Unit. She currently focuses on forensic science research. Ms. Czado's research interests include DNA degradation and alternate markers for human identification. She has completed previous research utilizing bi-allelic markers, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and Insertion/Deletions (INDELs) to yield more genomic information from degraded samples that failed to yield a traditional short tandem repeat (STR) profile. She has experience working with cadavers and sampling their remains, both embalmed and decomposed, for research purposes. Ms. Czado has a manuscript in progress entitled, "The Effectiveness of Various Strategies to Improve DNA Analysis of Formaldehyde-Damaged Tissues from Embalmed Cadavers for Human Identification Purposes", based on her previous research. She presented this research during a poster session at the 2016 American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting. In addition to her DNA research, Ms. Czado utilizes her diverse background in trace evidence, microscopy, forensic anthropology, and crime scene investigation to teach several forensic science courses at FSU. In addition to her role as a lecturer, Ms. Czado is also the faculty advisor for the Forensic Science Club.


Dr. Lieceng Zhu, Associate Professor/ Assistant Chair

Dr. Lieceng Zhu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences (DOBS) at Fayetteville State University (FSU). She teaches a variety of Biology, Zoology, and Forensic Science courses including BIOL/FORS 431, Population Genetics; FORS 410, Technical Writing in Forensic Science; and ZOOL 310, Principle of Genetics. Dr. Zhu's research focuses on the impact of environmental stresses on resistance of wheat plants to the Hessian fly. Since 2009, she has trained 25 students in research and publications at FSU. Dr. Zhu has published 27 papers in peer-reviewed journals and given 20 presentations in international, national and regional conferences. Because of her efforts and accomplishments in research, Dr. Zhu was selected as the 2015-2016 Academician of the Year in both DOBS and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Additionally, Dr. Zhu has devoted herself to the success of students, faculty, and the university through service. She has served as the Assistant Chair for five years, and served as the Interim Chair of the DOBS during the 2014-2015 academic year.


Dr. Erin White, Associate Professor

Dr. Erin N. White is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences (DOB) and Interim Director of Honors Program at Fayetteville State University. Dr. White brings to Fayetteville State University her expertise in Molecular Biology. Since joining the Fayetteville State University family, in August 2005, Dr. White has taught courses in General Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, MolecularGenetics, Molecular Biology, Scientific Communication and various Biotechnology courses. Dr. White serves(d) as Principal and Co-principal Investigator on grants funded by the US Department of Education, National Science Foundation and NC Biotechnology Center. These grants supported the development of web-based courses in STEM disciplines, recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM disciplines, academic support for STEM undergraduates, preparing K-12 STEM educators and professional development workshops for K-12 STEM educators. Since 2005, Dr. White has published in several peer-reviewed journals and given presentations at international and national conferences. Previously her research interest involved studying the differences among mammalian flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMOs), in regards to catalytic activity and substrate specificity, and how this relates to structure-function of the enzymes. At present, her research interest is more focused towards undergraduate science education; student retention in STEM, and strategies to improve undergraduate science and math achievement. Dr. White has been recognized by the university as a recipient of the 2014-2015 Advisor of the Year and twice received the DOB Teacher of the Year Award (2009-2010 and 2015-2016).   

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