Forensic Science Research

We highly encouraged you to participate in research as an undergraduate. Conducting research allows you to expand your interests, define your career goals, and network with other professionals. Research builds both hard and soft transferable skills that increases your competitiveness when seeking placement in forensic science positions or graduate programs.

Many of our students have co-authored peer-reviewed articles under the guidance of faculty and presented their research at local and regional conferences. They have collaborated with other universities and law enforcement agencies and built strong relationships with faculty members.

Carla Peguese

Forensic Laboratory Technician at the Wilmington Police Department Crime Lab

"The Forensic Program is one of the best up and coming majors at Fayetteville State University. The Forensic Program did more than just teach me about forensics and analytical principles; it provided me a solid foundation that has allowed me to work and excel in different laboratories. While at FSU, I was granted multiple research opportunities, which aided in developing and strengthening my abilities and prepared me for life after graduation. I have gained a lifetime of mentors that have truly supported and believed in my abilities. I am grateful to have worked alongside some of the best professors at FSU."

Lydia Hervey

Senior Forensic Science Student

"Since being a part of the PrOMiSS program, I have learned so much through the course of this semester doing research. In my opinion, the best part of research is having the opportunity to be exposed to techniques (DNA extraction, amplification, and sequencing) that will be utilized in not only future forensic classes but also will aid in my success in future careers."


The Forensic Science Program has laboratories and instrumentation located in the Science and Technology Building. In addition, we have access to the instrumentation located in the University's Core Facility in the Lyons Science Annex and the electron microscopy instrumentation in the Lyons Science Building.


The Department of Biological Sciences at Fayetteville State University has provided the Forensic Science Program with many modern instruments and facilities that enable the students to gain the knowledge and skills needed in forensic science and the biotechnology. Here is a list of the major instruments available to students:

  • Comparison MicroscopeComparison Microscope
  • Polarized Light Microscopes
  • Phase Contrast Microscopes
  • Differential Interference Microscopes
  • Compound Microscopes
  • Stereomicroscopes
  • State-of-the-art Electron Microprobe
  • Scanning Electron Microscope
  • ABI 310 DNA Genetic Analyzer
  • ABI 7500 Real-Time PCR Machine
  • Thermal cyclers
  • Gas Chromatograph/ Mass Spectrophotometer (GC/MS)
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography Instrument (HPLC)
  • UV- Visible Spectrophotometers
Research Opportunities

Dr. Khalid Lodhi
Professor and Director of the Forensic Science Program

Title of Grant:
Targeted Infusion Project: Exposing Students to the Social Relevance and Trustworthiness of Artificial Intelligence. NSF.

Dr. Danielle Graham
Associate Professor and Interim Chair

Title of Grant:
Catalyst Project: Combating ESKAPE pathogens through discovery of novel antimicrobial and antibiofilm molecules. NSF.

Excellence in Research: Evaluating Environmental Stressor Effects on Soil Bacterial Traits. NSF.

Growing a Diverse Health Workforce for Rural North Carolina through Graduate School Pathways. NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

Dr. John Yuan
Associated Professor and Assistant Chair

Title of Grant:
Multi-locus Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Analysis of Anticancer Peptide Lunasin in Soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) Seeds. NSF.

Genome Wide Association Study for Kudzu Bugs Resistance in Edamame (Glycine max L. Merr.) and Edamame Variety Selection for Urban Food Market in North Carolina. North Carolina Collaboratory Seed Grant.

Dr. Lieceng Zhu

Title of Grant:
Targeting Pyocyanin Production to Study Virulence Gene Regulation in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. NSF.

Dr. Justin Graham
Assistant Professor and Director of the Honors Program

Title of Grant:
Targeting Pyocyanin Production to Study Virulence Gene Regulation in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. NSF.

Fayetteville State University’s Summer Enrichment and Exploration Camp (FSU-SEEC). Burroughs Wellcome Fund SSEP.

Dr. Willietta Gibson
Assistant Professor

Title of Grant:
Role of Phytochemicals on Hedgehog Signaling in Inflammatory Breast Cancer. North Carolina Collaboratory Seed Grant.


McNair Scholars Program

This program assists students who wish to obtain their Ph.D. with research opportunities, GRE preparation, mentoring, etc. Please visit their website for more information. 

North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NCLSAMP)

This program aims to assist students with completing STEM degrees and enrolling in graduate studies. For more information, please visit their website. 

Faculty Presentations

Several faculty members in the Forensic Science Program have presented their research at local, national, and international conferences:

Dr. Lieceng Zhu presented a poster entitled, "Research on wheat-hessian fly interaction at Fayetteville State University" at the "Entomology and Entomologists at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions-Status, Challenges, and Prospects" symposium on Nov. 7, 2017. The symposium took place during the 65th annual meeting of The Entomological Society of America (ESA).

Ms. Natalia Czado presented a poster entitled, "The Effectiveness of Various Strategies to Improve DNA Analysis of Formaldehyde-Damaged Tissues from Embalmed Cadavers for Human Identification Purposes" at the 68th AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting. 

Dr. Khalid Lodhi has presented the following research :

1. Role of Biomedical Engineering in the Advancement of Forensic DNA Typing - Past, Present, and Future Directions at TOIN University 11th International Symposium on Biomedical Engineering 2016 (October 28-29) at Yokohama, Japan. (Keynote Speaker).

2.Time Course Human DNA Profiling from Cimex lectularius L. (Bed bugs), Fed on Pooled (Male : Female) Human Blood Meals at 113th annual North Carolina Academy of Science at Methodist University Fayetteville, NC. April 2, 2016.

3. Students Changing Our World through Research at 4th Student Research Conference from April 1-2, 2016 at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC. (Keynote Speaker).

4. Degradation of Male Haploid DNA by UV Radiation Wavelength and Exposure Time at 26th International Symposium on Human Identification at Grapevine, Texas. October 15, 2015. (Poster)

5. Generating Human DNA Profile(s) from Cell Phones for Forensic Investigation at 4th International Conference on Forensic Research & Technology. September 29, 2015 Atlanta, USA.

6. An Overview of Forensic Biology Training at Johnson Community College, NC. March 19, 2015.

Student Presentations

Forensic Science Program Research Projects

The Forensic Science Program offers research opportunities to motivated students. Here are past program projects our students assisted with (pdf files will open ins separate windows):

Kiera Weathers and Amy Barrett- Isolation, Identification, and Time Course Human DNA Typing from Cimexlectularius L. (Bed bugs), Fed on Human Blood Meals

Kiera Weathers

  1. Title: DNA Isolation and Analysis from Unfired Bullets
    Conference: Cape Fear Research Symposium, 19 April 2023.
    Presenter: Felicia Troyer, Julie Atashi, and Khalid Lodhi
  1. Title: Comparative Toxicity of Peppermint Oil Against Adult and Larval Litter Beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus).
    Conference: Cape Fear Research Symposium, 19 April 2023.
    Presenter: Victoria Ocasio-Reed and Shirley Chao. Ph.D.
  1. Title: Pd supported on Graphene in Buchwald-Hartwig Amination.
    Presenter: Hanna Paige, Ali R. Siamaki at Fayetteville State University Undergraduate Symposium April 2022.
  1. Title: Synthesis of Cr-doped Co3O4 electrocatalyst for electrochemical water oxidation in acid Electrolyte.
    Conference: MRS PREM Research Scholars Symposium Poster Session.
    Presenter: Hanna M Paige, Sivasankara Rao Ede, Wiiliam D. Ratcliff, Hui Wu, and Zhiping Luo.
  1. Title: Raman Spectroscopy on Nanoparticles in Latent Fingerprint Development and Detection.
    Presenters: Sheenamelia Jones, Angela Berry, Laura Schumaker, Tenneil Williams, Khalid Lodhi, and Bhoj Gautam.
    Conference: National Forensic Science Week FTCoE Student Research. September 2021.
  1. Title: Isolation, Identification and Time-Course of Human Glycophorin A from Bed Bugs
    Presenter: Nia Cohen, Marion Gray-Lion, BS, Jessie Cook*, Ky’ara Carr, Shamar Wallace, Coby Schal, Ph.D., Subir Nagdas, and Khalid Lodhi, DSc.
    Conference: North Carolina State University Forensic Symposium on April 18, 2019.
  1. Title: Isolation, Identification, and Time Course Human Male DNA Typing from Bed Bugs, Fed on Human Male and Pooled Blood Meals.
    Presenter: Marion Gray-Lion, BS, Nia Cohen, Natalia Czado, MS, Coby Schal, and Khalid Lodhi, DSc.
    Conference: North Carolina State University Forensic Symposium on April 18, 2019.
  1. Title: Developing a Handwritten Letter Database and Classifier for use in Forensic Document Analysis.
    Presenter: Carley McConnell, Da'Monie McRae, Yolonda Miller. 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium at Iowa State University.
  1. Title: Understanding Jury Verdicts using Logistic Regression Modeling.
    Presenter: Alese Brown, Badiah Hannon, Malisha Jones.
    Conference: 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium at Iowa State University. Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE).
  1. Title: Trends in Computer Usage for Profiling.
    Presenters: Emanuelle Alemar, Jonathan Che, Joshua Core, Mishal McNeill.
    Conference: REU internship at Carnegie Mellon University sponsored by CSAFE July 20, 2017.
  1. Title: Modeling Relationship Strength using Phone Data.
    Presenters: Emanuelle Alemar, Jonathan Che, Joshua Core, Mishal McNeill.
    Conference: REU internship at Carnegie Mellon University sponsored by CSAFE July 20, 2017.
  1. Title: Degradation of Male Haploid DNA by UV Radiation.
    Conference: 25th ISHI Conference, September 29 – October 02, 2014, Phenix, AZ.
    Presenter: Amanda Macias, Joel Adams, Gurcharan Rahi, Marcus Hunt, and Khalid Lodhi.