A Local Organizing Committee including the following industry experts has been assembled. We envision that that additional members with expertise in the field of forensic genetics and meeting organization would be added over time.

Dr. Christian Westring

Dr. Christian Westring

Chair of Bid Committee

Dr. Westring is the Director for the Center for Crime, Forensics, and Security Analysis at Purdue University Northwest. Through his passion for molecular biology and complex problem solving, he applies new innovations in the field of forensic science to advance public health and safety.   His professional experience includes leading multisite laboratory systems in forensic Biology, Chemistry, Toxicology, Firearms and Tool marks, Latent Prints, and Crime Scene Investigation.

In addition to his duties at Purdue University Northwest, he has also held several academic positions in forensic genetics, including – Arcadia University, and the University of Copenhagen – teaching formal course work in forensic genetics, molecular biology, serology and proteomics. He received research training in molecular biology at Penn State University’s Department of Natural Sciences (BS), the University of Denver department of Biological Sciences (PhD), and the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Forensic Medicine, Section of Forensic Genetics. He currently has an active research and development program and is a contributing member to several professional organizations in forensic science including OSAC, ISFG, and ASCLD.

Heather McKiernan

Heather McKiernan, CFSRE

Co-chair of Bid Committee

Heather E. McKiernan is an experienced forensic researcher and practioner. She has served as the Interim/Assistant Director for the Master’s Program at Arcadia University for four years where she taught the forensic biology content for the MSFS program and was responsible for academic degree development.

Ms. McKiernan maintains an adjunct appointment at Arcadia University and now serves as the Director of the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education. In this role, she has developed partnerships between the Center and other local universities to provide professional science master’s degree options in forensic science and develops continuing education courses for forensic science professionals and the legal community. Having developed a suite of engaging workshops, online training courses, internships, and certificate programs, she has worked on all aspects of course planning from development of marketing materials, promotion, identifying sponsorship opportunities, negotiating with venues, and budgeting to development of the scientific program. In addition to these appointments, Ms. McKiernan serves as a private forensic biology consultant and is currently an NIJ funded research scientist working in the area of forensic proteomics and genetic profiling of challenging sample types. Ms. McKiernan is a member of many professional organizations in forensic science including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the International Society of Forensic Genetics (ISFG) and the Council of Forensic Science Educators (COFSE). In recognition of her contributions to the field, she was elected President of COFSE in 2012.

Toni Diegoli

Toni Diegoli


Toni Diegoli holds a PhD in forensic genetics from Flinders University, which is based in Adelaide, Australia.  She earned this degree while employed as a Research Scientist at the Armed Forces DNA Identification laboratory, where she worked for a total of 10 years.  She also worked as a Research Scientist with the Defense Forensic Science Center for 2 years, and is currently a Forensic Biologist at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Forensic Science Laboratory.  Her favorite thing to do in her spare time is go for a run.

Mechthild Prinz

Mechthild Prinz, John Jay College

Member of Bid Committee

Mechthild Prinz is an associate professor and the director of the Master in Forensic Science Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. She has an MS in Biology from the University of Cologne and a PhD in Human Biology from the University of Ulm, both in Germany. Prior to joining John Jay, Dr. Prinz worked as a forensic geneticist and laboratory director performing, and later supervising, paternity and criminal casework for the Institute of Legal Medicine of the University of Cologne and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. She has more than 20 years experience in forensic DNA including low copy number DNA analysis and mass disaster victim identification. Dr. Prinz is vice-president of the International Society for Forensic Genetics and co-chair of the Biology Data Reporting and Interpretation DNA subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committee formed by the US National Institute of Standards.

John Butler

John Butler, NIST

Member of Bid Committee

John M. Butler is an internationally recognized expert in forensic DNA analysis and holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia. He has written five textbooks on Forensic DNA Typing (2001, 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2015) and given hundreds of invited talks to scientists, lawyers, and members of the general public throughout the US and in 25 other countries. Dr. Butler’s research, first conducted at the FBI Laboratory and now at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), pioneered the methods used today worldwide for DNA testing in criminal casework, paternity investigations, and many DNA ancestry procedures. He has been honored in multiple White House ceremonies for his work in advancing DNA testing. In 2011, ScienceWatch.com named him the world-wide high-impact author in legal medicine and forensic science over the previous decade. He has received the Gold Medal (2008) and Silver Medal (2002) from the US Department of Commerce, the Scientific Prize of the ISFG (2003), and the Paul L. Kirk Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2017). Dr. Butler is a NIST Fellow (high scientific rank at NIST) and Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science and serves as the Vice-Chair of the National Commission on Forensic Science.