Forensic pathology is the foundation of forensic medicine and deals with the study of the cause and manner of death by examination of a dead body during the medico-legal investigation of death in criminal and civil law cases in some jurisdictions. The course is designed to provide students with the principles and basic knowledge of forensic pathology practice in the US and around the world. It provides the core for the curriculum and is a pre-requisite for all the other courses. The elements include the medico-legal death investigation system in the United States and China, the categories of medico-legal cases; the objectives of medico-legal investigation; the concept of cause and manner of death, common types of injuries associated with deaths; investigation of sudden unexpected deaths, the role of forensic pathology in criminal justice, public health and safety, and pattern of various trauma. The course is given by lectures, seminars, laboratory, and by some pre-recorded study lectures, and computer/online.
Forensic autopsy is a key procedure required in all medico-legal cases to identify the cause of death, especially in questionable cases. Forensic autopsy, or post-mortem examination as it is often called, is conducted to identify any deviation from normal anatomy. These variances from normal include diseases and injuries and help determine: 1) the cause of death, 2) the mechanism of death and 3) the manner of death of the victim in question. This course is designed to teach students to perform eviscerations as well as organ block dissection; select tissue for histological processing and special studies; and obtain specimens for biological and toxicological analysis. The course of forensic autopsy is given by case presentation with discussion and laboratory training with hand-on instruction.
Medico-legal death scene investigation is often critical in the final determination of the manner of death, documenting observations and collecting physical and trace evidence from death scenes that include homicides, suicides, accidents or natural deaths. The course is designed to show students how to conduct scientific, systematic and thorough death scene investigation for medical examiner and coroner offices; how to obtain essential facts regarding the death scene, medical history, and social history. The course is given by case presentation with discussion, death scene visits with death scene investigation, and simulation laboratory work (death scene reenactment training).
Well-designed epidemiological data research in the field of forensic medicine is essential to identify risk factors of certain deaths, which will produce valuable information useful in public health and public safety. This course is almost year-long sequence that will start in the spring and end in the summer. Students will learn how to design and conduct epidemiological data analysis and research. Each student is required to develop a formal research proposal, conduct one research project under supervision of a faculty member, complete a publishable paper, and present his or her paper to the class and faculty panel.
Detailed in this course are disease entities and disease processes of the following organ systems: cardiovascular; respiratory; gastrointestinal; liver; pancreas; head and neck; renal; male and female reproductive; breast; endocrine; skin; bone; peripheral nervous system, central nervous system, and eye. Instruction is by lecture, laboratory, and computer.
Offered spring semesters only.
Lectures include discussion of principles underlying forensic and clinical toxicology, mechanism of action of drugs and other poisons, methods of detection and quantitation of drugs and poisons in tissues and body fluids, and interpretation of analytical procedures for the detection and estimation of drugs and chemicals in biological samples. Prerequisites: organic chemistry, physical chemistry, quantitative analysis, and calculus.
This course provides graduate learners the opportunity to develop advanced scholarly writing skills. Students will learn to develop a sustainable writing process, to craft unified texts that engage and inform an intended audience, and to incorporate sources into their writing.
Forensic toxicology laboratory provides students with basic analytical methods to detect drugs and chemicals in biological samples. Students also learn the procedures of sample collection, storage and testing result analysis. The course is given by case presentation with discussion and hand-on laboratory training.
Forensic neuropathology is a subspecialty of forensic medicine that focuses on all aspects of neurologic diseases and injuries that are relevant in judicial cases. This course teaches students the mechanisms, morphology, and dating of various neurologic traumas, neurologic causes of sudden death, and the effects of drugs and toxins on the central nervous system. The principles, practices, and current developments in the field of forensic neuropathology are also discussed. The course is given by lectures with case discussion and laboratory brain and spinal cord examination.
Image technologies are powerful tools in forensic sciences. The course is designed to teach students the basic radiology technologies, including postmortem x-ray and CT scan operations and postmortem radiology case studies. The course is given by lectures, case presentation with discussion, and laboratory training.
Forensic odontology is involved in assisting investigative agencies in the identification of whole or fragmented recovered human remains. This course is designed to teach students the basic skills to determine the age and race of unidentified human remains by comparison of antemortem and postmortem dental records and use of the unique features visible on dental radiographs. Students also learn how to do the assessment of bite mark injuries and the source of bite mark injuries in cases of assault or suspected abuse. Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of anthropology in criminal investigation where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition, severely burned, mutilated, or otherwise unrecognizable. The course is designed to teach students the basic anthropological techniques and analysis to assess the age, gender, race, stature, and evidence for estimation of postmortem interval of the individual, as well as if the individual sustained any trauma or disease prior to or at time of death. The combined course is given by lectures and laboratory case studies.
This course, offered as both a first year day elective and an upper division elective, is a study of the problems of proof in civil and criminal trials, including coverage of the important rules of evidence and the impact of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The manner of examining witnesses and presenting evidence is considered, and the effects of such sometimes inconsistent goals as the presentation of all important, relevant information to the trier of fact and the exclusion of evidence on grounds such as unreliability, privilege and undue prejudice are examined.
This course focuses on the use of scientific evidence in litigation, admissibility of expert testimony and use of scientific information in regulatory matters. The course will cover legal standards for the admissibility of scientific evidence as well as basic principles of science and the scientific method which are relevant to legal decision-making in regulatory contexts. Examples will be drawn from diverse disciplines, including medicine, epidemiology, biotechnology, and statistics. No prior knowledge of scientific or statistical methods is necessary.
*Denotes required course