News Article

Chemist Igor Lednev Collaborates with NYSP to Create Forensic Science Incubator
Date: Oct 24, 2019
Source: University Press Release ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: SupreMEtric LLC of Rensselaer, NY

Department of Chemistry Professor Igor Lednev has spent a decade at UAlbany working with his laboratory team to develop a laser-based technology that can analyze crime scene evidence and help catch violent criminals.

His new collaboration with the New York State Police (NYSP) may soon offer law enforcement with even more forensic tools at their fingertips.

Lednev is working in consultation with Ray Wickenheiser, director of the NYSP's Crime Laboratory System, to create "The Forensic Science Incubator." Once launched, this first of its kind resource will offer research support to academic and industry inventors who are interested in developing -- and validating -- novel technologies for law enforcement purposes.

"The idea of incubators is not new. There are many of them. However, there is not a single one which offers the expertise of forensic scientists from crime laboratories as a consultants or a platform for method validation under realistic crime scene conditions," said Lednev. "This unique collaboration with the NYSP will provide instant legitimacy to researchers who are looking to commercialize their technologies."

"By combining the expertise of our forensic scientists with the knowledge of industry leaders, we're offering a rare opportunity for advanced innovation in our field," added Wickenheiser. "This exciting new resource will establish the SUNY as an industry leader with the supporting expertise of the New York State Police."

Igor Lednev holds his portable scanner that can analyze crime scene evidence and help catch violent criminals.
Lednev displays a prototype of his patented handheld scanner that can be used to analyze crime scene evidence and help catch violent criminals.
According to Lednev, there is a wide gap between manufacturers and suppliers that serve the forensic science space. Through the incubator, the two groups will work directly with forensic scientists to develop and implement their new technologies. Students pursuing chemistry degrees and various other related disciplines will also be offered internship opportunities through the incubator.

Once completed, Lednev and Wickenheiser envision the incubator will include two or three laboratories that specialize in different forensic fields. This will allow for several projects to be conducted simultaneously, but still divided to protect intellectual property.

The potential of a facility to house this innovative project is being explored.

"With a facility built specifically to marry the partnership between NYSP forensic scientists, academics and industry professionals, innovators in our field will be offered a great competitive advantage," Lednev said. "Students involved will also have far improved employment prospects with direct exposure to cutting-edge forensic technology and research."

Last month, Congressman Paul Tonko highlighted Lednev's proposal for the incubator at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on the advancements in forensic science in the U.S.

Tonko also highlighted the successes of Lednev's research lab, which has used 12 years of continuous funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to create a novel method for characterizing body fluid traces at crime scenes. It can instantly predict suspect demographics such as sex, race and age, along with various other identifying information.

Lednev recently co-founded a startup company "SupreMEtric" to target the commercialization of his patented technology and was awarded funding from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund in support of his research.

You can learn more about his research by visiting the Lednev Research Laboratory website.