SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University announced it has appointed Kathleen Corrado as director of the Forensic and National Security Science Institute (FNSSI) in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S).
Corrado comes to SU from the Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS), where she served as director of laboratories. For more than 20 years, she managed a full-service laboratory that provided a range of forensic services beyond DNA analysis, including firearms, fingerprint analysis, drug chemistry, and digital evidence, according to an SU news release. She started at the newly opened CFS in 1999 as DNA technical leader.
Before that, Corrado, a New Jersey native, worked at the Texas Department of Public Safety from 1996-99, specializing in crime-scene investigation, biological fluid identification, and various forms of DNA analysis.
Corrado began her career studying molecular genetics, researching gene regulation and protein function in muscular dystrophy. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Connecticut in 1986, a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan in 1992, and completed two post-doctoral research fellowships — at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Human Genetics and University of Texas at Austin, respectively.
According to Corrado, as technology has evolved, so has the specificity and sensitivity of DNA analysis, and forensic scientists can now help solve crimes with less evidence than in the past. “The increased sensitivity of DNA testing combined with our ability to determine the statistical significance of the evidence and effective use of databases are game-changers,” she said in the release. “When I first started, DNA evidence was mainly used in court after a suspect had already been identified. Now, ever-decreasing amounts of DNA are regularly being used to identify a suspect.”
At FNSSI, Corrado will now help mold future forensic scientists. The nationally accredited program includes classes taught by active scientific experts, A&S said. The program also has institutional partnerships with several operational forensic laboratories including with the Onondaga County CFS, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the FBI.
A&S Dean Karin Ruhlandt said that Corrado’s extensive experience and focus on the future bring a “well-rounded vision” to FNSSI.
“Kathleen Corrado combines the scientific mindset with human compassion and empathy — traits essential to all forensic scientists as they seek to bring answers to grieving families and communities. Thanks to the leadership of the previous director, James Hewett, FNSSI is well-regarded nationally, and I look forward to Kathleen enhancing student opportunities in forensic sciences, such as DNA and drug analysis, and expand current offerings to the areas of statistical and computational analysis,” Ruhlandt said.