Forensic Biology


College of Life Sciences


Master of Science


Center City


On Campus




2 Years

Contact Information


Name: Mirna Ghemrawi, PhD, MSFS
Position: Program Director
Name: Leah Nangeroni
Position: Instructor
Name: Lindsay Kotchey
Position: Instructor
Name: Judith Rodriguez Salas
Position: Program Coordinator, Forensic Toxicology/Biology Program

For Program Information

Name: Alexandra Whitman
Position: Program Coordinator

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Our Team

Mirna Ghemrawi, PhD, MSFS

Program Director, Forensic Biology Program

Hailing from Lebanon, Mirna pursued her BS in medical laboratory sciences on a merit scholarship from the US embassy at Haigazian University, Beirut. She was then granted the Fulbright scholarship to come to the States to do her master’s degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences at Purdue university, Indiana. Her project involved a genetic investigation of the Lebanese population. She pursued her Ph.D. in Biochemistry-Forensic track at Florida International University before joining the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education as an Associate Director of Forensic Biology. 

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Leah Nangeroni

Instructor, Forensic Biology Program

Leah Nangeroni received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Forensic Science in 2010. After graduating, Leah worked as a DNA technologist at GeneDx until 2011 where she performed PCR amplification and DNA sequencing.  From 2011-2022, she worked at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) both in Rockville, MD, and Dover AFB. During her 11 years at AFDIL, she held positions as a DNA technician performing quantitative-PCR and DNA typing and as a DNA Analyst performing independent casework on various sample types (bone, tissue, bloodstain cards, and swabs), to include DNA extraction, PCR amplification, DNA data analysis, and interpretation, and report writing in auSTR, Y-STR, and mtDNA technologies.

Leah is currently a Forensic Biologist III at the CFSRE.  In this role, she assists with the teaching of laboratory courses and student research projects, mentors graduate students, conducts validations on new instrumentation, conducts research, and maintains current instrumentation. Leah is also a certified Forensic ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Technical Assessor through ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board) and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG). 

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Lindsay Kotchey

Instructor, Forensic Biology Program

Lindsay Loughner Kotchey graduated from Duquesne University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (2018) and Master of Science degree in Forensic Science and Law (2019). Starting during her graduate year, she was contracted by the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner in Pittsburgh, PA as a Forensic Accreditation Specialist. She worked to prepare the Morgue Operations for accreditation to ISO 17020 and NAME standards. After graduation, Lindsay began working for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Dover, DE. She held roles as DNA Technician and DNA Analyst during her 3.5 year tenure. As part of the Past Accounting Section, Lindsay helped to identify human remains from past military conflicts by performing independent casework on various sample types (bone, teeth), DNA extractions, PCR amplifications, NGS library preparations, DNA data analysis and interpretation, report writing in mtDNA technologies (Sanger & Next Generation Sequencing) and technical review. Lindsay has also served as a technical expert in mtDNA analysis and Next Generation Sequencing technology for external ANAB audits. Lindsay is currently a Forensic Biologist II at the CFSRE.

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Judith Rodriguez Salas

Program Coodinator, Forensic Biology & Toxicology Program

Judith Rodriguez serves as laboratory support assistant and STEM coordinator at CFSRE assisting in all laboratory necessities, developing STEM classes and laboratory activities for surrounding schools in the Philadelphia area. She also serves as the ITAD program administrator and Instrumental Analysis lab teacher for Thomas Jefferson University and Arcadia University 1st year students.

Judith Rodriguez graduated from the University of Maine at Augusta in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. In 2018, she obtained her Master of Science in Forensic Science from Arcadia University, focusing on forensic biology through her research in a Method Development of Direct Quantification for Sexual Assault Samples to be Incorporated in the Direct PCR Workflow. She also focused on forensic toxicology through her internship at the CFSRE. After the completion of her degree, she worked as the forensic toxicology mentor for the Forensic Science Mentoring Institute class of Summer 2018, in which she is reprising her role for the Summer 2023.

She has been working as the International Toxic Adulterant Database (ITAD) program administrator as a liaison between laboratories around the world, collecting data and managing the website where all data about the toxic adulterants identified in seized drug material are displayed. Judith also worked on the African Wildlife Forensic program. She assists the lab manager in making sure the laboratory has everything that is needed to run and instruments are in good working condition. She also acts as the in-house Lab Safety Officer.

As the STEM coordinator, she is working on forensic science outreach, bringing forensic science to middle and high schools in the Philadelphia area. She also organizes field trips for students to come to CFSRE and perform laboratory experiments on the different forensic science fields.