About Our Faculty

Keynote

Itiel Dror

Itiel Dror, Ph.D.

Consultant and Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience,
University College London

Itiel Dror (PhD Harvard) is a cognitive neuroscientist who is interested in the cognitive architecture that underpins expert decision making. Dror's research, published in over 150 research articles, demonstrated how contextual information can influence judgments and decision making of experts.

He has worked in a variety of domains, from policing and aviation to medical experts and bankers, showing that even hard working and competent experts can make unintentional errors in evaluating data. In the forensic domain, he has shown biases in forensic decision making, including forensic pathology, fingerprinting and DNA.

Dror has worked with many agencies in various countries to minimize error and enhance decision making.

Speakers and Panelists

Ann Burgess

Ann Wolbert Burgess, DNSc, APRN, FAAN

Professor, Connell School of Nursing, Boston College

Ann Wolbert Burgess is a professor of psychiatric mental health nursing at Boston College's Connell School of Nursing and professor emerita of the University of Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor's and doctoral degrees from Boston University and her master's degree from the University of Maryland. Prof. Burgess, with Lynda Lytle Holmstrom of Boston College, co-founded one of the first hospital-based crisis intervention programs for rape victims at Boston City Hospital. She was elected to the American Academy of Nursing in 1977 and to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in 1994, and chaired the 1996 National Research Council's Task Force on Violence Against Women. Prof. Burgess helped write an online course in military sexual trauma as a visiting professor at the Uniform Services University of the Health Science in Bethesda in 2014. Her current research projects are on Non-Fatal Strangulation and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Native American Women and Girls.

Joye Carter Rush

Joye M. Carter Rush, MD

Forensic Pathology Consultant, Author, Lecturer

Dr. Joye M Carter Rush has been a forensic pathologist for several decades and a practicing physician for more than 39 years. Dr. Carter Rush was the first Black American to be named a Chief Medical Examiner (1992) in the history of the US. She was also the first graduate of Howard University College of Medicine to become board certified in the specialty of Forensic Pathology.

Dr. Carter Rush has enjoyed a long history in the field of forensic pathology, beginning with serving as a USAF officer while a medical student to being one of the Deputy Chiefs of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Department. She has served as the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia and Houston, Texas.

Dr. Carter Rush has worked as a consultant and case reviewer since her early days of training. She consulted for the prosecution of Officer Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

Dr. Carter Rush is a nature lover and enjoys bird photography as well as a huge dog lover. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, where she continues to mentor students, consult on interesting cases, and is engaged in writing her memoirs.

Gregory Cooper

Gregory M. Cooper, MS

Founder and Executive Director,
Cold Case Foundation;

Special Agent, FBI (Ret.)

Gregory Cooper has over 40 years of expertise as the Executive Director and Founder of the Cold Case Foundation, an FBI Profiler, Unit Chief of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, Instructor FBI National Academy, Chief of Police, DHS Federal Law Enforcement Administrator, Police Training/Instructor, University/College Professor, and an International and Domestic Threat Assessment Advisor. He is an expert in Criminal Profiling, Prescriptive Interviewing and Interrogation, Investigations, and Multi-Agency Investigative Task Force consultation. Cooper has given Expert Witness testimony and consults on his work in serial crimes, homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism, political corruption, white collar crime, product tampering, abduction, arson, bombing workplace violence, stalking and false allegations.

Cooper is a published author on a series of law enforcement topics. His work as an expert witness in criminal investigative analysis was highlighted in John Douglas's New York Times best seller Mind Hunter, linking multiple homicides from separate jurisdiction to a single killer. He has also appeared most recently in "The Confession Killer" on Netflix in 2019.

Rana DellaRocco

Rana A. DellaRocco, MS, MPA, ABC-MB

Chief, Forensic Science and Evidence Services Division,
Baltimore Police Department

Rana DellaRocco serves as the Chief of Science and Evidence in the Forensic Science and Evidence Management Division of the 8th largest police department in the nation in Baltimore City. She holds a BS in Biology, an MS in Forensic DNA and Serology, and an MPA in Public Administration which she earned as part of a fellowship. She is an adjunct professor and instructor at three universities in the Baltimore area and has over two decades of experience in forensic science and management.

Beginning her career as a crime scene tech and working her way up to becoming the first female Director and then Chief in the division's history, she has experience in crime scene work, serology, forensic DNA, quality management and executive leadership. She is board certified in Molecular Biology through the American Board of Criminalistics and is a member of or serves on the board of several forensic science organizations.

Active in mentorship, outreach and service, she is committed to promoting equity and diversity in science in the classroom, the lab and the community.

Stacy Drake

Stacy A. Drake, PhD, MPH, RN, D-ABMDI,
AFN-BC, FAAN

Stacey Drake Consluting, LLC

Dr. Stacy A. Drake is a nationally recognized nurse scholar in medicolegal death investigations. Her career path focuses on impacting populations at risk through the reduction of preventable causes of death through collaborative research, education, and active practical involvement.These efforts have resulted in several co-authored peer-reviewed manuscripts, presentations, and collaborations. She is actively involved within the community of medicolegal death investigation, translating her findings into addressing the health and safety of death investigators and identifying opportunities for improvement within the system. Her research has added value to patient safety and healthcare quality improvement efforts, as well as adding necessary education surrounding the overlap between the medicolegal death investigation and healthcare systems.

Kenneth Jones

Kenneth Jones, MS, ABC-MB

Acting Laboratory Director,
Baltimore Police Department - Laboratory Section

Kenneth Jones is deputy director of analytical sciences in the Baltimore Police Department's Forensic Laboratory Section, where he manages and oversees daily operations of the forensic biology, trace analysis, questioned documents and drug analysis units, in addition to various other administrative duties. In previous roles there, he acted as unit supervisor, DNA technical leader, DNA analyst and serologist for the Trace Analysis/Biology Unit. Mr. Jones earned his B.S. in biochemistry magna cum laude from Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and his M.S. in forensic science from Towson University in Towson, MD, and has completed credits toward a degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He has also served as an intern with the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory and as a graduate assistant at Towson University. Among Mr. Jones's qualifications are as a Certified Forensic Manager I by the National Forensic Science Academy, and as a regular member of both the International Association for Identification and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists. He has also received extensive on-the-job training in such areas as bloodstain pattern analysis, trace evidence collection methods and forensic hair examination. Mr. Jones has also been qualified as an expert witness numerous time in Baltimore City Circuit Court, U.S. Federal District Court in Maryland.

Pamela Marshall

Pamela Marshall, PhD

Director and Associate Teaching Professor,
Forensic Science and Law Program,
The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law,
Duquesne University

Pamela Marshall has been involved in the field of forensic analysis since 2002. Upon completion of her MS in forensic genetics in 2002, she worked as a Forensic Scientist III at the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division. While there, Dr. Marshall became an expert on sexual assault kit examination and collection practices. She was the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) coordinator for the state, helping to promote 120-hour SAFE collection legislation and assisting in the training of over 200 SAFE nurses. Dr. Marshall has also travelled abroad to Luanda, Angola, Africa to train analysts in forensic DNA analysis. She has been qualified as an expert witness in the fields of serology and DNA in Maryland, West Virginia and Texas.

From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Marshall served as director of the Forensic Science Program at the Southern University at New Orleans, a public, historically black college and university. While there, she created a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory for hands-on research and experimentation. She is an advocate for increasing the number of Black and underrepresented minority professionals in the field of forensic science.

In July 2018, Dr. Marshall became director of the Forensic Science and Law Program at Duquesne University. In 2019, Dr. Marshall became director of the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. Her research interests include low copy number DNA, human and wildlife DNA identification challenges, nanoparticle technology, pressure cycling technology, and PCR enhancement. Dr. Marshall has numerous publications and frequently presents at meetings, conferences and trainings.

Joseph Scott Morgan

Joseph Scott Morgan, MFS, F-ABMDI

Distinguished Scholar of Applied Forensics,
Jacksonville State University

Joseph Scott Morgan began working for the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in New Orleans in 1985, where he became the youngest medicolegal death investigator in the United States. Over the course of a 20-year career spent in New Orleans and Atlanta, he would lead investigations into some of the most violent and bizarre deaths in the South. During his tenure as the senior investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner in Atlanta, Prof. Morgan helped establish the national training guidelines for medicolegal death investigators. He is an original member of the U.S. Department of Justice-sponsored Milwaukee Task Force for Medicolegal Death Investigation Training, and in 2002, became the 27th investigator nationally to attain "fellow" status through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. Prof. Morgan is the distinguished scholar of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University, where he holds the faculty rank of associate professor. His primary area of research interest centers on the U.S. coroner system, coroner training guidelines, and the impact of practice on the medicolegal community. Prof. Morgan is the host of the podcast, "Body Bags with Joseph Scott Morgan."

Victor Petreca

Victor Petreca, PhD, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Assistant Professor/Program Director,
Psychiatric-Mental 
Health Nurse Practitioner Program,
Boston College

Dr. Victor Petreca is an Assistant Professor at the Boston College William Connell School of Nursing. He is a board-certified Advanced Practice Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and currently licensed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine. He has extensive experience in psychiatry (including forensics and personality disorders), correctional healthcare, psychopharmacology and risk assessment.

His research focuses on forensic psychiatry and nursing, examining issues related to victimology, sexual offending, violent behavior (e.g. dismemberment, mutilation, strangulation). His research is also funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to explore jail diversion programs for those with severe mental illnesses. In his clinical work, he has performed psychiatric evaluations and managed the mental health care of individuals in over 7 correctional facilities. He also performs psychiatric evaluations and psychopharmacological management for individuals who are under supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as they reintegrate into society.

Dr. Petreca received his PhD from Boston College, Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a Master of Science degree in nursing from the MGH institute of Health Professions, and Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences/Medical Technology from Eastern Michigan University.

Jon Pushinsky

Jon Pushinsky, JD, MA

Private Attorney

Jon Pushinsky obtained his BA and MA degrees in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He was awarded a JD degree by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979. Mr. Pushinsky maintains a private practice in Pittsburgh, where he concentrates in the areas of civil rights/civil liberties and appellate litigation. He practices before all levels of the state and federal courts. Mr. Pushinsky has litigated numerous cases involving employment, housing and education discrimination, police misconduct, separation of church and state and free speech issues. He was nominated for an appointment to the Pennsylvania Superior Court by the acting governor in 1993, and is the recipient of the United Jewish Federation's 1997 Sonia and Aaron Levinson Community Relations Award for his demonstrated leadership in advancing intergroup relations and social justice. Mr. Pushinsky was also awarded the 1991 Annual Civil Liberties Award of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. He is a frequent lecturer on civil rights and civil liberties topics.

Katherine Ramsland

Katherine Ramsland, PhD

Professor of Forensic Psychology,
DeSales 
University;
Author

Dr. Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Provost. She has appeared as an expert in criminal psychology on more than 200 crime documentaries and magazine shows, is an executive producer of Murder House Flip, and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. The author of more than 1,500 articles and 69 books, including The Forensic Science of CSI, The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, and Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer, she was co-executive producer for the Wolf Entertainment/A&E four-part documentary based on the years she spent talking with Rader. Ramsland consults on death investigations, pens a blog for Psychology Today, and is currently writing a fiction series based on a female forensic psychologist who manages a private investigation agency. The first one, I Scream Man, will be published in September 2022.

David Rivers

David Rivers, PhD

Professor of Biology, Director of Forensic Studies,
Graduate Director, Forensic Pattern Analysis,
Department of Biology, Loyola University Maryland

David Rivers is Professor of Biology, Director of Forensic Studies and Graduate Director of Forensic Pattern Analysis at Loyola University Maryland. He received his B.S. in Biology from Ball State University, a Ph.D. in Entomology with a concentration in Insect Physiology from the Ohio State University, and was a NIH post-doctoral fellow in Cellular and Molecular Parasitology at the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the North American Forensic Entomology Association, Entomological Society of America, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Council of Forensic Science Educators, Cold Case Foundation, and Super Sleuths. Dr. Rivers has published over 80 research articles, book chapters, and reviews and is author or editor of 4 books, including the critically acclaimed textbook The Science of Forensic Entomology. He conducts research and provides legal expertise in several areas involving necrophagous flies and parasitic wasps.

Mark Safarik

Mark Safarik, MS, VSM

Supervisory Special Agent,
Behavioral 
Analysis Unit, FBI (Ret.);
President, 
Forensic Behavioral Services Inc.

Mark Safarik was a senior member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, during which time he established himself as an internationally recognized expert in the analysis and interpretation of violent criminal behavior.

Mr. Safarik has a graduate degree from Boston University and is adjunct faculty at Boston College. He is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and former faculty member of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. He has conducted internationally renowned research on the sexual assault and homicide of elderly females and received the prestigious Jefferson Medal from the University of Virginia for this groundbreaking work.

Mr. Safarik has reviewed and consulted on thousands of national and international crimes of violence including all types of homicide; serial, mass, spree, and multiple murders, sexual assault, and equivocal death analysis. His expert testimony has been utilized by attorneys in both criminal and civil courts. He has lent his expert case work to understand many of the world's most infamous people including Robert Lee Yates, the Spokane Serial Killer, the Bakersfield mass murderer, the Dating Game Killer Rodney Alcala, serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, female serial killer Sheila LaBarre, family mass murderer Christopher Coleman, Scotland's World's End serial killer Angus Sinclair, and three high profile California police homicides.

Alon Steinberg

Dr. Alon Steinberg, MD

Cardiologist, Cardiology Associates Medical Group;
Expert Consultant, Reviewer and Witness

Dr. Alon Steinberg is a Cardiologist and the current Chair of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Western University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Steinberg has been expert reviewer and consultant for the Medical Board of California and testified for the state in the Conrad Murray versus State of California trial regarding the standard of care for a Cardiologist (Michael Jackson death trial).

Dr. Steinberg has an interest in cause of prone restraint deaths and published last year Prone restraint cardiac arrest: A comprehensive review of the scientific literature and an explanation of the physiology in Medicine, Science and the Law. He co-wrote recent publication Prone restraint cardiac arrest in in‐custody and arrest‐related deaths published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in July 2022.

Cyril Wecht

Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD

Forensic Pathology Consultant, Author and Lecturer

Cyril H. Wecht is a medical-legal and forensic science consultant, author and lecturer who served the people of Allegheny County as their elected coroner for 20 years. He has performed approximately 19,000 autopsies and reviewed or been consulted on approximately 39,000 additional postmortem examinations, including cases in several foreign countries.

Dr. Wecht holds various faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Carlow University. He is the author or co-author of more than 585 professional publications and editor or co-editor of 46 books, as well as co-author of the popular non-fiction books Cause of Death, Grave Secrets, Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey?, Mortal Evidence and Tales from the Morgue. Dr. Wecht frequently appears as a guest on national TV and radio shows to discuss various medical-legal and scientific subjects. He has served as president of the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Academy of Forensic Science, as well as chairman of the boards of trustees of both the American Board of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation.

Dr. Wecht is certified by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology, and is a fellow of the College of American Pathologists, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the National Association of Medical Examiners. Formerly chairman of the Department of Pathology and president of the medical staff at St. Francis Central Hospital in Pittsburgh, he received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his law degree from the University of Maryland.