Young Investigator Adam Staadig on forensic genetics
4. What do you find most interesting about your project? Have you seen any surprising results?
The most interesting part of my research is that the results are directly applicable to actual cases. My research can lead to methodological improvements that truly can make a difference to individuals and society.
5. What are the benefits of your project?
The overall aim is to increase the information and precision in forensic genetics which is quite a broad spectrum. The research will be helpful and hopefully bring an answer to so-called cold cases that cannot be solved today. Increased information can be achieved as a result of the new forensic panels like the microhaplotype or the QIAseq panel. Furthermore, greater precision can be achieved due to the MPS-based allele frequency database. These improvements can hopefully provide more power to the legal community when DNA is used as evidence.
6. What are the major challenges faced while working on your project and how do you overcome them?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges has been the Covid-19 pandemic. It has led to difficulties collecting samples from the Swedish population for the allele frequency project since we are collecting samples via the Swedish health care system and voluntary blood donors. Instead, we have decided to perform other studies in the meantime that also will be of great importance for my overall Ph.D. project. Besides those practical issues, there were some challenges when analyzing the microhaplotype panel. Microhaplotypes consist of multiple SNPs from a specific region and this makes the interpretation slightly different from traditional SNP analysis. However, after deeper study of the software, I managed to assemble all the data.
7. Which QIAGEN products do you use and what do you like about the products?
For the microhaplotype panel, I used the GeneRead DNAseq Panel PCR Kit V2 which is a kit used for preparation of DNA libraries for MPS. For the next project, the QIAseq Targeted DNA Panel will be examined. Also, I will use the QIAGEN CLC Genomics Workbench which will be helpful when analyzing that high number of SNPs and to evaluate the UMIs. In addition, I also used the CLC Biomedical Genomics Analysis software for evaluating the microhaplotype panel. Since MPS results consist of such a large amount of data, a user-friendly software is necessary.
8. Outside of forensic science, what are your hobbies?
I am a sports person and I really like cross country skiing and running. Most of my free time is spent in the gym or outdoor training for some running or skiing competition. The biggest challenge was the Nordenskiöldsloppet, the world’s longest and toughest cross-country ski race with 220 km skiing above the Arctic Circle in the northern part of Sweden. That was truly a challenging, and in some way also a “joyful” experience.
Meet Adam in the virtual world when you join us at the Virtual Investigator Forum. Listen to his presentation about ways to increase precision in forensic genetic investigations through best-practice analysis of the limited quantity and quality of DNA in forensic cases.