Texas Tech University

Dr. Paola A. Prada

Title:Research Assistant Professor

Education:Postdoctoral Appointment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence US Government Fellowship, 2010-2012; Ph.D., Florida International University, 2010

Research Area:Forensic Analytical Chemistry

Office:134C Lab:147

Phone: (806) 834-0983 (Main); (806) 796-4937 (Laboratory)

Fax:(806) 743-7932

Email:paola.prada@ttu.edu

Research Group

Research Facility

TEACHING

Graduate Courses:

  • FSCI 5308 - Fundamentals of Forensic Science
  • FSCI 5354 - Introduction to Forensic Drug Chemistry
  • FSCI 5355 - Instrumental methods for Trace Evidence Analysis

Undergraduate Course:

  • FSCI 2308 - Forensic Sciences

PRINCIPAL RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • Chemical odor analysis and detection
  • Biological detection of forensic traces, mainly canine detection
  • Canine olfaction, performance and training techniques

Research efforts in our group are centered in the main scope of "volatolomics", specifically in the analysis of volatile organic compounds from biological as well as other forensic specimens which could yield a chemical odor profile useful for discriminatory and identification purposes. To achieve these objectives, the analytical methods implemented in our laboratory include the use of instrumentation such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and solid phase microextraction that allow the efficient extraction and detection of target analytes with minor sample disturbance. Our particular interest is in understanding the complex odor picture available to the canine nose in the many military and law enforcement applications of working dog canine teams. Additionally, we are focusing our efforts on not only the analytical chemistry component, but also in monitoring canine response and threshold levels with concurrent canine field testing.

This is an image of a canine nose

One major subject of study in our laboratory is that observed in the ares of forensic odorology. A young discipline in the Western hemisphere, this area of forensic science focuses on the evaluation of human odor volatiles as a biometric measurement to discriminate individuals. Using traces of odor to detect and prosecute criminals, establish connections between victim-assailants, and ultimate detection, and preservation is the fundamental reasoning for all our experimental designs. Since the beginning stages of this work, we are now in a position to further exploit a subject's odor profile and target the analysis to extract more information from an odor sample, ranging from questions stemming from disease conditions, addiction, and even geographical origin.

Additionally, we have undertaken a series of new studies to look at both odor profiling and fingerprint development as they relate to sexual assault evidence items. With the emergence of DNA applications, some of the more traditional forensic techniques such as fingerprinting sometimes get shadowed, hence, it is the intent of our approaches to highlight potential sources of new evidentiary tools sampling novel substrates via both powdering and chemical techniques.

REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATIONS

  1. C.L. Sanchez, A.M. Huertas,P.A. Pradaand K.G. Furton, A Non-Contact Passive Approach for the Effective Collectionof Target Explosive Volatiles for Canine Training Aid Development,Journal of Forensic Science andCriminology,2016, 4 (2), ISSN: 2348-9804.
  2. P.A. Prada and M. Chavez Rodriguez. Demining Dogs in Colombia - A Review of Operational Challenges, ChemicalPerspectives, and Practical Implications,Science and Justice,2016, 56: 269-277. DOI: 10.1016/n.scijus.2016.03.002
  3. P.A. Prada, Allison M. Curran, Kenneth G. Furton. Human Scent Evidence, Ed. CRC Press, Boca Raton,2015, ISBN:146658395.

    This is a picture of Dr. Paola A. Prada's book entitled "Human Scent Evidence".
  4. C.L. Sanchez,P.A. Prada, and K.G. Furton. On the importance of training aids and the definiion of an explosive odorsignature: Commentary on Kranz et al.,Forensic Science International,2015, 251: e18-e19
  5. P.A. Prada, A.M. Curran and K.G. Furton. The determination of characteristic human scent compounds on natural andsynthetic fabrics, Journal of Forensic Science and Criminology, 2014, 1: S101.
  6. Jessica S. Brown, P.A. Prada, A.M. Curran and K.G. Furton. Applicability of Emanating Volatile Organic Compoundsfrom Various Forensic Specimens for Individual Differentiation. Forensic Science International, 2013, 226: 173-182.
  7. P.A. Prada, A.M. Curran, K.G. Furton. The Evaluation of Human Hand Odor Volatiles on Various Textiles: AComparison between Contact and Non-Contact Sampling Methods. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2011, 56(4): 866-881.
  8. P.A.Prada, A.M.Curran and K.G. Furton. Comparison of Extraction Methodsfor the Removal of Volatile OrganicCompounds (VOCs) Present in Sorbents Used for Human Scent Evidence Collection. Analytical Methods, 2010, 2: 470-478. (Cover Featured Article)
  9. A.M Curran, P.A.Prada, and K.G. Furton. Canine Human Scent Identifications with Post Blast Debris Collected fromImprovised Explosive Devices, Forensic Science International, 2010, 199: 103-108.
  10. A.M. Curran, P.A.Prada, and K.G. Furton. The Differentiation of the Volatile Organic Signatures of Individualsthrough SPME-GC/MS of Characteristic Human Scent Compounds. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2010, 55(1): 50-57.

This is an image of Dr. Paola A. Prada

Institute for Forensic Science