"I originally designed this project in forensic dentistry in order to write a senior thesis on it. When I heard about the Scholars program and that I could be acknowledged for my work, or even published, I knew I wanted to be apart of this. I hope to become proficient in the 3D laser scanner and the accompanying software, learn more about different dental techniques, as well as discover the different (possibly non-traditional) career opportunities available once I graduate from dental school."
I am currently a criminology major on a pre-dental track. During my years at UF I have taken the required science courses as well as many classes about law and crime. I have been researching at the McKnight Brain Institute labratories, studying different properties of proteins. I am also researching a new laser technology (for the USP), to test its accuracy to be used in bitemark analysis for evidentiary purposes in criminal cases and human identification after mass tragedies.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
ZTA Linedance Philanthropy: Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Gator Teen Mentors.
Hobbies and Interests
- Intramural sports, wakeboarding, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
Emerging Technology for Bitemark Comparisons
Biomechanical forces of the biting apparatus leave a 3-dimensional patterned deformation in a substrate, usually skin. The strength of the bite will determine the dimensionality of the impression left in the skin. Comparison of the biter to the bitemark is typically accomplished via a 2-dimensional comparison of the biting surfaces of the teeth to an image of the bite. The current gold standard utilizes Adobe™ Photoshop to generate acetate overlays of the biting edges of the teeth for comparison to a 1:1 image of the bite. One criticism inherent with this technique is the imprecision of the 2-dimensionality comparison. Depending on the dynamics of the biting process, the teeth will imprint with a degree of variability in the substrate. This can be compensated for by utilizing 3-D laser scanning of the dentition and fabricating an incremental series of overlays relative to the depth of the bite. The current methodology is to fabricate a stone dental model of the dentition from polyvinyl-siloxane impression of the teeth. Then, through selective 1 mm grinding away of the biting edges of the model teeth, a series of pseudo-3-dimensional overlays can be created. This method is slow, messy and destroys the evidence. An alternative method is to create multiple sequential overlays to show the morphological characteristics of the teeth at different depths in the bite by controlled virtual sectioning of the model with the 3-D laser. Then Photoshop can be used to show the best fit(s) of the dentition to the bitemark. One can also show the sequence of the depth of the teeth in the bite itself. This technique can provide a valuable tool for forensic investigators, law enforcement and attorneys to more accurately evaluate and understand bitemark evidence.