Sparty Statue

Faculty Bios

David R. Foran, Ph.D.
Director and Professor
Forensic Biology

David Foran is the director of the Forensic Science Program at Michigan State University, housed within the School of Criminal Justice, and with ties to departments throughout the University. He obtained his PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Michigan, and was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal. He became a research associate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and then an assistant professor in the Forensic Science Department at the George Washington University in Washington DC, where he developed the forensic biology laboratory.

Dr. Foran founded the Forensic Biology Laboratory and graduate track at MSU in 2002, and became Program director in 2004. Dr. Foran’s area of expertise is forensic biology, with an accent on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis of both humans and domestic and wildlife species. He and his graduate students aid a variety of local, state, and federal agencies with specialized casework, are advisors to the Michigan Innocence Project, and conduct research on historical cases of broad interest.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, is on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Forensic Sciences, and is court qualified as an expert on both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA profiling.


Ruth W. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Forensic Chemistry
After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Analytical Chemical Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, NM), Ruth Waddell Smith moved to Michigan State University where she is currently an associate professor of Forensic Chemistry in the Forensic Science Program. Her current research interests include the application of multivariate statistical procedures for the association and discrimination of various types of forensic evidence, including fire debris, controlled substances, and questioned documents.