Foremost DNA expert in U.S. to lead Griffin Bell Lecture

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AMERICUS — Greg Hampikian, Ph.D., a leading DNA expert in the U.S. and co-author of “Exit to Freedom,” is the featured speaker for Georgia Southwestern State University’s Griffin B. Bell Lecture will be held April 15. The event begins at 11 a.m. in the Nursing Auditorium of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex.

This event is free and open to the public.

Hampikian has a joint appointment in the Departments of Biology and Criminal Justice at Boise State University (BSU). He is best known as the volunteer forensic DNA expert on Innocence Network cases around the world including that of Amanda Knox. Hampikian has helped with more than a dozen exonerations and has worked on hundreds of cases. He also works with police on cold cases and recently worked with French police to solve a 10-year-old mystery using a novel DNA technique that was published in the “Journal of Forensic Science” in April 2014.

Hampikian is the founder and director of the Idaho Innocence Project at BSU, and he helped establish the Georgia Innocence Project, the Irish Innocence Project and the Innocence Project France. His research on subjectivity and bias in forensic DNA was featured in the “Economist” and “New Scientist;” and his “New York Times” op-eds, “Men Who Needs Them? (2012)” and “When May I Shoot a Student (2014)” both rose to the top of the Times most shared lists. His work has been covered by Anderson Cooper, the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Dateline,” “Nightline,” “20-20,” “Time,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “Fortune,” “Nature,” and the “Irish Times.” His book “Exit to Freedom” co-written with Georgia exoneree Calvin Johnson, chronicles Jonson’s 17-year fight to prove his innocence using DNA.

In 2013, Hampikian was inducted as a charter fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. His DNA research covers a wide range of topics including pioneering work on the smallest sequences absent from nature that he has termed Nullomers. Using these Nullomers, Hampikian has invented a method of tagging DNA samples to prevent contamination of forensic evidence.