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New Scientist Award given to Hamilton County scientist

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (Deb Dixon) -- It may seem Emily Weber has curious interests for a 20-something-year-old.

For her, finding GSR, or gunshot residue, is fun and rewarding.  She's a real CSI at the Hamilton County Coroner's crime lab and other forensic scientists have picked her for a prestigious "New Scientist" award. Selected by other scientists in the Midwest because of the research she's doing at the crime lab, that's making a difference across the country.
She was a teenager in Beavercreek Ohio interested in murder mystery books, police work and science.  All those elements are part of her work as a forensic scientist now. 

When an investigator asked her how much gunshot residue would travel with a bullet if it were shot through a window Emily couldn't find the answer.  So she's researching it.  Another research project is changing how investigators work arson scenes.

She's testified in court 13 times about yet another project  that has to do with gunshot resident on the hands of police officers.
Emily says at crime scenes, "Officers collect evidence, and we want to make sure they didn't have gunshot residue on their hands that could contaminate evidence or transfer to a suspect."

The question came up in a trial.  A defense attorney suggested that because officers use and carry guns, they also carry gunshot residue on their hands.
Emily's research shows that really doesn't happen and her research is being used in courtrooms across the country.  Crime Lab Director Mike Trimpe says the lab has several research projects going on now. 

"We're not here to help prosecutors or defense attorneys, we're here to find the truth," says Trimpe.
The "New Scientist" award is for a scientist who has made an impact in forensic science in the first five years on the job.  Weber says she is humbled by the award, and grateful to those who nominated her.

Follow Deborah Dixon on Twitter @crimestopperdeb and LIKE her on Facebook




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