Forensic Nexus Q/A Sessions with a Crime Laboratory Director


Forensic Nexus would like to introduce you to Dr. Roger Kahn of Houston, Texas, who kindly agreed to being interviewed to share his career path. We asked him the following questions:


What is your area of expertise/forensic discipline?

Forensic Genetics, Biology and Crime Laboratory Management.


Where do you work as a forensic scientist?

I am the Director of Forensic Genetics at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (aka the Medical Examiner’s Office) in Houston, Texas.


What is your typical work day like?

This is a medium/large DNA laboratory with managers who supervise teams of staff members working in serology, DNA operations, DNA interpretation and QA/Compliance/R&D. As you might imagine, there are many casework, QA and personnel matters that need my attention each day. I also review cases and guide troubleshooting and research.

We are just beginning to conduct molecular genetics activity to support the medical examiners. We’re developing a next generation chip-sequencing tool for cardiac channelopathies.


What inspired you to pursue this career?

I began when forensic DNA testing was in its infancy. I worked with purified DNA routinely in my graduate work, studying its properties and investigating its recombination and repair. I found the idea of using my experience to assist the justice system very appealing.


What is your academic background?

I have a Ph.D. in human genetics from Yale University.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the challenge of keeping a large laboratory running smoothly. Mentoring young staff members, working to contribute to ever-improving methodologies, doing the best possible analyses on the evidence we receive, all of these things are truly enjoyable and I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to the justice system in an effective and beneficial way.


What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?

Prepare for a career in science before you work on the specialty topics in forensic science. Take rigorous basic science courses, pursue a thesis-based graduate degree and craft the strongest possible resume with the best possible GPA


Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Dr. Kahn story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Dr. Kahn and post his responses.

Forensic Nexus would like to thank Dr. Kahn for his participation. He has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.

Contact us at for more information about mentorship.

Every Monday we will be spotlighting forensic professionals. To contribute your story, please visit this link.

Till next week!

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