Rachel M. Mohr, Ph.D.
Dr. Mohr is interested in understanding how and why adult insects, specifically blow flies, are attracted to carrion. This includes both how the physiology of the fly affects its reaction to carrion, and how different species use the same carrion cues to find and exploit specific pieces of carrion in widely varying environments. She is also interested in understanding how so many blow fly species with similar ecological niches can persist and coexist in the greater environment.
From an applied perspective, understanding the mechanisms by which adult insects find carrion means that a forensic entomologist can more accurately estimate time since death. This can be particularly significant in cases where insects have limited access to bodies, such as those found buried, indoors, or inside closed vehicles.
Dr. Mohr earned her B.S. in entomology at Texas A&M University and her M.S. in entomology at the University of California at Riverside, where she focused on medical and veterinary issues. She returned to Texas A&M for her Ph.D. under Dr. Jeffery Tomberlin. While there, she proposed a new framework and new terminology for use in describing the ecological interaction of insects and carrion, which was published in the Annual Review of Entomology in 2011. She also developed, as part of her dissertation work, a new technique for estimating post-mortem interval using the physiological age of the blow flies Cochliomyia macellaria and Chrysomya rufifacies. She also earned her forensic technician certification through the Texas Forensic Science Academy.
She has worked on a variety of both civil and criminal casework since 2008. In 2012, she earned certification by the American Board of Forensic Entomology. She is currently the only certified forensic entomologist working in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States.