Specialties: Forensic Genetics and Population Genetics
Dr. Iyengar joined the faculty of the Department of Forensic & Investigative Science in West Virginia University in the fall of 2021. After obtaining a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Southampton in the UK many years ago, she carried out post-doctoral research in the UK and Germany on diverse topics ranging from cancer genetics to conservation genetics. Her education in genetics and my experience with using low quality, non-invasive, and ancient DNA samples for conservation genetics projects helped me get my first faculty position within a large forensics department in the UK in 2005. Dr. Iyengar has remained in the field of forensic science ever since. She has taught forensic and conservation genetics to undergraduate and graduate students in the UK until 2017 after which Dr. Iyengar moved to the USA. After a short stint teaching forensic biology to graduate students at University at Albany, SUNY, she is now at WVU in ‘wild and wonderful’ West Virginia.
At WVU, Dr. Iyengar is developing projects using both human and non-human DNA. The recent purchase of a Verogen MiSeq FGx Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) system for the forensic biology laboratories will allow us to use both traditional Capillary Electrophoresis (CE) based methods alongside modern NGS-based methods. Current projects include optimizing methodology for challenging samples such as degraded and low-template DNA, developing methodology for body fluid identification and non-human trace DNA, and generating population genetic data for diverse populations.