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Casper H. Venter, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, Associate Professor

Background 

Dr. Venter is a non-tenured, clinical associate professor in the department, teaching forensic related courses on both undergraduate and graduate level. He also serves as a graduate faculty for multiple research projects.

Dr. Venter obtained his first degree in Analytical Chemistry (1992) and advanced degrees in both Chemistry (1994) and Laboratory Management (2002), respectively, from the Technical University Pretoria. He completed a Master’s of Science degree in Biochemistry (2010) from North West University and, a Doctor in Philosophy in Law (2020) from the University of South Africa.

Dr. Venter started his career in law enforcement when he joined the South African Police Service in 1988, where he completed basic and advance police training through the police academy. He was assigned to the forensic science laboratory in 1989 as an assistant forensic analyst trainee. On completion of his first degree in 1992 he was assigned to the forensic drug chemistry section as an assistant forensic analyst in Pretoria, and in 1995 he received a supervisory role and start a decentralized forensic drug section in Cape Town, South Africa.

During his 22 years as a forensic drug practitioner, he examined more than five thousand drug related cases, investigated clandestine laboratories for 13 years and testified as an expert witness for 17 years, trained and supervised multiple scientists. He was a member of clandestine laboratory investigation for chemists (CLIC) from 1997 until 2010 and attended three of their international technical training seminars. He presented on the following conferences: National Conference on Crack/Cocaine 1995, National Conference on Ecstasy 1996, first African Forensic Conference 2003 and National Industrial Chemical Monitoring conferences 2006 and 2010.

Before joining the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science at West Virginia University, he was the training, health and safety and crime scene manager in the chemistry department of the Forensic Science Laboratory.

Dr. Venter started his academic career as a Faculty Equivalent Academic Professional (FEAP) in 2010, and was later appointed as a clinical assistant professor (Director of Forensic Facilities) in 2014. He was promoted to Clinical Associate Professor in 2018. He served as interim department chair for almost two years, before his appointment as current chair of the Department in 2021.

In his academic career he developed and teach multiple forensic courses on graduate and undergraduate level, serves on multiple graduate committees and conducted undergraduate research.

Dr. Venter also serves as committee member of the OSAC sub-committee on Seized Drugs since 2018, where the group establishes new national ASTM standards for practitioners in seized drug crime laboratories through NIST.