April 2022 Meeting

Speaker: Glen P. Jackson, West Virginia University

Topic: Hair Reveals what People Conceal: Biometric Traits from the Chemical Analysis of Human Hair

Date: Monday, April 18, 2022

Time: 6:15 pm Dinner, 7:15 pm Presentation

Location: Shimadzu Scientific Instrument, Inc. Training Center 7100 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, MD 21046 (Directions)
This will be an in-person meeting. Attendees are required to show a vaccine card (either at the door or in advance using the web form) . If you have submitted your vaccine card before, your status is already recorded.

Dinner: Please RSVP to Dapeng Chen (cdpumd@gmail.com) by Friday, April 15th if you will be attending the dinner.

Abstract: This presentation reveals the profound ways in which isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) can provide information about the geographic origin and history of almost everything around us, including our fellow humans. The presentation explains, from an atomic/isotopic perspective, the ways in which we are literally what we eat. The talk also explains how researchers use IRMS measurements of hair to determine the geographic origin and travel histories of animals and humans.
Building upon these established capabilities, our research develops the ability to objectively classify the hair of different human donors into soft biometric grouping factors such as biological sex and alcohol consumption or to predict continuous variables like age. Classification is accomplished either through the quantitation of amino acids in the shafts of human hair, which is comprised mainly of structural proteins named keratins, or through the precise measurement of naturally occurring stable isotopes of 13C/12C of each amino acid in the hair shafts. Our work also demonstrates that amino-acid-specific analysis of human hair can predict type II diabetes in the donors. In other, unrelated applications, we use the same methodology to link individual blowflies to their carrion (flesh) diet and to link Eastern oysters to their harvesting areas.