Candice Bridge, Ph.D., a Professor at the University of Central Florida (UCF), was awarded a $324,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to develop new forensic science techniques to aid in sexual assault investigations.
“This grant will enable us to conduct research into a unique new means of identifying perpetrators of sexual assault when traditional DNA evidence doesn’t exist,” says Dr. Bridge. “It’s an important line of research that has become even more important as rapists attempt to elude capture by covering their DNA tracks after an assault” she adds.
Dr. Bridge earned her PhD at the age of 25 and was one of the first people with a forensic PhD in the country. She was also the first Black woman to teach Chemistry at Howard University and the University of Central Florida.
Dr. Bridge will be working with instrumentation currently only available to the FBI and a limited number of federal and state forensic laboratories, to investigate ways to identify rapists by means other than DNA evidence. Bridge works alongside her research group of 11 students that investigate lubricants used in sexual assault in addition to research in the areas of drugs, toxicology and gunshot residue.
“An award from the NIJ in forensic science is particularly significant as it’s the primary agency for advancing forensic science through research,” says Bridge.
To pursue the innovative research, Bridge conducted preliminary research to demonstrate to NIJ that there is ample information to…