All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Elizabeth Gardner

Advisory Committee Members

Jesse Hines

Jason Linville

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


Blood is a powerful form of evidence that can provide valuable information about a crime. Most commonly blood is a source of DNA, however, generating a DNA profile can be costly, time consuming, and sometimes is not possible. Consequently, it is important to have methods for gathering additional information from blood evidence. Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy is a method commonly used in confirmatory testing of drugs, fibers, paints, and other substances of forensic interest. This method only requires a small amount of sample, is non-destructive, sample preparation is minimal, and analysis is relatively fast. Recent research into the biological forensic applications of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy has included differentiation between biological fluids, determining sex and species of sample donor, examining how blood changes over time after being deposited as a stain, and gathering information about postmortem interval. The objectives of this research was to use ATR-FTIR spectroscopy to analyze blood from living humans, deceased humans, and living animals to differentiate between species and sex of blood donor, determine the time since deposition of blood as a bloodstain, and estimate postmortem interval. Blood was collected during human autopsies, during routine blood draws from cats and dogs, and via finger pricks from living humans. Blood samples from human autopsies were collected in collaboration with The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Anatomic Pathology Department. The individuals’ sex, age, race, cause of death, medical history, and day of death were recorded. Animal samples were collected by veterinarians at Avondale Animal Hospital in Birmingham, AL from animals having blood drawn for medical testing. The animals’ species, breed, age, sex, and any medical conditions they had were noted. Drops of blood from the decedents and animals were deposited in triplicate onto notecards. Blood was collected from living humans by taking a fingerstick and depositing a drop of blood onto a notecard. All the bloodstains were analyzed using a PerkinElmer Spectrum 100 FTIR Spectrometer with the Universal ATR Sampling Accessory.



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