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Jeffrey D Wells

Title: Assoc. Professor; Graduate Program Director and Advisor for the Masters of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS)

Phone: 305-348-1320

Email: jedwell@fiu.edu

Department(s): Biological Sciences

Education

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago.
M.S. Washington State University.
B.A. University of Washington.

Research Areas

Dr. Wells’ research concerns the development of new genotyping methods and statistical analyses for forensic biology and insect evolution. Current research projects include 1) novel protocols for human identity and paternity testing, 2) population genetics of forensically important insects, 3) biosystematics of the fly superfamily Oestroidea, and 3) statistical methods for estimating time of death.

Most of our research concerns the biology and forensic science applications of carrion-feeding insects.  Some of these species may have evolved quite rapidly in response to human modification of the environment, and we are investigating this with a combination of molecular systematics and evo-devo approaches.  The population genetic structure of these insects is little known, so we conduct population genetic surveys aimed at several questions.  The chief forensic science utility of carrion insects is in estimating time of death. We develop statistical methods for placing a probability on a time-since-death estimate using insects alone or in combination with other types of postmortem decay data.

Selected Publications

  • Wells, J.D, Linville JG. in press. Overview [of forensic DNA methods]. in Siegel JA, Saukko P (eds)Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Elsevier.
  • Picard, C.J. and J.D. Wells. 2012. A test for carrion fly full siblings: a tool for detecting postmortem relocation of a corpse. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 57:535-538.
  • Singh, B., Kurahashi, H., Wells, J.D. 2011. Molecular phylogeny of the Chrysomya. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 25: 126-134.
  • Wells, J.D., J.R. Stevens. 2008. Applications of DNA-based methods in forensic entomology. Annual Review of Entomology 53:103-120.
  • Wells, J.D. and D.W. Williams. 2007. Validation of a DNA-based method for identifying Chrysomyinae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) used in a death investigation. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 121:1-8.
  • Wells, J.D. and L.R. LaMotte. 2001. Estimating the postmortem interval. pp. 263-285 in Byrd, J. and Castner, J.L. (eds.) Forensic Entomology: The Utility of Arthropods in Legal Investigations. CRC Press.
  • LaMotte, L.R. & J.D. Wells. 2000. P-values for postmortem intervals from arthropod succession data. Journal of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Statistics 5:58-68.