From the PhD to Criminalist
Intrigued by the forensic scientists on shows like CSI? Find out what the job's really like from criminalist Craig O'Connor, who joined the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in NYC after earning a PhD in genetics.
Published April 15, 2011
Craig O'Connor, PhD
Office of Chief Medical Examiner, NYC
Craig O'Connor has a Bachelors of Science in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Connecticut. After spending a year and a half as a research technician at the Yale University School of Medicine performing biochemical assays dealing with uterine and prostate cancer, he went back to graduate school for a PhD in genetics.
During graduate school, Craig's main project dealt directly with forensic human identification. Having earned a Master's of Science and a PhD in genetics and genomics in 2008, he began working at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. As a Criminalist, his main duties include the day to day examination of evidence from crimes such as homicides, assaults, sexual assaults and cold cases, DNA analysis, writing of reports and testifying in court as part of the High Sensitivity group, the first facility in the U.S. designed to implement novel technologies to generate DNA profiles from Low Copy Number DNA. There are also a number of ongoing research projects dealing with the validation of innovative techniques and the subsequent implementation into case work.