University of Pittsburgh
October 28, 2009

Lecture: "Forensic Science and Weapons of Mass Destruction" by Pitt's Center for National Preparedness Nov. 5

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Forensic science has long been known for its role in solving crimes, but it has lately taken on an increasingly important role in the investigation and prosecution of incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. The University of Pittsburgh's Center for National Preparedness (CNP) will address this expanding role in a lecture titled "Forensic Science and Weapons of Mass Destruction" at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in room 532 Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event, which will be followed by a reception, is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended by logging onto

The lecture will be delivered by Randall S. Murch, the associate director of the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy at Virginia Tech University and the former deputy director of the FBI Laboratory.

Murch began his FBI career as a special agent, where he was assigned to field offices in Indianapolis and Los Angeles and established the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) forensic investigation program and the Hazardous Materials Response Unit, which uses forensics to investigate WMD threats and hoaxes.

Later, Murch was detailed to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the Department of Defense. Serving as the DTRA's director of the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, he led studies on existing and potential challenges dealing with WMD and issues of homeland security.

After retiring from the FBI in 2002, Murch joined the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded center, as a research staff member, where he worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Murch serves on numersous boards, including the Defense Science Board, a part of the Department of Defense that advises the Pentagon; the Board of Life Sciences of the National Research Council; and the National Academy of Sciences.

Pitt's CNP is a multidisciplinary group that focuses on the prevention, protection, response, and recovery of catastrophic events through the research and collaboration of experts from 10 different University schools. The research and resource efforts put forth by the University's faculty are wide-ranging, spanning campus, state, and national communities. The center imparts assistance to the Department of Homeland Security, offers advice on public security, public safety, health, and awareness to local and state governments; and provides training for fire and medical personnel.