Enhance your credentials with specialized skills in Applied Forensic Science Research

Students who complete the graduate program are able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate a specialized body of knowledge and research competencies required for advanced forensic science research
  • Utilize advanced laboratory techniques for specimen examination
  • Synthesize research in the context of transcultural, ethical/moral, and legal issues pertaining to forensic science study
  • Develop expertise in a selected area of concentration and apply relevant forensic science concepts to this area of investigation
  • Independently apply research methodology and experimental design to answer forensic science research questions

Degrees Offered



DNA Analysis Certificate

Learn to recover DNA profiles from evidence items used in the biology division of crime laboratories.

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Crime Scene Practice Certificate

Gain additional knowledge in crime scene practice through Madonna’s Criminal Justice program.

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Crime Laboratory Technician Certificate

Learn to analyze physical evidence to determine significance to criminal investigations.

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Faculty Bios

Jodi L. BartaProfessor and Chairperson, Forensic Science Program

Ph.D. McMaster University

B.Sc. University of Western Ontario



Franciscan Center S217-T

Jodi L. Barta

Dr. Jodi Lynn Barta, PhD, is professor and chair of Forensic Science at Madonna University, and director of the FEPAC accredited undergraduate program in Forensic Science. She is a forensic anthropologist with a degree in molecular genetics that specializes in the extraction of DNA from ancient and forensic biological materials.

She has over 15 years of experience in extracting and amplifying DNA from low copy number and degraded human and animal remains. As an experienced forensic consultant she has worked in conjunction with police agencies and the coroner’s office on the analysis of forensic cases including; aging, sexing, and personal biology to assist in the identification of recovered human remains.

She is an NIJ funded researcher involved in research to understand the behavior of DNA molecules during extraction and to optimize protocols for obtaining DNA from biofluids lifted using Zar-Pro™ Fluorescent Blood Lifters (US Patent 8,025,852 B2). Her published research topics include methodological improvements for the extraction of ancient and forensic DNA, recovering bloody impressions from difficult substrates, including from human skin, defining methods to create consistent and reproducible fingerprint impressions deposited in biological fluids on a variety of substrates, ancient DNA analysis of Roman cemetery populations, and ancient DNA analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from paleopathological skeletal remains.

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Michael A. KusluskiInstructor, Forensic Science

M.S. George Washington University

B.S. Wayne State University



Franciscan Center S217-Q

Michael A. Kusluski

Mike Kusluski is an Assistant Professor in the Forensic Science Program at Madonna University. He received his B.S. in Applied Physics from Wayne State University and a Master of Forensic Sciences degree from George Washington University. His forensic laboratory career with the Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation includes experience in Firearms & Tool Marks Examination, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Controlled Substances Analysis and Crime Scene Investigation. He was also an adjunct faculty member of Wayne State University, teaching forensic science courses for 16 years. He is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA) as well as a board-certified Fellow of the American Board of Criminalistics (F-ABC).

His research interests include shooting incident reconstruction, gunshot residue analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis. Before transitioning into Forensic Science, Mr. Kusluski worked as a scientist, engineer and laboratory supervisor in the private sector. He can be contacted at mkusluski@madonna.edu.

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Jessica ZarateAssistant Professor, Forensic Science

M.S. National University

B.S. Madonna University

B.H.S. Ferris State University



Jessica Zarate

Ms. Jessica Zarate, MS is currently an assistant professor in the FEPAC accredited undergraduate Forensic Science Program at Madonna University teaching forensic science coursework including impression and pattern evidence. She was a Michigan certified police officer for eight years and is the inventor of the Zar-Pro™ Fluorescent Blood Lifters (US Patent 8,025,852 B2).

She has worked in impression analysis, for over 9 years, including during her time as a Police Officer with the Northville City Police Department when she collaborated with Michigan State Police Northville Forensic Science Laboratory, Latent Print Unit with research and development in the area of impression enhancement.

Her research work is focused within the impression evidence discipline, publishing on a fluorogenic method for lifting, enhancing, and preserving bloody impression evidence, recovering bloody impressions from difficult substrates, including from human skin, and defining methods to create consistent and reproducible fingerprint impressions deposited in biological fluids on a variety of substrates.

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