Scientist in Residence – Heidi Eldridge

Email:   heidi.eldridge@email.gwu.edu

Dr. Heidi Eldridge received her MS in Biology from Duke University and her PhD in Forensic Science from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). Her dissertation research involved using a white box approach to understand the factors that are most diagnostic for latent print examiners when making suitability determinations for friction ridge impressions and using this information to build a predictive model of suitability along four distinct scales of usefulness. Dr. Eldridge’s research interests are focused predominantly in the friction ridge domain on topics such as: standardization of minutiae selection and mark-up; reduction of errors, particularly erroneous exclusions; increasing understanding of palmar impressions and comparison; the evolution of friction ridge conclusions; and the role of human factors in forensic science, particularly in the areas of thresholds for decision-making, presentation of courtroom testimony, juror comprehension of scientific testimony, and resilience and vicarious trauma.

Dr. Eldridge has worked in the field of forensic science since 2004. She spent approximately 11 years working in state, local, and regional forensic laboratories where she performed casework in controlled substances, latent prints, and crime scene analysis and reconstruction including bloodstain pattern interpretation, shooting reconstruction, event analysis, biological screening, and serial number restoration. From 2015 to 2022, she was a full-time forensic science researcher at RTI International, where she completed internally- and externally-funded research on the suitability decision in latent prints, establishing a baseline discipline error rate estimate for palmar comparisons, recognizing warning factors for close non-matches in latent prints, and human factors in forensic science.

Dr. Eldridge is an active member of the forensic science community and is current Chair of the Friction Ridge Consensus Body of the American Standards Board (ASB) and of FEPAC. She sits on the Boards of Directors of both the IAI and the ASB and is a Fellow of the AAFS and a member of the Friction Ridge Subcommittee of the OSAC. Additionally, Dr. Eldridge sits on the Editorial Board of the JFI and is a peer-reviewer for the JFS, FSI, S&J, LPR, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, and International Journal of Evidence and Proof. Dr. Eldridge is a Certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI.