Job Specification

Position Title:
Forensic Biologist
Job Code:
16065 - Technologist 3, Medical Lab
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To supervise or provide technical leadership to assigned Forensic Technologists in order to plan, prioritize, and assign work; to review the work product to ensure quality within Centre policies, methods, and operating procedures; to provide training; and to conduct forensic examinations and research.

Duties / Responsibilities :

Job requires:

1. Provide supervision or leadership in planning the activities of the technical group(e.g. DNA unit or biological evidence recovery unit/team); prioritizing work to ensure operational efficiency. Documenting and processing incoming and outgoing case related items, materials, information, and documents.

2. Conduct technical reviews and evaluations of completed work of Biology Technologists as sign off authority prior to release of results to Scientists, or the Section/Unit, following the testing of a variety of forensic case items and samples(e.g. bodily fluids such as blood, semen and saliva; as well as tissues, DNA, hairs, and fibres) for qualitative identification and comparisons, and quantitative or semiquantitative measurements of these components; performing the following tests and analyses as required.

• Examining case materials using a variety of microscopes to locate evidential material.

• Performing a range of forensic analyses used to identify body fluids including blood semen and saliva.

• Performing a range of analyses employed in forensic DNA testing including:

- Extraction and purification of DNA from biological case material.
- Quantification of DNA samples.
- Amplification of DNA samples.
- Sequencing and fragment analysis of DNA samples.
- Computer analyses of generated data using specialized software packages
- Entering data into DNA databases.
- Collecting and storing trace materials such as hairs and fibres from evidential

• Performing a range of forensic to identify and/or compare fabric, fibres, dyestuffs, and to prepare hairs for microscopic comparison.

3. Ensuring quality control processes, and continuity and integrity of evidence are maintained in order to prevent mislabelling, improper handling, cross-contamination, or operator contamination and ensuring compliance with established laboratory accreditation standards, Centre policies, methods and operating procedures, and quality assurance programs.

4. Providing technical supervision and mentoring to Biology Technologists by assigning work; providing training and assisting in the preparation of training materials, evaluation standards and proficiency tests; providing advice and resolution of technical issues (e.g. problematic samples, equipment use and maintenance).

5. Assisting in the evaluation of, and need for, modifications to current standards,operating procedures and forensic biology testing processes, and collaborating in research projects on new methodologies, evaluation and recommendation of new procedures, equipment, or products specific to a forensic biology laboratory. Drafting research findings, quality assurance procedures and protocols, and laboratory manuals. Performing advanced or specialized tests that are not amenable to the use of routine controls and procedures, and where the reliability and findings of test results requires assessment by applying technical and scientific principles in order to determine the necessary next steps, modifications, or adaptation of the procedures.

6. Setting up, operating, maintaining, calibrating, and validating assigned instrumentation to ensure effective operations and production of reliable results; installing new hardware; writing/editing macros and drafting and validating operational procedures for new equipment (specific to a forensic biology laboratory); providing training to Scientists, students and colleagues in the operation of assigned equipment; providing troubleshooting and determining cost effectiveness of repairs of equipment and arranging for service.

7. Providing testimony in a court of law, when required, regarding laboratory procedures, methods and protocols (specific to a forensic biology laboratory)followed in the conduct of tests.

Knowledge :

Job requires:

• Completed post-secondary education from a university (degree) or community college (diploma or certificate) in one of the physical, life or forensic sciences, or equivalent.

• Laboratory practices and techniques and scientific theories in such disciplines as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and their application to forensic science to conduct the technical review and evaluation of work of Biology technologists as sign off authority and to conduct testing of a variety of forensic case items and samples (e.g. bodily fluids such as blood, semen and saliva; as well as tissues, DNA, hairs, and fibres).

• Evidence handling procedures to ensure the preservation of potential court evidence in order to ensure evidence requirements (e.g. continuity, chain of custody) of the courts of law of Ontario and accreditation protocols are met by

• CFS standard operating procedures, practices, and policies to ensure compliance in all activities.

• CFS quality assurance program to run assurance processes to confirm, validate and ensure reliability of test results.

• Legislative authorities (e.g. WHIMS, Occupational Health and Safety) to ensure compliance.

• The court system and related protocols to ensure compliance when testifying in court if subpoenaed.

• Accreditation standards (e.g. American Society of Crime Lab Directors, Laboratory Accreditation Board, Standards Council of Canada) to ensure all standards are met.

• Leading edge and emerging technology in the field of forensic biology and the operations and capabilities of highly scientifically advanced testing instruments and hardware/software to operate instrumentation and draft validating operational procedures.

• New developments in the field of forensic biology to participate in research projects and to evaluate testing methodologies and procedures where no precedents or standards exist and to evaluate new equipment or products.

Skills :

Job Requires:

• Analytical and evaluating skills to evaluate the outcome of laboratory test results performed by Biology Technologists to identify discrepancies, recommend solutions, check quality and ensure correct procedures and appropriate results.

• Analytical and problem solving skills to identify and resolve issues or problems related to samples or instruments, (e.g. when a test result may be erroneous, inadequate or un-interpretable), assisting in the outcome of testing and
considering a variety of alternative testing options to ensure appropriate logical interpretable scientific conclusions are arrived at to assist scientists in assessment of a case prior to sign off.

• Problem solving skills to troubleshoot problems with laboratory equipment (e.g.microscopes, spectrophotometers, and automated analytical instruments for the testing of DNA and fibres) and to assess whether in-house or external equipment maintenance and repairs are required by assessing cost effectiveness and impact on workload.

• Problem solving skills to identify precautions to be taken in handling biohazards and toxic substances.

• Problem solving skills to provide advice and resolution of technical issues (e.g. problematic samples, equipment use and maintenance) referred by Biology Technologists.

• Research skills to collaborate in research projects on new methodologies, evaluation and recommendation of new procedures, equipment (e.g. microscopes, spectrophotometers, and automated analytical instruments for the testing of DNA and fibres) or products.

• Group leadership skills to provide leadership and mentoring to Biology Technologists.

• Manual dexterity to manipulate sensitive instruments and samples with precision.

• Time management skills necessary to ensure efficient work flow of assigned tasks.

• Interpersonal skills necessary to work in a team environment, and on a one-on one relationship with staff above and below.

• Written communication skills to prepare data findings and detailed notes of observations and tests, draft operating procedures, methods, research findings and training materials.

• Oral communication and consultative skills to provide training to Scientists, students and colleagues in the operation of assigned equipment and to provide training, advice and mentoring to Biology Technologists.

• Oral communication skills to provide testimony in a court of law, when required,regarding laboratory procedures, methods and protocols followed in the conduct of tests.

• Oral and written communication and interpersonal skills to communicate with other Forensic Labs in support of research activities.

Freedom of Action :

This job operates within the Centre of Forensic Sciences standard operating procedures,quality assurance standards and policies, as well as international accreditation standards within own area of specialty. Job requires freedom in prioritising cases to ensure operational efficiency of the unit; in acting as the signoff authority of all completed work of Technologists and in selecting alternative analytical methods from a set of established protocols to standard testing procedures; to resolve unanticipated problems with testing (e.g. degraded, minimal, compromised sample). The incumbent is required to ensure that quality control is maintained when test results are produced; to ensure that the application of new technologies, or newly-identified or necessary modifications to protocols, conform to current standards, operating procedures, and forensic testing processes; to initiate discussion with the manager and obtain approvals as required. The incumbent is required to advise the supervisor of such problems as health risks and equipment needs, operational contingencies and emergencies, and any deviations from standard methods and protocols.

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