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Neal Parsons RTI Expert Headshot

Neal Parsons

Research Forensic Scientist


MS, Biology, Chatham University
BS, Biology, Radford University


Neal Parsons is a research scientist and project manager at RTI. He is an expert at designing and executing large-scale testing and evaluation efforts of novel technologies for forensic, public safety and defense applications. He facilitates community knowledge transfer and drives technology transition. Mr. Parsons is skilled at developing and training forensic DNA-based curriculum and providing DNA analysis and technical review of data. He also develops molecular assays for genetic variant detection and targets trace evidence through sensitive site exploitation.

Currently, Mr. Parsons leads the project management team for the Criminal Justice Technology and Evaluation Consortium (CJTEC). Additionally, he authors multiple public research reports on emerging technologies and develops programmatic deliverables. In this role, he leads the CJTEC counter unmanned aircraft systems research, testing, and evaluation effort through technical oversight and facilitating stakeholder and partner engagement.

Prior to joining RTI in 2020, Mr. Parsons served as a senior subject matter expert at ANDE Corp. He led the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) of the 2018 Paradise, California “Campfire” and the 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash. He developed innovative sample processing techniques for burnt human remains, which contributed to the positive identification of 58 victims.

Additionally, Mr. Parsons supported a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)-funded effort to develop a rapid portable DNA analysis system for on-site use at crime scenes. He led and contributed to the characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms for human identification and the subsequent development of a rapid DNA extraction method, real-time PCR assay for allelic discrimination, and a custom regression slope intercept analysis software program. Mr. Parsons led a three-year longitudinal study to evaluate the developed product and support the validation and technology transfer to the DoD. The allelic discriminating assay and associated methodologies was issued the U.S. Patent No. 10,724,077B2 in 2020.

Mr. Parsons also served as a research scientist and project manager at the Bode Technology Group. There, he developed technology solutions for U.S. Government agencies to advance intelligence gathering methodologies and bolster scientific capabilities. He provided on-site technical expertise for U.S.-led battlefield forensic operations in Afghanistan. He also served as an assistance scientist at Midwest Research Institute, where he supported on-site laboratory analysis for CDC select agent detection at the Pentagon.

In addition to his work, Mr. Parsons holds an Executive Business Administration Certification from the University of Notre Dame and a Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute. He holds a FAA part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

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