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Nicole McCleary Jones

Nicole S. Jones

Director of the Forensic Science Translation and Implementation Program, Center for Forensic Science


MS, Criminal Justice Administration - Forensic Science Administration, Loyola University, New Orleans
BS, Forensic Chemistry, Ohio University


Nicole Jones is the Director of the Forensic Science Translation and Implementation Program in the Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS) Applied Justice Research Division at RTI International. In this role, Ms. Jones leads projects to implement evidence-based practices and methodologies to advance the reliability, reproducibility, and accuracy in the application of forensic science. She has more than 20 years of experience in chemical analysis, quality systems management, and quality assurance (QA), including 10 years of experience working with the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) and Inspector for periodic compliance inspections.

She has been responsible for evaluating CFS–supported U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant activities, including technology evaluation, technology assistance, and technology transfer. In this role, she has served as a liaison between state, local, and federal law enforcement; the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); and the research community. She has also served as the Task Leader and liaison for multiple DOJ working groups including the NIJ Forensic Science Technology Working Group, the Forensic Laboratory Needs Technical Working Group (FLN-TWG) and the FBI’s Technology Working Group for Three Dimensional Toolmark Technologies (TWG-3D2T).  She has developed validation protocols for implementing new instrumentation and new technologies for use in forensic drug testing laboratories. She has over 15 years’ experience develop best practices and guidance to strengthen medicolegal death investigation and has worked closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to update the recommendations for investigating, diagnosing and certifying cause and manner of death and producing training on those recommendations.  Before joining RTI, Ms. Jones served as the Lead Auditor and Quality Assurance Officer at General Engineering Laboratories (GEL) in Charleston, SC, a multi-site ISO accredited laboratory and as the Quality Manager of the Environmental Laboratory at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI).  While at GEL, she worked on the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) implementation team and was responsible for the ISO accreditation initiative.

She also worked closely with the Naval Weapons Station to develop methods for explosive detection using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS) and conducted training for inspectors to assist them in identification of fraudulent laboratory practices. Ms. Jones is currently the Quality Assurance Project Manager for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) program, a national clearinghouse funded by NIJ, which offers critical investigation support and free forensic services to facilitate the resolution of missing and unidentified person cases nationwide.

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