Senior Research Forensic Scientist
- PhD, Biology, Wayne State University
- BS, Biology, University of Michigan
Patricia Melton, PhD, is nationally recognized for her work in sexual assault reform and forensic DNA analysis. She develops and implements training, technical assistance, and educational strategies that promote the derivation of polices focusing on sexual assault evidence to solve violent crimes.
Dr. Melton is currently the co-director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) project. In this capacity, she coordinates and directs the activities and deliverables that provide the requested training and technical assistance to the 32 jurisdictions awarded under the SAKI project. She also directs the implementation of the SAKI vision to additional jurisdictions addressing sexual assault reform through a nationwide promotion and education platform.
Dr. Melton has more than a decade of experience in forensic DNA analysis, including expert witness testimony. Her knowledge and experience as a DNA forensic practitioner is integral to supporting other projects at RTI, including the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)–funded Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) and the NIJ-funded Sexual Assault Kit Processing Efficiency in Law Enforcement Agencies and Crime Labs. A focal point of her work has been to use research, training, and education to facilitate the adoption of recommendations and best practices that recognize the value of forensic evidence examined with current forensic DNA technology as part of sexual assault reform and obtaining justice for violent crimes. Additionally, Dr. Melton has a vested research interest in combatting human trafficking through education, training, technical assistance, and policy reform of local and state law enforcement task forces.
Prior to joining RTI, Dr. Melton was a forensic DNA practitioner for the Department of Defense Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory and at the Baltimore County Police Department Forensic Services Section. In addition, she was an adjunct faculty member at Stevenson University and a faculty member at Western Carolina University. Dr. Melton remains active in the field of forensic science as both a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD). She also maintains her status as an American Society of Crime Lab Directors Laboratory Accredited Board (ASCLD-LAB) assessor.