Past Event

IICD Seminar Series: Michael "Doc" Edge, USC

October 21, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Online Event

The Herbert and Florence Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics hosts a seminar series on the topic of mathematical sciences underpinning cancer research. The monthly seminars take place on the third Thursday of the month, 4:00-5:00 PM EST. The presentations are held via Zoom and are opened to the Columbia community and to researchers outside Columbia University.

On Thursday, October 21st (4:00-5:00 PM, EST), IICD welcomes Michael "Doc" Edge, PhD, Assistant Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology, Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology, University of Southern California.

Title: "The new forensic genetics: long-range search and its privacy implications"

Abstract: Over the last thirty-five years, genetic information has played an increasingly important role in forensic investigations. In the United States, law enforcement maintains a set of databases containing microsatellite genotypes from almost 20 million people, and a large body of police practice and legal precedent has built up concerning the use of such genotypes. However, in the last three years, the situation has changed rapidly, as law enforcement has begun to use genealogical databases that allow users to upload their own datasets to track down persons of interest. Via a discussion of the distribution of shared identity-by-descent blocks in the genome, I will argue that accepting widespread law enforcement use of these tactics is tantamount to adopting a de facto national DNA database. I will also show that databases of the kind used by law enforcement for long-range search are vulnerable (in principle) to privacy attacks that weaponize our shared genetic structure or algorithms for relative-finding.


To attend the seminar, please register here: 


Contact Information

Lorenza Favrot