Forensic Sciences Chair Named

June 04, 2012

Victor Weedn, who has an extensive background in forensic pathology and DNA testing, will assume the post July 1.

An accomplished forensic pathologist and forensic DNA testing pioneer, Victor Weedn, will chair the George Washington University Department of Forensic Sciences beginning July 1.

“The opportunity to be part of one of the oldest and strongest forensic science departments in the United States—and one that boasts a very significant alumni base—is very exciting,” said Dr. Weedn, who most recently served as an assistant medical examiner at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore, Md.

Dr. Weedn said he hopes to build on GW’s existing forensic sciences programs, which have strong relationships with federal forensic laboratories and investigatory agencies, and increase research efforts and collaborations with the community.

Among Dr. Weedn’s most notable accomplishments are as founder and former chief of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. Under Dr. Weedn’s leadership, the organization broke new ground in the use of forensic technologies, and Dr. Weedn oversaw the development for the first portable DNA testing device, which later became the basis for the U.S. Postal Service anthrax-detection equipment. Dr. Weedn was also instrumental in helping identify the remains of Czar Nicolas II and service members who died in the first Persian Gulf War, World War II, and the Vietnam and Korean wars.

“We could not be more pleased that Dr. Weedn has agreed to lead our Department of Forensic Sciences,” said Peg Barratt, dean of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “He brings impeccable academic credentials and a broad range of experience to the position. I am confident that our degree programs within forensic sciences and the department’s research capacity to develop the forensic science techniques of the future will remain among the best in the world under his guidance.”

Dr. Weedn received his M.D. from Southwestern Medical School and a law degree from South Texas College of Law. He completed his pathology residency at Baylor College of Medicine and University of Texas Medical School and an anatomic pathology fellowship at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute.

Dr. Weedn—who assisted with the development of molecular pathology standards for laboratories and continues to be involved in proficiency testing of DNA laboratories—is also the treasurer for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and chair of strategic planning for the National Association of Medical Examiners. He has published 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 35 chapters for books on forensic and molecular pathology.

GW’s Department of Forensic Sciences, created in 1968 in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, offers graduate degrees in forensic chemistry, molecular biology and toxicology, as well as high-tech crime investigation and crime scene investigation.