Criminal Justice and Criminalistics (323) 343-4610

Akhila Ananth

Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Irvine


Dr. Ananth's research focuses on race, gender, and the design of juvenile courts and detention facilities. She uses qualitative research methods to investigate how race is codified in designs of children’s spaces in the law. In addition to this research, Dr. Ananth produces evaluations and works with various community organizations serving youth of color in Los Angeles.


Carly Dierkhising

Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Riverside 


Dr. Dierkhising is an expert on trauma, child traumatic stress, and building trauma-informed systems with a focus on juvenile justice. Her general research areas include trauma among juvenile justice-involved youth, crossover youth, youth gangs, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).


Jane Gauthier

Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Washington State University


Dr. Gauthier is a sociologist whose research areas focus primarily on hate crimes, hate groups and spatial patterns of crime.  Her current research examines hate crime victimization among LGBTQ people and immigrants in Los Angeles and racial and gender minority experiences with police.


Lisa Graziano

Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago 


Dr. Graziano’s research focuses on various factors that impact police-community relations, particularly community policing, the role of race-ethnicity in shaping public perceptions of police, and the impact of media coverage on perceptions of police.  Currently she is working on a project examining race and the Los Angeles Police Department in terms of the evolution of both LAPD relations with communities of colors and diversity within the LAPD itself.


Denise Herz

Professor; Ph.D., University of Maryland at College Park


Dr. Herz's primary area of research is in juvenile justice, with a particular emphasis on integrating systems to improve outcomes for youths at-risk for delinquency and for youths who have entered multiple systems. Since 2004, Dr. Herz has worked with Los Angeles Superior Court, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department to document the characteristics and needs of crossover youth and to evaluate the court’s Multidisciplinary Team pilot program for handling crossover youth. She has served as a consultant to the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy since 2008, participating in many initiatives including but not limited to leading the development and implementation of the Crossover Youth Practice Model Research Component. Additionally, Dr. Herz currently oversees all research and evaluation for the City of Los Angeles Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office.   


Donald Johnson

Professor of Criminalistics; M.Sc., UCLA


Before joining the faculty in 2003, Johnson was a forensic science practitioner and gained extensive experience in forensic biology, forensic pathology, and crime scene investigation and reconstruction.  Johnson is active in forensic science education, in-service training, and research.  Johnson currently investigates new technologies and novel approaches to advance forensic science.  Johnson recently published on a novel method to further characterize non-specific bloodstain patterns by use of microRNA profiling.


Katherine A. Roberts

Professor; Ph.D., John Jay College, New York


Dr. Roberts is the director of the M.S. program in criminalistics and her research interest focuses primarily on trace evidence. She is currently the P.I. for a National Science Foundation grant to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary Forensic Science Research as a research site within the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center program. She also collaborates with private industry on projects that encompass the detection of adulterants in morphine sulfate solutions, microspectroscopy to differentiate printing inks and bullet damage.


Bill Sanders

Professor; Ph.D., University of London


Dr. Sanders is a sociologist who has conducted ethnographic investigations on young people and crime in Los Angeles, New York and London. He has published on a range of topics related to gangs, drugs, and public health aspects about criminal justice topics. Dr. Sanders is currently working with an intervention agency to help measure their program and capture the processes of desistance among serious juvenile and adult offenders. He is also interested in resiliency, specifically how youth from high-risk neighborhoods avoid gangs and drugs. 


Katharine Tellis

Interim Director and Associate Professor; MSW, Ph.D., University of Nebraska at Omaha 


Dr. Tellis is a social worker and criminologist whose areas of interest center on violence prevention and criminal justice policy and practice. She has published two books and eleven articles about the suspect/victim relationship in sexual assault cases and how attrition occurs within the criminal justice system. Her most recent study of crime rates and offender recidivism in response to Prison Realignment in California is funded by the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association. 


Jay Vargas

Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of Utah


Dr. Vargas is a forensic chemist by training with broad research interests in all areas of forensic chemical analysis, toxicology, and pharmacology. Dr. Vargas has special interests in the development of new analytical techniques for controlled substance analysis, and in the development of animal models for use in determining the adverse effect profile of drugs and toxins. Finally, Dr. Vargas has extensive training in neuroscience and the cellular changes that occur to central nervous system tissue in response to drug exposure and in neurological disorders.