Meet Our Director

Dr. Roberts headshot


Katherine A. Roberts is a professor of criminalistics and director of the MS degree program in criminalistics in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services. She also serves as the Executive Director of the California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI), overseeing the advancement of the forensic sciences through a multidisciplinary program focusing on research development, professional training, student support, and community engagement. Professor Roberts is currently collaborating with the Human Genomics Unit, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (LACMEC), to investigate the accuracy of phenotype/biogeographical ancestry-informative genetic markers using Next Generation DNA Sequencing. In addition, she is working with (LACMEC) to investigate forensic applications of fluorescence-activated cell sorting. She collaborates with university faculty and private industry on DNA sequencing projects related to fingerprint donor aging, activity-level propositions, and trace evidence analysis. Professor Roberts teaches forensic microscopy and trace evidence analysis, applications of forensic science, and research methods and statistical analysis in forensic applications. She has mentored 150+ student thesis research projects, published her research in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, and presented at numerous state, national, and international conferences.

Dr. Roberts has been the principal investigator on United States Department of Justice grants, including the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. She is currently the PI for a BJA-funded grant on Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence in partnership with the Los Angeles Innocence Project@CalStateLA. Collectively, the CFSI-LAIP team reviews violent felony cases to identify and evaluate post-conviction cases and locate biological evidence for DNA analysis to demonstrate client innocence or assist in their exoneration. The CFSI-LAIP partnership represents a unique attorney and forensic science graduate program model to assist individuals convicted of a serious felony that meets specific criteria.