Thomas Parsons joined ICMP as Director of Forensic Sciences in 2006, having served on the Scientific Advisory Board of ICMP since 2000, and in 2005 as the Chairman of the ICMP Steering Committee on Forensic Sciences. Dr. Parsons leads a large team of ICMP forensic scientists and support personnel spanning the disciplines of forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology, DNA profiling, genetic kinship matching and informatics. This includes the world’s largest and most successful missing persons DNA identification laboratory system. Dr. Parsons has provided evidence and expert testimony in numerous trials, including indictments of genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
Dr. Parsons has authored numerous scientific publications, and is a prominent member of the international forensic science community, frequently presenting at international scientific conferences and leading workshops on DNA identification of the missing. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Forensic Science International Genetics, and on many advisory committees or panels, including the US National Institute of Justice “KADAP” panel which from 2001 to 2005 advised on DNA identification in response to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Before joining ICMP, Dr. Parsons was Chief Scientist at the U.S. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), where he had worked since 1994, and where one of his primary roles was to direct the AFDIL Research Section. He is also an adjunct faculty member in Forensic Science Program of Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Parsons received the 2015 International Society for Forensic Genetics Biennial Prize for outstanding contributions to the field, recognizing his work related to mitochondrial DNA analysis and the identification of victims of war and disaster.
His undergraduate degree was in Physics from the University of Chicago, and he received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in 1989. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and during research faculty appointment at the University of Nebraska, Dr. Parsons focused on ancient DNA, molecular evolution and population genetics.