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Jason Guicheteau|Chemistry Alumni

For the past eight years I have had the opportunity to work at the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. I originally relocated to Maryland in 2003 after completing my PhD in chemistry from the University of Wyoming. Through the support of my advisor and the assistance from the faculty, I was awarded a two year post doc position from the National Academies of Science Research Associateship program. In those two years, I was involved in a variety of Raman and surface-enhanced Raman research activities investigating new detection methodologies for chemical and biological species including the development of a SERS immunoassay for the detection of bacteria including surrogates of anthrax. After two years ECBC offered me a full Department of Defense position with the Laser Standoff Detection Branch to assist in future Raman detection applications.  Soon after making the transition I worked diligently expanding the branch’s Raman capabilities and refocusing efforts from other members to tailor our goals for publications, presentations, and securing future funding. Our team constantly works on a variety of projects ranging from fundamental research including studying the interaction of particles at surface interfaces to applied methodologies assessing state of the art equipment potentially bound for the soldier’s hands.  

More recently, we are using a detection technique called wide-field Raman chemical imaging (RCI) to detect and identify the presence of trace explosives in contaminated fingerprints on surfaces, such as plastics and painted metals. Because this technique is nondestructive, requires no sample preparation, and gives a high degree of chemical specificity, explosive materials can be identified without compromising the fingerprint sample for further biometric analysis. This work has led to the filling of a patent, and a partnership with U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory enabling our fingerprint images to be processed through the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). This allows us to connect the chemical forensic information to biometric data and attribution.  As we move forward with our technique this could prove invaluable for near real time analysis at checkpoints and forward operating bases on the lookout for potential persons of interest who may pose a threat.

Over my eight years at ECBC one of the best attributes for working with the department of defense is that I get to see a wide variety of technologies from the most basic research at the University level to advanced concepts and equipment ready to be deployed to soldiers’ hands. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all across the US and into Europe presenting to small and large audiences, collaborating with business and other government agencies. I know that without the incredible support from my advisor and all the outstanding faculty members at the University of Wyoming during my time in Laramie, I would have not have the confidence in my abilities nor the opportunities and success that I currently enjoy. The education I received, the friends I met, and experiences I had during my time at UW were invaluable.  I encourage perspective Wyoming graduate students to not only attend the chemistry graduate school at the University of Wyoming but to take advantage of every opportunity the faculty and facilities offer; It can only enhance your opportunities for the future.  http://www.ecbc.army.mil/

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