Thomas J. Parsons
Thomas J. Parsons is the Director of Science and Technology at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). He supervises a large technical staff in a multidisciplinary approach to location and identification of the missing through imagery, forensic archaeology, anthropology, pathology, bioinformatics and high throughput DNA analysis. Current development at the ICMP laboratory focuses on optimal massively parallel sequencing approaches to missing persons DNA identification. The ICMP has assisted with the DNA-based identification of nearly 20,000 persons, and works on missing persons cases globally. Dr. Parsons has coordinated provision of extensive DNA and other forensic science evidence to the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and other courts, and testified on multiple occasions for the ICTY in The Hague.
Prior to joining the ICMP, Dr. Parsons worked at the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) since August of 1994, and held the position of AFDIL Chief Scientist since 2000. For two years after the 9/11 attacks he served on a seminal National Institute of Justice advisory panel for the World Trade Center DNA identification efforts. His undergraduate degree was in Physics from the University of Chicago, and he received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in 1989. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, he focused on ancient DNA, molecular evolution and phylogenetics, as well as mtDNA biogeography and avian speciation. He received the 2015 biennial Scientific Prize from the International Society of Forensic Genetics.
Missing Persons Ambassador Thomas Parsons on why you should apply for this award