Walther Parson holds an associate professorship at the Institute of Legal Medicine, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria and an adjunct professorship at PennState, PA, USA. Under his scientific supervision the Austrian National DNA Database Laboratory was set up in 1997 in Innsbruck, where he is currently overseeing the High Through-put DNA Database Laboratory and the research group Forensic Genomics. He is representing Austria on international boards including the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) DNA Working Group or the European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) and he is an elected active member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He current serves as President of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG). He was repeatedly consigned to handle international requests on DNA fingerprinting of victims of mass fatalities (e.g., 2004 Tsunami, 1973 victims Chile, 2014 Missing Mexican students), international human identification cases (e.g., Russian Tsar family Romanov, Isdalen woman) and identification of historic individuals (e.g., Friedrich von Schiller, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Günter Messner, Dark Countess, Leopold III).
His research group is interested in various fields of genetics and genomics, including forensics, medical and population genetics and entertains collaboration with other fields of research such as anthropology, archaeology, mathematics and history. Walther Parson and his group have developed (1999-2006) and are maintaining the EDNAP Mitochondrial DNA Population Database (EMPOP), the world’s largest forensic mitochondrial DNA database for forensic quality control and data interpretation purposes. He and his group recently developed the STRs for Identity ENFSI Reference Database (STRidER), successor of STRbase, to quality control and disseminate STR allele frequencies and sequenced alleles. He has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed original articles.
Listen to ISFG president Prof. Dr. Walther Parson on why you should apply for this award