NSF recognizes forensic chemist among Hispanic leaders in research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently profiled eight Hispanic scientists and engineers who are national leaders in their areas of research. FIU’s Jose R. Almirall is one of them.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for our work either as an individual or as a group,” Almirall said. “I’m very fortunate to be in a position at FIU that enables me to mentor Hispanics and other minorities in forensic chemistry and I’m very proud to see my former students and colleagues now as the leaders in the scientific community in the U.S. and globally.”

From helping bring criminals to justice, to developing the latest technology in forensic chemistry, Almirall has led the charge for innovation and standardization in forensics.


He has testified in more than 100 criminal cases prior to his academic appointment at FIU in 1998. Almirall has mentored more than 50 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in forensic chemistry research over the last two decades. His research group has received three patents based on air sampling devices designed to detect drugs and explosives in air, and he leads a scientific committee sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that aims to improve the standardization of forensic chemistry methods.

Currently, Almirall is director of the NSF-funded Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science at FIU. The center unites forensic science leaders in state-of-the-art laboratories across the nation in an effort to solve the most complex problems facing the industry today – problems that are on the cutting edge of forensic science. Former director of FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute, Almirall was instrumental in the launch of the institute’s signature forensic science symposium — an annual event where state and local law enforcement agencies share new forensic techniques and FIU scientists showcase cutting-edge research. The 8thannual Florida Forensic Science Symposium is scheduled for 2019.

Almirall was recently appointed to a new federal technology working groupat the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice — an effort to create an effective network of crime labs across the country. He is one of only four academics in the group of 20 advisors which includes laboratory directors from across the country as well as leaders in the field of forensic science research. The working group is designed to provide objective and independent knowledge and expertise, ensuring that research and implementation of forensic technology is relevant and responsive to the laboratory operations needs of the forensic science community.