Zach Landhuis ’16 thought he would spend his career correcting alignments in a chiropractic office, not helping law enforcement agencies align evidence with suspects. But a turn in his interests during his junior year at NWC led him to connect his love of biology with his fascination for criminal justice.
Now he is on the cusp of completing his master’s degree in forensic science with a concentration in forensic biology/DNA analysis at Michigan State University, planning to work as a criminalist in a state forensics laboratory upon completion of his thesis.
While most of us only see television’s fake forensics, Landhuis indicates some of that “magic” is real. DNA analysis, considered the “gold standard” in forensic sciences, excites Landhuis because of its incorporation with population genetics. “With full DNA profiles, the probability of a profile matching another random individual can be far lower than one in hundreds of trillions, which makes it such a convincing argument in court,” Landhuis says.
An interesting addition to Landhuis’ graduate studies included another unique intersection: forensics and superheroes. As a special project with his supervising professor, Landhuis was a co-consultant in offering accurate technical information for the Batman and Robin Crime Scene Investigation Series, a children’s book series that explains the types of forensic science.
No cape yet, but Landhuis clearly has some scientific superpowers of his own.