John M. Butler

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John M. Butler is a leading expert on forensic DNA profiling. He was a fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2008. Since 2013, he has worked as Special Assistant to the Director for Forensic Science, NIST Office of Special Programs in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He has worked in government and industry. From 2008 to 2013, he was Group Leader, Applied Genetics Group, NIST Material Measurement Laboratory, and from 2000 to 2008 he was Project Leader, Human Identity, NIST Chemical Science & Technology Laborator. He designed and maintains STRBase, an information resource for short tandem repeat DNA markers. As a member of the World Trade Center Kinship and Data Analysis Panel, he aided the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner in their work to identify the remains of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also serves on the Department of Defense Quality Assurance Oversight Committee for DNA Analysis and advises numerous national and international forensic DNA efforts.

Butler is the author of the internationally acclaimed textbook Forensic DNA Typing, which is in its third edition. It has been translated into Chinese (2007) and Japanese (2009). He has also authored more than 175 scientific articles and book chapters. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and associate editor of Forensic Science International: Genetics. He was Forensic DNA section editor for Encyclopedia of Forensic Science, 2nd edition.

He has also written widely on DNA research, including analyzing the possibilities of DNA research applied to the Book of Mormon, and multiple articles on polymerase chain reactions where he was the lead author.

He has given hundreds of presentations in the U.S. and in 26 other countries.

His scientific awards include:

  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIST 1995-97
  • British Medical Association Medical Book Competition, Highly Commended, 2001
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2002
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal, 2002
  • Scientific Prize of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, 2003
  • Finalist for the Service to America Medals 'Call to Service' Award, 2004
  • Honored Alumnus for BYU's College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, October 2005
  • The Arthur S. Flemming Award (Applied Science, Engineering and Mathematics 2007), June 2008
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award, 2008
  • Edward Uhler Condon Award, December 2010
  • Science Watch, #1 world-wide high-impact author in legal medicine and forensic science over the last decade, July 2011
  • Presidential Rank Award, December 2015
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Criminalistics Section’s Paul L. Kirk Award, February 2017

Butler holds a PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University. His PhD. research was conducted in the FBI Laboratory, involved pioneering the techniques now used worldwide in modern forensic DNA testing. He did post-doctoral work in the Biotechnology Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology from 1995 to 1997.

Butler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.