Arkansas Genomics

Management Team

Jimmy D. Threet – Forensic DNA Analyst

Jimmy D. Threet, M.F.S. is the laboratory manager for Arkansas Genomics.  Jimmy is responsible for the daily operation of the laboratory and he also ensures proper staffing of the laboratory and oversees equipment maintenance. Jimmy is currently in the final stages of training as a Forensic DNA Analyst.

Jimmy has over thirteen years of laboratory experience, at both the State and Federal Levels of Government. Between 2004 and 2010 Jimmy was responsible for performing Microscopy and Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis for the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). 

As well as DNA analysis experience, Jimmy has had extensive training in Microscopy techniques with emphasis on hair, bone and muscle tissue recognition and identification.  The results of some of his scientific research have been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women’s Health.

Jimmy has a Masters degree in Forensic Science from the University of Florida, specializing in DNA and Serology.

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Dr. Berch Henry, II – Lab Director

Dr. Berch Henry brings expert supervision and direction in overseeing the laboratory for Arkansas Genomics. Dr. Henry holds the title of Lab Director and is responsible for the daily functions of the lab, including DNA analysis. He is a leader in his practice with over twenty five years of experience in DNA Testing.

Dr. Berch began his forensic DNA career in 1990 and has extensive experience in all methods of forensic DNA analysis.  Prior to joining Arkansas Genomics, Dr. Henry held a position with the Forensic DNA Facility at North Dakota State University from 2006 thru 2010, serving as the program Director. He was also an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology. Before joining NDSU he served in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory as DNA Laboratory Manager and Technical Leader from 1998 to 2006. From 1996-1998, Dr. Henry held the position of Biology Coordinator of the State DNA Forensic Program for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and from 1990-1996 served in the Forensic Science Division Washoe County Sheriff’s Department. During his career, he has served as an expert witness in numerous jurisdictions in several states. 

From 1985-1996 Dr. Henry served on the faculty of the University Of Nevada School Of Medicine. He joined the faculty of the National Judicial College in 1990 and served in that capacity until 2005. His primary area of interest has been the study of Molecular Biology with particular emphasis on the development and uses of DNA Technology. Dr. Henry received his Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology in 1979 from University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He was awarded NIH and ACS postdoctoral Fellowships and completed four years of postdoctoral training followed by one year as Research Associate at the Cancer Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Dr. Vanora Kean – Case File Review, Expert Witness, Forensic Consultant

Dr. Vanora Kean is an experienced Forensic Biologist currently consulting with Arkansas Genomics.  She will undertake case file review, lab report review and casework DNA testing.  Dr. Kean is an FBI qualified DNA Auditor, and has testified on criminal cases involving the States of California, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, and the Provinces of British Columbia and Ontario in Canada.  She has testified for both the prosecution and defense.  Dr. Kean has held positions in both public and private crime laboratories in the US as a Forensic Supervisor, Associate Lab Director and a DNA Laboratory Director. 

Dr. Kean has almost thirty five years experience in the field of molecular biology and genetics, with more than half of that time spent as a criminalist for forensic agencies.  She has performed scientific analyses in criminal and civil cases, performed case reviews, and testified as an expert witness on a wide variety of cases involving biological material and bloodstain pattern interpretation.  She has knowledge and experience in the area of body fluid identification and analysis, including the extraction and purification of DNA, interpretation by PCR, RFLP, as well as traditional serological techniques.  Dr. Kean has supervised, trained, and/or participated in all aspects of forensic laboratory testing, including proficiency testing, and QA/QC monitoring.

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Megan Palmer – Technical Leader

Megan Palmer M.S. is the Technical Leader for Arkansas Genomics.  Megan is an experienced forensic analyst and additionally has expertise in the area of meeting all DNA Quality Assurance Standards.  As Technical Leader she teams with previous colleague Dr. Berch Henry to make Arkansas Genomics a leader in quality forensic analysis. 

In her previous position, Megan worked as a Forensic DNA Analyst at the North Dakota State University DNA Facility.  Prior to becoming an analyst, Megan was responsible for preparing for and obtaining the laboratory’s ISO 17025 accreditation.  In the laboratory, she was responsible for performing validation studies on instruments and chemistries for STR Analysis.

Megan has a Masters Degree in Biochemistry from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND performing research on low copy number DNA samples using whole genome amplification techniques.  Her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biotechnology and a minor in Chemistry, is from North Dakota State University. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Megan conducted research on gene expression in mouse tissue. 

Megan has attended numerous continuing forensic education classes including Applied Biosystems training classes, College of Microscopy courses, and many other meetings and seminars around the country. In addition to these educational seminars, Megan has also participated in assistant teaching undergraduate and graduate level labs accompanying Biochemistry and Methods of Recombinant DNA Technologies.

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Thomas Wahl

In 2006 Thomas Wahl accepted a position with North Dakota State University in the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology as Senior Forensic DNA Analyst of the Forensic DNA Facility. Mr. Wahl had recently retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. where he was responsible for setting up the DNA Laboratory in 1995 and had performed casework analysis since that time. Previous to that position, Mr. Wahl was employed in the private sector as the Forensic Supervisor of Genelex Corporation, Seattle, Washington from 1993-1995 and Analytic Genetic Testing Center, Denver, Colorado from 1988-1993. In both capacities Mr. Wahl was responsible for setting up and implementing the new cutting-edge PCR technology for forensic casework applications. During these periods of time he testified as an expert witness numerous times in over 22 U.S. jurisdictions and Canada. Mr. Wahl also served as an instructor for various courses sponsored by both companies. Prior to his entrance into the private sector, Mr. Wahl was employed by two other government agency forensic laboratories; the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement Tampa Regional Crime Laboratory from 1986-1988 and the Wisconsin State Dept. of Justice Milwaukee Regional Crime Laboratory from 1980-1985 where his forensic career began.

Mr. Wahl recently completed a short term employment engagement with DNA Labs International in Deerfield Beach, Florida assisting this forensic DNA laboratory by performing technical case reviews, report writing and providing expert witness trial testimony in jurisdictions located in Florida and throughout the Caribbean Islands.

Mr. Wahl is certified by the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) in Molecular Biology and currently holds Fellow status with the ABC.

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