Dr. Rhonda Roby graduated from Putnam City North High School in 1981. She was a member of the marching band, the French Club, Gifted, Math Club, and the Pep Club. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in biology and French in 1985. She obtained her masters of Public Health in forensic biochemistry and behavioral and environmental health sciences in 1989 from the University of California at Berkeley and her masters of Science in genetics and evolution in 2006 and doctorate in genetics in 2008 from the University of Granada in Spain.
Dr. Roby served as the Technical Leader of the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Section with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology’s Department of Defense DNA Registry, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, from 1991 to 1997. During this time, she contributed to the development of the Department of Defense’s efforts to use mtDNA sequencing for remains identification, specifically involving missing servicemen and servicewomen in Southeast Asia, Korean War, and World War II.
Dr. Roby has worked on numerous homicide and rape investigations and testified in several states and countries. Additionally, she worked on the identifications of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, the identification of numerous victims in airline disasters, and the identification of Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov family. She was the chief DNA analyst for the identification of the victims from the airline disaster carrying Secretary Ron Brown and colleagues.
From 1997 to 2003, Dr. Roby was the forensic manager in the Human Identification Department at Applied Biosystems. She and her forensic team conducted research, development, and validation methods for forensic biological analyses.
Some of Dr. Roby’s more recent cases are related to counterterrorism. She led the mtDNA efforts to assist the City of New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner in the identifications of the remains of decedents in response to the terrorists’ attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Currently, Dr. Roby conducts research and development of methods at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for the Center’s Missing Persons Program.