Alum Tony White to bring DNA technology experts to campus

Two of the nation’s leading experts in the use of DNA technology in criminal investigations will visit Western Carolina University on Thursday, Aug. 30, for a pair of public presentations made possible by Tony White, a 1969 graduate of Western.

Born in Cuba and raised in Asheville, White is president and chief executive officer at Applera Corp, the company that accelerated the race to decode the human genome. He is widely recognized for the vital businessman’s role he is playing in the biotechnology revolution and in development of the new field of pharmacogenomics.

Leonard Klevan, president of the applied markets division for Applied Biosystems of Applera Corp., will discuss “Recent Advances in DNA Typing for Forensic Investigation.” Klevan leads the division’s efforts to produce and market reagent kits for DNA forensics, paternity testing and other forms of human identification, as well as products for biosecurity, food and agriculture, and environmental applications.

Arthur Eisenberg, director of the DNA Identity Laboratory at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, will address “The Use of DNA Technology for Identification of Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains: Our Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster.” Eisenberg, professor of pathology and anatomy, is a pioneer in the development of DNA identity testing who helped create many of the procedures, techniques and standards currently used in DNA testing.

The talks will begin at 9:30 a.m. in WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, and they are open to the public free of charge. The presentations will be followed by meetings with students and faculty from the forensic anthropology and forensic science programs.

For more information about the talks on Aug. 30, contact David Butcher, associate dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, at (828) 227-7646, or via e-mail at