FBI Laboratory Scientist

Science and Technology

Whether it’s examining DNA or fingerprints left at a crime scene or linking exploded bomb fragments to terrorists, the FBI Laboratory’s world-class scientists use scientific rigor to solve cases and prevent crime and terrorism.

Law enforcement agencies can learn about the FBI Laboratory services on the FBI’s law enforcement site.


The FBI has elite teams who collect evidence under the guidance of subject matter experts who provide training, resources, and support to these teams. 

If a crime scene is complex or dangerous, technical hazards response experts ensure the FBI can safely access and collect evidence that involves:

  • underwater operations
  • confined spaces
  • remote locations
  • or hazardous chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials

Other forensic response experts and FBI photographers can provide detailed crime scene surveys, documentation, various types of photography, 2D and 3D models, and more to support FBI or law enforcement partner agency investigations and to aid in prosecution.

Evidence Response Team Training

Evidence teams close the gap between a crime scene and the FBI Laboratory. Get an inside look as team members learn to process a scene with precision and care.

Scientific Analysis 

Nearly anything connected to a crime scene can provide clues for the FBI’s scientists—like a tire tread, a piece of hair, or a code scribbled on paper.

Some of the scientific analysis techniques that help FBI scientists crack the case include:

  • Questioned documents: Experts can compare handwriting, examine plastic bags, look at indented writing on paper, and examine tire tread or shoeprints for clues.
  • Firearms and toolmarks: Scientists and other specialists can compare bullets to barrels, determine the distance from where a gun shot was fired, and examine shot patterns.
  • Cryptanalysis: Cryptanalysts crack the case by cracking the code. They decrypt manual codes and ciphers used by gangs, drug traffickers, human traffickers, and more. Cryptic symbols from graffiti, tattoos, and other sources provide key leads to law enforcement.
  • Trace evidence: Trace evidence experts look at evidence as microscopic as a human hair. They also examine fibers, fabric, and minerals. Forensic anthropologists can analyze human skeletal remains for investigative clues.
  • Latent Prints: Experts can find hard-to-see fingerprints (known as latent prints) to help catch criminals and terrorists.
  • Chemistry: FBI chemists examine threat letters, dyes, tear gases, bank dye packs, and more. Metallurgists analyze metal evidence to learn about composition and properties, such as piecing together fragments of weapons or learning about a building collapse. Chemists can also look at paints and polymers. Toxicology experts examine biological samples and food evidence for the presence of poisons or drugs.

DNA Analysis  

The DNA testing results obtained from evidence samples are compared to DNA from reference samples collected from known people. This testing helps associate victims and suspects with each other, with evidence items, or with a crime scene.

Criminal Records and Information 

The FBI uses collections of criminal records and other law enforcement information—like fingerprints, palm prints, and iris scans in our investigations. Law enforcement partners also use these tools.

Operational Technology  

The FBI’s operational technology experts have technical capabilities that help the FBI and other law enforcement agencies investigate crime and terrorism. These experts exploit digital and multimedia evidence and support investigations involving digital evidence. The FBI’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratories are full service forensic laboratories and training centers, devoted to examining digital evidence.

For Law Enforcement 

Law enforcement partners can learn about the FBI Laboratory's offerings on our law enforcement site.

Work in Science and Tech for the FBI 

Bring your science skills to the FBI.