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Released July 1, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Noetic Technologies Inc., a company created for entrepreneurs at The University of Southern Mississippi, has announced its first business partnership with Biocare Medical of Walnut Creek, Calif.

Dean Bertram, a forensics instructor at Southern Miss, and Kim Wright, a histology technician at Forrest General, have signed a licensing agreement with Biocare Medical that will allow the company to produce and market a tissue rehydration agent the duo created. The solution, which would make it easier for coroners to revive fingerprints and identify dead bodies, will be sold as a kit to crime labs and law enforcement agencies.

The inventors of the solution were paid a technology fee for their intellectual property and will receive a percentage of future sales, as will the university, Noetics president and CEO Dr. Les Goff said.

"These are the type of opportunities Noetic Technologies was created to produce," Goff said. "I must say that Dean and Kim are the type of inventors and entrepreneurs that we need. Through their curiosity and hard work they pushed to make this happen."

The project came together after Wright started brainstorming about other potential uses for a buffer salt solution she was using at the time to test tumors. Wright approached Bertram about the forensic possibilities of the solution, and the two soon began doing research together.

Bertram and Wright tested the product on themselves, purposefully drying their skin and applying the solution to see if it would reinvigorate their skin cells, which it did. "The solution works great for enhancing tumors, so I had an idea this would help in fingerprinting," Wright said.

The benefits of the solution are many, Bertram said. "It's nontoxic, so you can use it at the scene of a crime, in the field or in a lab."

Bertram said the solution could be used to identify a decomposed body when the fingerprints are too shriveled to lift. "We can soak the hand in the solution and bring up ridge details (in the fingers) to the point where they can get a print. That way, if you have their prints in a data bank somewhere, they can be identified," he said.

Although Wright and Bertram have not tested the solution on a cadaver, it is currently being tested by the Department of the Army's Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Iraq, Bertram said. The results have not been returned yet, he said.

In August, Bertram and Wright will take their product to St. Louis for one of the largest forensic science conventions in the nation.


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July 16, 2004 2:40 PM