Dr. Thomas Parsons is molecular biologist specializing in basic research and practical applications of DNA analysis. At the outset of his career in the early 1990s, he worked at the Smithsonian Institution conducting tropical forest biodiversity surveys in Panama. There he characterized a unique pattern of hybrid speciation and gene flow in tropical birds that spawned decades of additional research. Entering into forensic DNA identification of missing persons, he worked at the US Armed Forces DNA Laboratory, pioneering the application ofmmtDNA analysis to human identification of highly degraded remains. He later served as Director of Science and Technology at the International Commission on Missing Persons, supervising a high throughput DNA laboratory and teams of forensic anthropologists to identify some 20,000 missing persons, and directing capacity building programs in many countries. He provided extensive expert testimony in numerous war crimes trials that resulted in convictions for genocide and other war crimes relating to conflicts from the former Yugoslavia. He is currently a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution, again conducting fieldwork on avian systems in Panama and pursuing passions as a scuba Divemaster, photography, and being an ardent explorer of the natural world.