An investigative genetic genealogy centre (IGG) has recently been launched by Ramapo College of New Jersey.

The aim of the centre (IGG) is to obtain justice via the ethical use of genetic genealogy. This modern technique will be used to identify human remains, support those wrongfully convicted and resolve cases of violent crime. The first class of students are set to enrol in the spring of 2023.

Cindy Jebb, president of Ramapo College, commented:

The launch of our new IGG Centre illustrates how, through forward-thinking and dynamic initiatives, Ramapo serves the public good. This centre doubles down on our mission to develop skilled, ethical leaders who are civic-minded and committed to learning through doing.

Cindy Jebb, president of Ramapo College


Investigative Genealogy Ramapo group

Investigative Genealogy Ramapo group

The Ramapo IGG Centre is led by two experts in the field of genetic genealogy, David Gurney and Cairenn Binder. David Gurney is highly involved in the world of genealogy – holding a certificate in genealogical studies from Boston University. He is also the president of the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Accreditation Board, and an assistant professor of law and society at Ramapo College. He commented:

Since 2018, investigative genetic genealogy has emerged as an essential tool in securing justice. Over 500 cases have been resolved with the help of IGG. With the new centre — the first of its kind — Ramapo will be at the forefront of ensuring that IGG is practiced proficiently and ethically, while also expanding the reach of IGG in exonerating the wrongfully convicted.

David Gurney, assistant professor of law and society at Ramapo College

Cairenn Binder is the director of the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Certificate Program at Ramapo College. She is a founding partner of Coast-to-Coast Genetic Genealogy Services and the director of education and development for the DNA Doe Project. Interestingly, Binder was involved in the identification of victims of some of the world’s most ghastly serial killers, such as John Wayne Gacy and Gary Ridgeway.

President Cindy Jebb added:

With two of the premier leaders in this emerging field, we know that David and Cairenn will continue to do work that furthers our public purpose, incorporates the liberal arts, develops talented problem solvers and attracts recognition. Thanks to the generous commitment of the college’s longtime supporters and leaders, Susan and Nick Vallario, the IGG Lab positions Ramapo to be the first lab of its kind by focusing exclusively on IGG and providing case work and research in addition to education.

The cutting-edge technology used by IGG will combine traditional and genetic genealogy to help answer cases which have previously left law enforcement in the dark. It is certainly an exciting new step for budding genealogy enthusiasts to take, and a welcome opportunity to support victims of violent crime.