The past and present staff, families, and friends of SERI experienced great sadness in May 2012 with the passing of our founder Brian Wraxall who lost his battle with prostate cancer. As the Executive Director & Chief Forensic Serologist of SERI for 35 years, he always exhibited the highest level of scientific integrity and professionalism.
Brian started out his career as a Forensic Biologist at the Metropolitan Police Laboratory (Scotland Yard) in London under the guidance of Bryan Culliford. He contributed numerous techniques to Forensic Biology (Serology) including species cross-over, SAP/VAP, Haptoglobin, PGM subtype on agarose, P30 cross-over, P30 rocket, fetal hemoglobin, AK, EAP, PGM, GLO along with the four Multisystem Groups developed to advance U.S. Crime Lab serologists’ techniques. All of these accomplishments were considered “firsts” in the field. In 1977, Brian was invited to participate in a U.C. Berkeley project called The Bloodstain Analysis System.
He was also one of the first scientists to teach formal training classes in Forensic Serology at the Met Lab in London. For the first 20 years after he relocated to the U.S. he continued teaching classes on the new forensic serology techniques and either trained or oversaw the training of hundreds of Forensic Serologists.
In 1978, when DNA became more frequently accepted in forensics, Brian founded the Serological Research Institute. He has, over the years, advanced various DNA methods, kept his lab staff relevant in casework, and along with his Senior Forensic Serologist Gary C. Harmor, developed a reputation for SERI’s laboratory as a primary leader in DNA/Forensic Serology. He also contributed to many important court decisions across the country in the early days of DNA acceptance.
Many will undoubtedly remember his infectious laughter, his leadership, his high level of energy and enthusiasm for life, as fondly as they will remember his love of laboratory bench work. He was truly a person who was larger than life in many ways. Brian began a living legacy in 1978 which will be proudly carried into the future by the dedicated staff of SERI – past, present, and future.