Dr. Kate Perrault made this year’s Power List published by The Analytical Scientist. The annual Power List recognizes the great work of analytical scientists all over the world. This year’s theme, 40 under 40, celebrates rising scientists making waves in analytical science.
“I follow the Power List every year,” says Dr. Perrault. “It’s such a big honor now to be on it. To be nominated for something like this so early in my career is really meaningful.”
As a forensic scientist and an odor scientist, Dr. Perrault analyzes the chemicals released by odors, specifically the odors that law enforcement canines use to find dead bodies. Canines are our best tool to find bodies following a natural disaster, homicide or missing person alert–they latch on to the smell of a certain chemical that is released when a body decomposes.
“We wanted to understand exactly what dogs smell when they find a body,” says Dr. Perrault. “But that became a major challenge because the traditional techniques used to characterize odors weren’t good enough. My work identified better methods with newer technologies, and now I want to use those methods to study how different microbes on a body can change the odor it releases.”