TitleProfessor of Statistics / NRM Affiliate Professor
Office BuildingChicoine Architecture, Mathematics and Engineering Hall
Mailing AddressChicoine Architecture, Math & Engineering Building 250
Math & Statistics-Box 2225
Brookings, SD 57007
EducationCalifornia State University, Chico Mathematics B.S., 1996-2000
University of Kentucky Statistics M.S., 2000-2002
University of Kentucky Statistics Ph.D., 2002-2006
George Mason University Intelligence Community Fellow, 2006-2008
Visiting Scientist with the FBI Labs Forensic Science Research Summer 2013
Academic InterestsMathematical Statistics and Experimental Design
Nonparametric Statistical Methods and Applications
Statistical Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning
Interpretation and Presentation of Evidence
Awards and Honors2020 Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Outstanding Researcher
2016 Young Investigator Award from the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, South Dakota State University
2014 MITRE Distinguished Paper Award for “A Structured Approach for Rapidly Mapping and Multi-Level System Measures via Simulation Metamodeling” (Joint work with Drs. Rosen and Guharay)
Two commendations/awards for statistical and engineering support to the Veteran’s Administration as part of a team of MITRE engineers prototyping software and algorithms that support situational awareness for crisis management and disaster preparedness.
Outstanding Grantee Award, South Dakota State University, Fall 2012.
GrantsFunded Research Support and Awards
South Dakota Center for Understanding and Disrupting the Illicit Economy, Support for a graduate
student in forensic statistics, 2021-2026
The Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology, National Science Foundation,
National Research Trainee Program and Research Experience for Undergraduates. Funding for
one graduate fellow and an undergraduate to work on forensic source identification for 2021-2022.
Funded as a research assistant professor by Gannon Technologies (with Donald T. Gantz-PI and John J. Miller-co-PI), 2008-2009, George Mason University
Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award, Donald T. Gantz (PI), $240,000, 2006-2008, George Mason University
Graduate Research Assistant in Thomas Getchell's Lab in the Sanders Brown Center on Aging, National Institute of Health Training Grant, 2005, University of Kentucky
Microarray Core Facility Graduate Research Assistant, Arnold Stromberg (co-PI), 2003-2006,University of Kentucky
Grants Awards and Contracts (Saunders as P.I. or co. P.I.)
Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award, Eric Kalendra as Research Fellow, Christopher Saunders PI, $240,000, 2010-2012
“Quantifying the Effects of Database Size and Sample Quality on Measures of Individualization Validity and Accuracy in Forensics,” National Institute of Justice Grant Award, Christopher Saunders PI, Linda Davis co-PI, $974,981, 2010-2014
“Decomposition-Based Information Elicitation & Aggregation,” Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) Program, Broad Agency Announcement IARPA-BAA-10-05, Charles Twardy PI, Kathryn B Laskey co-PI, Christopher Saunders co-PI, Approximately $8,200,000 over four years. (I had to step down as co-PI to accept my position with MITRE)
ORISE Visiting Scientist Award, summer funding to support the work of the Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit of the FBI Labs. Summer 2013
“Foundational Research into the Quantification of the Value of Forensic Evidence for Complex Evidential Forms arising from Impression and Pattern Evidence,” National Institute of Justice Grant Award, Christopher Saunders and Cedric Neumann as Joint PI’s. 2014-2018, $780,301, Award 2014-IJ-CX-K088
Grants Awards and Contracts (SDSU PI)
"Algorithm Development," Sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Federal, Saunders (PI on sub-contract with $35,466 in spending authority. (March 22, 2017 - December 31, 2017).
“Kinematic Validation of FDE Determinations about Writership in Questioned Handprinting and Handwriting,” National Institute of Justice Grant Award, Michael Caligiuri (PI) Christopher Saunders (PI on the sub-award). 2018-2019, $187,239 in spending authority, Award 2017-DN-BX-0148, We have requested 6-month extension with an additional ~$30,000 in spending authority to focus on machine learning aspects of project.
“Statistical Infrastructure for the Use of Error Rate Studies in the Interpretation of Forensic Evidence," Sponsored by NIJ- 2018-DU-BX-0228 (Sub award from ISU and GMU, January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019 with a 1 year no-cost-extension) PI on sub-contract with $50,983 in spending authority.
"Forensic Statistics Research,” Sponsored by National Institute of Justice in support of two grant awards that are routed though Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Federal, Saunders (PI on sub-contract with $104,968 in spending authority. (September 2019 - May 2021). This was awarded as two distinct awards, due to the FFRDC status of MIT-LL the grants awards were pooled together and transferred from DoJ to DoD. Original Award Numbers- NIJ 2018-DU-BX-0193 (Post-Blast Explosives Attribution, Dr. Dettman, PI) and NIJ 2018-DU-BX-0192 (Persistence of Touch DNA for Forensic Analysis, Dr. Ramsey, PI)
“Accounting for Covariates in Forensic Error Rate Assessment and Evidence Interpretation,” Sponsored by National Institute of Justice, Award # 2019-DU-BX-0011, Dr. Tang, GMU/UCF – PI on prime. Saunders PI on sub-award spending authority to be determined but will be for roughly 15% AY effort and 1-month summer support per year. Total Award Funding: $495,056 (2-year award).
Work ExperienceAssociate Professor of Statistics (with Tenure), Department of Mathematics and Statistics, South Dakota State University 2016–Present
Gastprofessor, Department of Mathematics, University of Salzburg, Summer 2015
Assistant Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, South Dakota State University 2012–2016
Signal Processing Engineer Lead, Washington Signal Processing Department, The MITRE Corporation, 2011–2018
Associate Research Professor, Applied Information Technology, George Mason University,
effective August 2012
Assistant Research Professor, Document Forensics Laboratory, George Mason University,
2008– June 2012
IC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Document Forensics Laboratory, George Mason University, 2006–2008
Area(s) of ResearchStatistical Learning Theory, Pattern Recognition, Forensic Identification of Source Problems, Categorical Data Analysis, and Statistical Approximation Theory
Applications of ResearchPresentation and Interpretation of Forensic Evidence, Signal Processing, Large Scale Simulations, Forecasting, Biometrics, Bioinformatics
Google Scholar Webpage
Open PRAIRIE - Public Research Access Institutional Repository and Information Exchange