Katherine Scafide, PhD, RN


Katherine (“Kat”) Scafide is a tenured Associate Professor, forensic nurse and scientist in the School of Nursing. Her years of forensic nursing practice caring for living and deceased victims of violence has contributed significantly to her program of research. Her research primarily focuses on advancing equity in the medical identification and forensic documentation of injuries, particularly for patients of color, through innovative use of technology. She has received several federal awards to support these efforts.

Dr. Scafide began her journey as a bruise scientist during her doctoral work at Johns Hopkins where she garnered the name “paintball” lady for her unique method of creating injuries. At George Mason, she collaborated with colleagues at Texas A & M and Georgia State Universities, conducting one of the largest and most diverse bruise studies in modern forensic history. Their investigation identified specific wavelengths of visible light which significantly improved the detection of bruises over current practices across diverse skin tones. Those findings have since garnered national media and celebrity attention. Currently, Dr. Scafide is developing and evaluating clinical guidelines to support the implementation of this technology into forensic nursing practice. Her interdisciplinary research teams include a collaboration here at George Mason with CPH Health Informatics and Volgenau School of Engineering to investigate whether deep learning of the digital images can be used to model bruise age as well as develop a national repository for bruise images. 

Dr. Scafide is heavily involved in service here at Mason, several professional organizations, and the government (NIST). She teaches primarily in the PhD program in the School of Nursing where she mentors doctoral dissertations.


External Grants

Scafide, K. (PI), Lattanzi, D. (Co-PI), & Wojtusiak, J. (Co-PI). Collaborative artificial intelligence platform for bruise age analysis. National Institute of Justice (DOJ), Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes, FY 2021 (15PNIJ-21-GG-04145-SLFO). January 2022 – December 2024.

Scafide, K. (PI), Ekroos, R., Mallinson, R., & Hayat, M. Improving the forensic documentation of injuries through alternate light: A researcher-practitioner partnership (2019-NE-BX-0008)National Institute of Justice (DOJ), Research and Evaluation on Violence Against Women. January 2020- June 2023.

Scafide, K. (PI), Sheridan, D. (Co-PI), Downing, N., & Hayat, M. Analysis of alternate light in the detection and visibility of cutaneous bruises (2016-DN-BX-0147). National Institute of Justice (DOJ), Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes. January 2017 – June 2020.

Selected Publications

Scafide, K. S., Downing, N. R., Kutahyalioglu, N. S., Sheridan, D. J., Langlois, N. E., & Hayat, M. J. (2022). Predicting alternate light absorption in areas of trauma based on degree of skin pigmentation: Not all wavelengths are equal. Forensic Science International. Open Access Link.

Scafide, K. N., Ekroos, R. A., Mallinson, R. K., Alshahrani, A., Volz, J., Holbrook, D. S., & Hayat, M. J. (2022). Improving the forensic documentation of injuries through alternate light: A researcher-practitioner partnership. Journal of Forensic Nursing. Open Access Link.

Scafide, K. N., Downing, N. R., Kutahyalioglu, N., Sebeh, Y., Sheridan, D. J., & Hayat, M. J. (2021). Quantifying the degree of bruise visibility observed under white light and an alternate light source. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 17(1), 24-33. Link.

Scafide, K. N., Sheridan, D. J., Downing, N., & Hayat, M. J. (2020). Detection of inflicted bruises by alternate light: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 65(4), 1191-1198. Open Access Link.

Scafide, K. N., Narayan, M. C., & Arundel, L. (2020). Bedside technologies to enhance the early detection of pressure injuries: A systematic review. Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, 47(2), 128-136. Open Access Link.

Scafide, K. N., Sharma, S., Tripp, N. E., & Hayat, M. J. (2019). Bruise detection and visibility under alternate light during the first three days post-trauma. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 69, 101893. Link.

Scafide, K. N., Sheridan, D. J., Taylor, L., Hayat, M. J. (2016). Reliability of tristimulus colourimetry in the assessment of cutaneous bruise colour. Injury, 47(6), 1258–1263. Link.

Politt, E. N., Anderson, J. C., Scafide, K. N., Holbrook, D., D’Sylva, G., & Sheridan, D. J. (2016). Alternate light source findings of common topical products. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 12(3), 97-103. Link.  

Other Media 

Scafide, K., & Sheridan, D. (speakers). (2019, October 30). Detection and visibility of bruises using alternate light: from science to practice. Forensic Technology Center of Excellence. [webinar].

Mangum, L. (producer). (2019, May 14). Just skin deep (Guests: Dr. Katherine Scafide and Dr. Daniel Sheridan). Just Science Podcasts. RTI International Center for Forensic Sciences. [audio podcast].           


  • PhD, Nursing, Johns Hopkins University
  • MSN, Forensic Clinical Nurse Specialist, Johns Hopkins University
  • BSN, Nursing, Georgetown University