Dr Leesa Ferguson

Course Leader

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Leesa teaches on our undergraduate forensic science courses. Her research focuses on fingermarks, inks and the forensic analysis of legal highs.



Leesa obtained a first class honours degree in Forensic and Analytical Science from Sheffield Hallam University. Her PhD involved investigating the composition of latent fingermarks using spectroscopic imaging techniques, with particular emphasis on Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. 

Before teaching at ARU, Leesa worked as a lecturer in forensic science at Sheffield Hallam University.

Research interests

  • Use of spectroscopy techniques in the analysis of latent fingermarks
  • Forensic analysis of inks
  • Detection of drugs of abuse on paper currency and other matrices
  • Forensic analysis of legal highs


BSc (Hons) Forensic Science

BSc (Hons) Crime and Investigative Studies

MSc Forensic Science


  • PhD, Analysis of the Composition of Latent Fingermarks by Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic and Analytical Science
  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education)

Memberships, editorial boards

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Selected recent publications

Ferguson, L.S., Creasey, S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M.R. and Francese, S., 2013. Efficiency of the dry-wet method for the MALDI-MSI analysis of latent fingermarks. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 48, pp.677-684.

Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Ferguson, L.S., Sammon, C., Mader, K., Claude, E., Blackledge, R.D., Clench, M.R. and Francese, S., 2013. Spectroscopic imaging based approach for condom identification in condom contaminated fingermarks. Analyst, 138(9), pp.2546-2557.

Francese, S., Bradshaw, R., Ferguson, L.S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M.R., and Bleay, S., 2013. Beyond the ridge pattern:multi-informative analysis by MALDI mass spectrometry. Analyst.

Ferguson, L.S., Wulfert, F., Wolstenholme, R., Fonville, J.M., Clench, M.R., Carolan, V.A. and Francese, S., 2012. Direct detection of peptides and small proteins in fingermarks and determination of sex by MALDI mass spectrometry profiling. Analyst, 137(20), pp.4686-4692.

Bailey, M.J., Bright, N.J., Croxton, R.S., Francese, S., Ferguson, L.S., Hinder, S., Jickells, S., Jones, B.J., Jones, B.N., Kazarian, S.G., Ojeda, J.J., Webb, R.P., Wolstenholme, R. and Bleay, S., 2012. Chemical characterisation of Latent fingermarks by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, mega electron volt secondary mass spectrometry, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic imaging: an inter-comparison. Analytical Chemistry, 84(20), p.5814.

Ferguson L.S., Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M.R., and Francese, S., 2011. Two-step matrix application for the enhancement and imaging of latent fingermarks. Analytical Chemistry, 83, pp.5585-5591.

Bradshaw R., Wolstenholme R., Blackledge R.D, Clench M.R., Ferguson L.S. and Francese S., 2011. A novel matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging based methodology for the identification of sexual assault suspects. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 25, pp.415-422.

Ferguson, L., Francese, S., Wolstenholme, R., and Lozano-Diz, E., 2010. Gold nanoparticles for SERS in fingermark Identification- Perkin Elmer Application Note [online]. Available at: http://www.perkinelmer.com.cn/cmsresources/images/46-74273app_sersinfingerprints.pdf.

Ferguson, L., Lozano-Diz, E., Francese, S., and Wolstenholme, R., 2010. Gold nanoparticles for SERS in fingermark Identification[online]. Spectroscopy Wavelength.