Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group

Forensics students

Our research group carries out high-level and world-class research in forensic science and criminal investigation. Members of our group include practitioners, consultants, professionals from the field and current researchers within chemical and biological forensic analysis, evidential scene analysis and interpretation.

Our team has accrued a wealth of knowledge and previous experience in the field which has strengthened both our curriculum and our research profile.

We collaborate with many different investigative organisations including police forces and fire and rescue services, other universities and various forensic analytical services and companies. We have strong relationships with our partners and this allows us to explore, diagnose, understand and develop areas of knowledge to improve the many aspects of forensic and investigative sciences used in court.

This is also reflected in our association and contribution within our subject specialisms as active members, representatives, board and council members, link tutors, editorial board members, peer reviewers, senior fellows, conference committee members and continual professional development and proficiency assessors within various societies and organisations.

The Forensic and Investigative Sciences Research Group is located in ARU's Science Centre, a £45m state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. Included in the centre are dedicated research laboratories with space for more than 50 staff and postgraduate students, providing specialist tissue culture, molecular biology, investigative sciences and microbiology research spaces. The centre incorporates a 300-seat lecture theatre adapted for science teaching and a 200-station biosciences laboratory.

Our Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group is split into several research areas which include:

If you’re part of an organisation or forensic science provider who wishes to collaborate or explore possible areas of research our specialisms might support, then please contact Dr Nicholas Pugh, our Deputy Head of Department for Research, or a member of the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group.

We offer our Forensic & Investigative Sciences PhD. We've also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

Members

Academic staff

  • Prof Michael Cole. Mike’s research interests include analysis of drug chemistry, drug profiling and comparison, and drug toxicity.
  • Dr Leesa Ferguson. Leesa’s research focuses on fingermarks, inks and the forensic analysis of legal highs.
  • Prof Lata Gautam. Lata’s expertise lies in drugs and pharmaceutical analysis from different matrices using chromatography and mass spectrometry. She supervises research in forensic toxicology, environmental toxicology and drugs analysis.
  • Dr Kyprianos Georgiou. Kyp’s work focuses on understanding the chemical interaction between latent finger marks, chemical treatments and recycled/non-recycled surfaces.
  • Rebecca Jones. Rebecca's area of expertise is in crime scene examination, gained as a professional practitioner of almost 15 years with two police forces.
  • Dr Thomas O'Mahony. Tom is a biological anthropologist with expertise in 3D imaging, developmental anatomy, and palaeoanthropology. His research is interdisciplinary covering multiple aspects of human and animal anatomy with applications in both biomedical and forensic sciences.
  • Dr Rahul Pathak. Rahul is a medical doctor who has previously worked in forensic pathology in South East Africa, where he conducted several medico-legal autopsies and exhumations, and also testified as an expert witness in court.
  • Dr Nathalie Zahra. Nathalie’s research concerns forensic science and specialises in forensic genetics and fingerprint comparison.
Read more about academic staff.

PhD researchers

  • Oluwayemisi Akande. 'Investigation of fingermark development techniques on eco-friendly plastic bag'. Supervisors: Kyp Georgiou and Lata Gautam.
  • Judith Blundell. 'Identification of the impurities formed by the acid catalysed reaction of cannabidiol (CBD) products into △9 – tetrahydrocannabinol (△9-THC). Supervisors: Lorna Nisbet and Lata Gautam.
  • Christopher Davies. 'Method Development and Validation for the Simultaneous Detection of Designer Benzodiazepines in Human Hair using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry'. Supervisors: Lata Gautam and Jo Morrissey.
  • Richard Harries. 'Identification of recreationally abused anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) amongst gym-goers'. Supervisors: Lorna Nisbet and Lee Smith.
  • Same Ratshonka. 'The chemical impurity profiling of Heroin and the determination of the applicability of statistical methods to the profiling process'. Supervisors: Michael Cole and Lata Gautam.
  • Minakshi Singh. 'Use of genetic markers that for body fluid identification in mixed sample'. Supervisors: Nathalie Zahra and Claire Pike.
  • Yanita Yankova. 'Frontline deployable analytical technology'. Supervisor: Michael Cole.
Read more about phd researchers.

Professional bodies and associations

Our research group includes members of:

  • The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • International Society of Forensic Genetics
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Society of Forensic Toxicology
  • Society for Evidence Based Policing
  • UK Association of Fire Investigators
  • International Association of Blood Pattern Analysts
  • Society of Wildlife Forensic Science
  • International Crime Scene Investigators Association
  • Council of Forensic Science Educators
  • London Toxicology Group
  • United Kingdom & Ireland Forensic Toxicologist
  • British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
  • International Association of Forensic Toxicologists
  • Indian Association of Medico-legal Experts
  • British Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • International Association for Identification
Read more about more about professional bodies and associations.