Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests are focussed on harnessing the power of newer sequencing technologies within forensic genetics and genomics. There are four main strands to this work:


Genomic discovery of forensically relevant variation as revealed through massively parallel sequencing (MPS). Improvements in sequencing technology have resulted in the ability to simultaneously generate detailed genetic information across a large number of genetic loci from a single biological sample in a forensic context. This work explores sequence variation of forensically relevant STR and SNP loci, and includes the international STRseq project.


Implementation of massively parallel sequencing technology into kinship and criminal casework.Traditional forensic DNA methodologies can prove insufficient when dealing with complex kinship cases and challenging forensic samples. Research carried out explores the improvements that can be made to complex kinship investigations through the use of MPS technology to concurrently analyse a multitude of different genetic marker types, and the implications that genetic linkage has on this process. In addition, it focusses on how MPS technology can be implemented in forensic casework laboratories, including work to define new international STR nomenclature standards.


DNA Intelligence through phenotype prediction – age, ancestry, and physical features. In cases where there is no match between a DNA sample collected from a crime scene and a DNA database, then DNA intelligence tools can provide some investigative leads. DNA intelligence tools investigated as part of this research include those to predict the biogeographical ancestry, physical features and the age of the donor of the DNA sample.


DNA Intelligence through metagenomics. Advances in forensic science over the last 25 years have enabled trace amounts of material to be analysed in ever more complex ways. In the field of forensic genetics, this has led to the routine production of DNA profiles from only a few cells’ worth of damaged human DNA, providing a direct link between an individual and a crime scene. The human DNA present within any such sample may however only represent a fraction of the total DNA present, and metagenomics is the field of study that focusses on understanding the diversity and implications of this other world of environmental DNA coexisting within the sample. Investigating the non-human DNA (bacteria, archaea, protists, plants, fungi, and animals) within such samples could provide useful intelligence to forensic investigations. Depending on the sample type and the question at hand, the intelligence provided by the non-human component could include activity level information such as where someone might have been and what they may have come in to contact with before, during, and even after an event has taken place.

Research interests (short)

Specialised forensic DNA applications; both in complex relationship/victim identification cases and as an intelligence tool for law enforcement organisations.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Characterisation and Differentiation of Three British Population Groups, University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2013

Master of Science, Forensic Science, King's College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2000

Bachelor of Science, Physiology, UCL University College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998


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