King's College London

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King's College London
WC2R 2LS London
United Kingdom

Scientific Lead

Dr. Denise Syndercombe Court
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7882 2276



Project Staff

David Ballard


Institute Presentation

KCL is a research-led university with a world-class reputation for teaching and research, from the discovery of the structure of DNA to the active department in forensic science at KCL today.  The department, established in 1978, has a long history of training both police and civilian forensic science practitioners and has been running an MSc course in Forensic Science since 1985. The Academic Haematology forensic unit from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has been teaching on this programme for over ten years and now, in 2012, will be joining the department to widen the research capability, particularly in the area of forensic identification.  King’s has a long established Law and Ethics Department which they will form links with.  The group that will join us from QMUL were involved in the early development of serological and electrophoretic techniques to identify genetic polymorphisms for use in the investigation of crime and for the purpose of relationship studies.  They were involved in the early validation of single locus DNA probes in the 1980s and in the subsequent development of DNA techniques involving short tandem repeats (STR) markers.  They are represented on the European DNA Group (EDNAP) and participate in exercises to assist in the development of new techniques and markers in forensic identification.  They were one of five Work Package leaders in the EU funded network project "Standardisation of DNA Profiling Techniques in the European Union (STADNAP)".  Since the end of that project, their research has extended to work involving familial markers on the Y and X chromosomes and within mitochondrial DNA, and the use of other STR markers for complex family studies within groups of related individuals.  They were one of four WP leaders in the EU funded 5th framework project SNPforID consortium, where they were involved in the development and evaluation of SNPs for sensitive forensic analysis.  More recently they have been undertaking research into the use of SNPs to predict skin colour.

On behalf of the British Academy of Forensic Science, DSC has produced a response to the report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the United Kingdom.  She has helped to initiate meetings to address and discuss concerns about the UK National DNA Database (NDNAD) with invited participants representing government, police and other interested parties, and has been invited to participate in several national and international meetings about forensic and medical bioethics.  In addition to her role as a DNA scientist, DSC is trained in, and works as a consultant in the evidence–based approach in medicine and science; she holds a post graduate diploma in systematic reviews.