Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science


Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science
Ellison Place, Ellison Building
NE1 8ST
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

www.northumbria.ac.uk

Scientific Lead

Prof. Robin Williams

Prof. Robin Williams
Phone: +44 (0) 191 227 4859

Contact

Google Scholar
ResearchGate

Project Staff

Prof. Martin Evison

Prof. Martin Evison
Phone: +44 (0) 191 243 7631

Contact

Dr. Chris Maguire

Dr. Matthias Wienroth
Research Fellow
Phone: +44 (0) 191 227 4583

Contact

Institute Presentation

The Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science undertakes inter-disciplinary research with regional, national and international partners. Its members have worked with leading organisations in the sector, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, Home Office Forensic Science Regulator, Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Australian Federal Police, Environmental Science and Research (New Zealand), INTERPOL, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (United States), as well as with agencies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Funding has come from the Royal Society, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK), Nuffield Foundation (UK), Wellcome Trust (UK), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) and Technical Support Working Group (USA).

Members of the Centre have participated in a number of human rights abuse and Disaster Victim Identification deployments. They have undertaken forensic case work in forensic archaeology and anthropology, forensic facial reconstruction, forensic facial comparison, DNA profiling, low-template DNA analysis, familial searching, and cases where the potential for innocent transfer of DNA evidence is at issue. They have assisted in police investigations into serious crime, and have been instructed by both Prosecution and Defence counsel.

Professor Robin Williams will lead the Centre's work on this project. He has published widely on social and ethical issues in forensic genetics. He joined Northumbria University in 2008 as a Professor of Forensic Science Studies. He is an Emeritus Professor in Sociology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Durham and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Policy & Ethics in the Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle on Tyne. His recent research - on the uses of the life sciences is support of social control - has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Nuffield Foundation. He was a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics Working Party on the Police Uses of Bioinformation and co-author of their report published in 2008. More recently he worked (together with Carole McCartney and Tim Wilson) on the Nuffield Foundation project on 'The Future of Forensic Bioinformation'. He has participated in a number of international collaborations including the Harvard Workshop on 'DNA Fingerprinting and Civil Liberties' and the NIH funded Penn Workshops on 'Emerging Ethical Issues in Criminal Forensic Genetics'. His published work includes (with Paul Johnson) 'Genetic Policing: The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations' (Willan, 2008) and (edited with Jim Fraser), 'The Handbook of Forensic Science' (Willan, 2010).

Professor Martin Evison completed a BSc in Genetics at Newcastle University in 1982, after which he worked on the genetics of thermophilic bacteria in New Zealand. In 1986 he returned to the UK and worked as a professional computer analyst/programmer. His research in forensic genetics began in 1993 with PhD research in ancient DNA, which applied low-template methods to forensic and archaeological material. His work was published in Journal of Forensic Sciences and Ancient Biomolecules. He joined the University of Sheffield Department of Forensic Pathology in 1994 as a research assistant in computerised methods of craniofacial identification, and has published on facial reconstruction and facial comparison in Journal of Forensic Sciences and Forensic Science Communications. Results of a project he directed analysing face shape variation in 3000 volunteers have been published by Taylor and Francis. Recently, while Director of the Forensic Science Program at the University of Toronto, Martin collected a sample of 400 individuals 3D face surfaces accompanied by a 660K SNP and CNV panel, in order to facilitate a pilot study of genetic factors underlying face shape variation. He joined Northumbria University Centre of Forensic Sciences as Director in 2010. He has given evidence on forensic anthropology, low-template DNA analysis and forensic facial identification in England and Wales, and other jurisdictions.

Chris Maguire completed a BA in Biochemistry at York University in 1977 before undertaking a PhD in Molecular Enzymology whilst working as a Research Assistant at Bristol University. Chris was awarded his doctorate in 1982 and also has a MBA from the Bradford University School of Management. In 1981 he had joined the Forensic Science Service; undertaking his initial training as a forensic biologist at the Wetherby Laboratory; specialising in DNA profiling from 1987. In 1990, he became the manager of the DNA Profiling Unit at the FSS Wetherby laboratory; a position he held until 1999. At this time Chris led the development of a Paternity Analysis Unit - the first FSS commercial development and was the lead UK scientist for a number of DVI incidents including; Waco (1994) and the UN helicopter crash in Bosnia (1997).

Between 2000 and 2010 Chris undertook a variety of operational, training, development and consultancy roles in the FSS, all of which involved some aspect of DNA profiling. He was: Lead Scientist - identification of crew of MV Gaul which sank in the Barents Sea in 1974; Consultant to UN to write a strategy document for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMiK) on the use of DNA profiling to identify victims of the conflict in former Yugoslavia; Scientific advisor to British Consul, New York, in relation to the identification of victims of the September 11th 2001 disaster at the World Trade Centre; Member of the DNA advisory group for identification of victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana and Mississippi; and Lead UK scientist for identification of victims of Air France AF447 mid-Atlantic air crash

Chris led the development and commercialisation of DNA expert system software for DNA profile interpretation (FSS-i3), database (FSS-iD) and relationship analysis (FSS-ibd). From this he developed the protocols for the FSS' likelihood ratio approach to familial searching of the National DNA Database.

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