Scientists and students gather for forensic research symposium

Developments in the world of forensic science will be put under the microscope at the University of Dundee with leading figures in the field joining with students from across the country for this year’s Scottish Student Forensic Research Symposium.

Amanda Pirie, the Scottish Police Authority’s Lead Forensic Scientist for Major Crime, will join Jane Officer, the agency’s Lead Toxicologist, as keynote speakers at the event, which will be opened with an address by Professor Dame Sue Black from the University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID).

The day-long event will also provide valuable networking opportunities for students and the chance to learn about research being undertaken at other Scottish universities.

While featuring prominently on television shows such as CSI and Silent Witness, Micol Zuppello, organising committee member and PhD student at Dundee, said the symposium would focus on the realities of working in forensic science.

“On television they suggest that DNA can solve everything but that is not accurate,” she said.

“Our guest speakers will tell us about their case work, their careers, experiences, and what it is really like to work in this field.

“It is a relatively small sector, but if we know each other and discover that we are doing similar research then we can work together to find solutions.”

The symposium was first established in 2014 with the goal of bringing together students of all levels to share and discuss their research.

Organised by PhD students from both the universities of Dundee and Glasgow, students will also be among those addressing delegates to share their research findings.

Fellow organising committee member and Dundee PhD student Napakorn Sangchay added, “In the past few years our community has been challenged by the public about accuracy and reliability.

“That is why it is so important we share our knowledge and research so we can be prepared for such scrutiny.

“Bringing people together also allows us to identify trends in forensic science and find out if our research is on the right track or if we need to adapt it.”

The event takes place in the Medical Science Institute, Dow Street, from 8.30am to 5pm on Monday 26 March.