Forensic Science


Overview of the Research Area

The research strengths and main focus areas for forensic science research at Western Sydney University cover environmental forensic science, forensic chemistry (including the chemical analysis of trace evidence and fingerprint detection methods), forensic anthropology (including decomposition studies), and forensic digital imaging. A particular area of interest is the evaluation of field-portable equipment for forensic and environmental monitoring applications. Researchers have access to the Crime Scene Investigation Training and Research Facility, which is jointly owned and operated by WSU and NSW Police, as well as forensic biology, forensic chemistry, digital imaging and general forensic examination research laboratories. A purpose-built mobile forensic laboratory is also available for both research and teaching. Specialised analytical instrumentation for forensic science research is available via the Advanced Materials Characterisation Facility at WSU Parramatta.

Industry research partners include NSW Police, NSW Forensic and Analytical Science Service, Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Environment Protection Authority, and the US National Forensic Science Technology Center. Academic research partners include the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Canberra.

Researchers

Researchers

Professor Chris Lennard
Research expertise and interests: forensic chemistry (chemical analysis of trace evidence), fingerprint detection, evaluation of field-portable equipment for forensic applications
(02) 4570 1739, c.lennard@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Paul Wormell
Research expertise and interests: UV-visible, infrared and Raman spectroscopy and their applications
(02) 9678 7464, p.wormell@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Hayley Green
Research expertise and interests: forensic anthropology, taphonomy , decomposition and time since death studies, anatomical variation
(02) 4620 3697, h.green@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Val Spikmans
Research expertise and interests: environmental forensic science (sampling and analysis of water, soil and air matrices), evaluation of field-portable equipment for forensic and environmental monitoring applications, and forensic chemistry (chemical analysis of trace evidence)
(02) 4570 1992, v.spikmans@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Manisha Dayal
Research expertise and interests: forensic anthropology, anatomy
(02) 4620 3493, m.dayal@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Robert Ebeyan
Research expertise and interests: forensic digital imaging, image processing and the interpretation of images as evidence
(02) 4570 1629, r.ebeyan@westernsydney.edu.au

Potential Supervisors

To find a prospective HDR supervisor, please visit our Potential Supervisors page.

Current Research Candidates and Topics

Current Research Candidates and Topics

Alison Sears, Masters candidate
“Knowledge-driven judgements: Understanding DNA success rates towards evidence-based triage and reporting strategies”
Supervised by: Prof Chris Lennard, Dr Val Spikmans, Prof Tony Raymond, Dr Sharon Neville (NSW Health Pathology)

Denise Duff, PhD candidate
“On-site analysis for intelligence gathering at pollution incidents”
Supervised by: Dr Val Spikmans, Prof Chris Lennard

Kevin Lothridge, PhD candidate
“The development and validation of a suite of portable forensic equipment and techniques for use in maritime environments for forensic intelligence analysis”
Supervised by: Prof Chris Lennard, Dr Val Spikmans

Leshelle Pietsch, Masters candidate
“Investigating the effect of weathering on asphaltenes and their applicability to marine oil spill fingerprinting”
Supervised by: Dr Val Spikmans, Dr Michael Phillips, Prof Chris Lennard

Rylee Lam, PhD candidate
“Evaluation of a portable gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GC-MS) for the onsite analysis of hazardous organics at fire scenes”
Supervised by: Dr Val Spikmans, Prof Chris Lennard

Shawn Harkins, PhD candidate
“The distance relationship between an assailant and a discrete bloodstain”
Supervised by: Prof Chris Lennard, Dr Val Spikmans, Prof Tony Raymond

Tim Lee, PhD candidate
“Next-generation latent fingermark detection using functional nanomaterials”
Supervised by: Prof Chris Lennard, Dr Val Spikmans, Dr Sebastien Moret (UTS)

Contact Person

For more information about the research area, please contact Chris Lennard via email c.lennard@westernsydney.edu.au or phone 02 4570 1739.