New Frontiers in Forensics - 15 April, 2015

On 15 April, 2015 the University of Leicester hosted a national event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Alec Jeffreys’ landmark discovery of DNA fingerprinting. This inspired and truly innovative science has transformed both forensic investigations themselves and the legal framework within which they operate on a global scale. The event “New Frontiers in Forensics: Innovation and inter-disciplinarity 30 years from Jeffreys’ eureka moment” was organized by the Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute and set out to celebrate this discovery. In a more forward looking manner, the event sought to highlight the range and diversity of forensic science research being pursued at the University of Leicester, including in activities of its PhD students.

Networking The Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute was delighted to welcome over 100 visiting delegates to the event. Representatives from academia and a range of practitioner organisations came together to discuss the latest interdisciplinary developments in forensic science and how these could be applied to cases in the near future.

New Frontiers in Forensics
Dr Gillian Tully, UK Forensic Science Regulator
Speakers included Dr Gill Tully, Forensic Science Regulator, as well as eight University of Leicester academics, covering subjects across forensic science: DNA, cold case investigation, forensic pathology and fingerprint detection and analysis.


The topics and lecture presentations were:

These presentations were supported by a poster exhibition, showcasing the current work and future plans of the PhD students on the EU supported INTREPID Forensics programme. Posters presented were:

  • Genetic Information From Surfaces Subjected to Environmental Extremes (Marwan El Khoury)
  • The Use of Micro-CT for Detecting Bomb Fragments in Soft Tissue (Jessica Frances Lam)
  • Pattern Recognition Applied to Fingerprint Matching (Etienne Pillin)
  • Cognitive contaminations in the verification phase of ACE-V methodology (Francisco Valente Gonçalves)
  • Legal Highs: An examination of how legislation impacts NPS route to market (Maurits Beltgens)
  • Image Sampling in Fingerprint Recognition (Silke Jensen)
  • Rapid Investigation of Evidence Using Multi-Spectral Imaging (Alexander Smyth)
  • Fingerprinting Breath: Drugs of Abuse (Sofia Mirmigkou)
  • Drugs of Abuse in Dried Blood Spots: Quantification using Micro-volume Samples (Thalassa Valkenburg)
  • Electrowetting as an aid to conventional fingerprint visualisation techniques (Annelies Voorhaar)
  • Nucleation and growth phenomena in metal-based latent fingerprint enhancement technologies (Jodie Coulston)

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys with the INTREPID Forensics team
Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys with the INTREPID Forensics team
The poster exhibition ran for the whole day and triggered great interest and lively discussions with the visiting delegates from the police, forensic providers, government and other research institutions. The intrinsically inter-disciplinary nature of forensic science and investigations requires integration of skills and expertise spanning the physical, biological, medical and social sciences. The INTREPID project encapsulates this approach perfectly and places the University of Leicester in an excellent position to serve the forensic community. Prof. Robert Hillman said "the event recognizes the outstanding contribution and impact of Prof. Sir Alec Jeffreys' discovery and demonstrates the University of Leicester's continuing commitment to research in this field".


The Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute and its members welcome the opportunity to pursue both near-term operationally focused challenges and longer-term strategic opportunities in collaboration with external partners. For more information about such interactions, as well as the event and the Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute, please contact us at


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