Faculty who engage and inspire

At Trent, you thrive by living and working alongside some of the best faculty from across Canada and around the world. The Forensic Science program is home to an impressive team of scientific experts and respected professionals who are equally valued by students for their exceptional teaching abilities. They bring years of knowledge and field skills to the classroom, in areas such as DNA analysis, forensic entomology, criminology, bloodstain pattern analysis, wildlife forensics, plant pathogen forensics, court room proceedings, and policing expertise in organized crime and homicide.



Christopher Kyle Chair / Associate Professor

Email:        Ext. 7055 


Research Chair in Wildlife Genetics and Forensics.

My research interests include Landscape and Molecular Epidemiology,
Landscape and Conservation Genetics and Molecular Applications in Forensic Entomology. I currently teach the 1st year "Introduction to Forensic Science", the 3rd year DNA Laboratory Forensics and co-ordinate the Forensics Summer Camps for highschool students.



Barry Saville Associate Professor

Email:              Ext. 7260

I am interested in microbial forensics and, more specifically, plant pathogen forensics. I am using the model pathogen Ustilago maydis to develop DNA-based tests for species and strain identification in a forensics context. This fungus has been indicated as a potential vehicle for biocrime.

I teach the recently-created course on Biocrime and Bioterrorism and although currently on sabbatical, I usually teach the 'Independent Project' and 'Research Thesis' courses.




Aaron Shafer Assistant Professor

Email:             Ext. 6612 


 I am interested in applying genomic methods to conservation, wildlife management, and legal issues. My research interests also involve using molecular tools to understand the drivers of important processes like migration and adaptation in nature. I study big and small mammals (sea lions and mountain goats to shrews and voles), and use computer simulations to explore the applicability of different genomic analyses.


Mike Illes Lecturer Professor

Email:                     Ext. 7227

Mike studied at Trent University where he received his M.Sc. and continues to teach for the Forensic Science Program. Mike has also been appointed as an Adjunct Professor within the Materials Science Graduate Program. He retired from the Ontario Provincial Police as a Regional Manager of Forensic Services and has instructed on forensic science in the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland and other Canadian Academic Institutions. Mike has provided expert opinion evidence in the Canadian, the USA and the Netherlands court systems. He is actively involved in bloodstain pattern analysis research and teaches FRSC 3010H, Crime Scene Investigation, FRSC 3100H, Trends in Forensic Science, FRSC 2020H Scientific Methodology in Forensic Science and FRSC 4111H, Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis.



Rhonda L Smith Lecturer Professor

Email:          Ext. 7901

I am fortunate to be able to teach the law courses offered in Forensics at Trent.  I have a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) and Bachelor of Laws, both from Queen’s University, as well as a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. In my early legal years I practiced criminal law as both Crown and Defence Counsel, as well as labour, employment, and family law. I have worked in both the private and public sectors in various roles throughout my career. For the last number of years I have focussed on my mediation practice and teaching.  I am a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, ADR Institutes of Ontario and Canada, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. 

I love the challenge of bringing the world of law to our students.  The first year ‘Introduction to Canadian Justice’ course, open to all students at the University, really provides the backdrop from the upper year law learning.  The other law courses offered to both B.Sc.F.S. students as well as Joint Majors include ‘Criminal Code’ and ‘Criminology in Forensics’.  The final year course for B.Sc.F.S. students, ‘Presentation of Forensic Evidence’, brings it altogether so that our students can leave the program knowing they understand the legal system and their potential roles in it.  My research interests include the effective use of science in the courtroom, the role of alternate dispute resolution to resolve technical disputes, and managing professional ethical dilemmas.




Sharon Beaucage-Johnson Placement Officer

Email:  Ext. 7446

I am the Placement Officer for the Forensic Science program and a graduate of Trent.  My job is primarily to facilitate the placement process with second year students in the professional program.  In addition to this role, I also teach the placement course and the fourth year community-based education course. 

I bring to the department a diverse range of experience and skills.  Prior to coming to Trent, I worked as a group facilitator and employment counsellor for four years with Vocational Visions, an employment agency in Peterborough.  My workshops focused on job search, career direction, presentation, communication, professionalism and life skills.  In my spare time, I also operated my own business as a business plan writer and small business consultant.  Other past experience includes work with Fleming College as an instructor, curriculum co-ordinator and job developer.


Lesley Hewett Laboratory Demonstrator

Email:                   Ext. 7262                      

I graduated from the Forensic Science program in 2008 and gladly returned to Trent in 2010 as a Laboratory Demonstrator after gaining valuable experience in local private laboratories.  I teach labs for the upper year courses in the department so you will see me weekly starting in your third year. I love that I get to work with you so regularly and actually get to know you!  Through a wide range of exercises, you will learn skills such as crime scene photography, fingerprint development, bloodstain pattern analysis, and DNA profiling.  In 2016, I was honored to receive the Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance (  I’m proud to be a part of such an excellent program and I look forward to the chance to share it with you!