Traditionally, research and development behind human DNA identification is the
gold standard in forensic science; however, applications of DNA-based forensics to
non-human organisms is increasing rapidly.
In wildlife forensics, DNA profiles
of biological material from illegal kill sites are compared to those of samples
collected from suspected poachers and a probability of whether they originated
from the same sample is determined.
In forensic botany, DNA analysis is being
developed to identify Marijuana strains and to determine the probability that
grow ops are linked to international cartels. DNA analysis was also used in
microbial forensics to identify the strain of Bacillus anthracis used in
bioterrorist attacks through the US mail system. These are limited examples of
non-human forensic science, an area of research that is the focus of many
faculty members associated with the Forensic Science Program.
Dr. Barry Saville joined the Faculty in October of 2006 with a research interest
in fungal genomics and genome-wide gene expression analysis. He has experience
in nucleic acids analysis that includes the discovery and characterization of
catalytic RNAs, population genetics and fungal genomics. A focus of Dr
Saville's work will be the development of molecular tools for forensic
identification of microbes that may be used in bioterrorist attacks with an
emphasis on plant pathogens.
Dr. Christopher Kyle is an associate professor and research Chair in Wildlife Genetics and Forensics sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; his research interests
include the relative influences of environmental factors on animal movement and
dispersal including wildlife disease applications, as well as wildlife forensics
and forensic entomology.
Rhonda L. Smith is the law faculty member in the Forensic Science Program. Her area of research is the use of scientific experts in criminal and civil trials and, in particular, the impact on juries and other criminal justice participants of non- adversarial modes for the delivery of expert evidence. Working with undergraduate students, Professor Smith is examining how using different methods for presenting expert evidence can make for better judge and jury decision-making and access to justice.
Mike Illes has been part of the Forensic Science Research Team since 2006. He also conducts research as an Adjunct Professor within the Material Science Graduate Program. His research interests include bloodstain pattern analysis - specifically fluid dynamics and the application of statistical models - and crime scene analysis.
The Sherlock Blood Spatter Analysis system
http://sherlock.trentu.ca/ iis an application to help process field data and determine the unique point of impact for your dataset. The following link is supplied to support BPA training and was made possible because of the ongoing research at Tent University.
We would like to acknowledge Amanda Orr, BScFS graduate and Jacques Beland, Computing Systems for their work in the development and validation of the Sherlock software. "
Additionally, Mike is interested in forensic science processes such as pedagogic practices and the application of methods.
diverse focus afforded by these individuals provides breadth to the Forensic
Science Program and to the education students receive in this program.