Forensic Ecogenomics

Categories Research

Don’t you just love making new terms! I know I do! Partly we do it because we have egos that need massaging, but mainly it’ because we do cross-disciplinary work and when you’re working at that junction of subjects, sometimes there isn’t the language to help you. So, forensic ecogenomics.

In essence we’ve been thinking about how forensic practitioners can tell if a grave has been used at all, if a body was once there and has since been moved, or perhaps how long the remains were in the ground for. To do this, we’ve been applied methods and approaches from soil ecology to examine how decomposition affects the bacterial communities in the soil.

I’ve been working on this with Dr Komang Ralebisto-Senior, who is our resident soil microbiologist, and frankly much more of an expert in this area of biology than I. Plus, we have a talented PhD student too – Ayo Olakanye – and a few hard-working undergrads and MSc students. We’ve a few papers out now which might be of interest…

I'm a Professor of Applied Biological Anthropology at Teesside University.