I like research; it’s as simple as that.

But that’s true for most academics – it’s part of our job requirement to create knowledge as well as to disseminate it. What I really like then, is having the opportunity to face up to problems and challenges that I or my colleagues meet in the course of our field work – and then sort them out.

I’ve attempted to do this to a number of issues over the years, but just now my main interests lie with:

  1. understanding bone degradation and diagenesis (mainly focusing on the effects of heating and burning on bone)
  2. devising new ways of approaching and resolving commingled contexts (usually from situations of mass violence)
  3. developing new ways to ‘see’ and visualise the body and forensic evidence

Within these three areas, I’m also interesting in testing and pushing at the theoretical framework in which forensic and biological anthropology functions (and thus helping to improve the interpretations that we make).

I also really enjoy helping others to create and foster their own research profiles – mentoring is extremely important to me, as it should be for anyone in my position. In this regard, I’m fortunate to have worked with many PhD students and post-docs, and continue to do so. As Dean, it’s my responsibility to create an environment for everyone to be able to undertake research and to develop themselves as researchers. I have my own crack research team that I love working with, and have been able to support the research agenda of my discipline in two Editor-in-Chief roles – once for the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, and prior to that for Science & Justice.

Of course at a university, research needs to be embedded into the teaching provision. In this respect, I led the first iteration of our project to enhance research-informed teaching across the institution.