Who we are:
King’s Forensics (KF) is an academic grouping in the Department of Analytical, Environmental & Forensic Science (AFES), Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, with unique infrastructure provided by three laboratories accredited to the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) International Quality Standard (ISO/IEC 17025:2017) for anti-doping (Drug Control Centre), forensic genetics (DNA analysis @ King’s) and fingermark detection (City of London Police). Together these provide an accredited laboratory footprint unmatched anywhere in Europe and beyond, combining world-leading research alongside essential core techniques applicable for use in criminal justice and anti-doping science. Both the Drug Control Centre (DCC) and DNA analysis @ King’s accredited laboratories have long standing service contracts with government departments. The DCC is funded by UKAD (UK Anti-Doping), whereas DNA analysis @ King’s receives its main income from specialist forensic services and complex relationship testing for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. We have recently established the new ‘King’s Forensics Mass Spectrometry Service’ (KF-MSS) based at the Waterloo campus and share this space with the London Metallomics Facility.
What we do:
King’s Forensics carries out research, teaching and accredited laboratory services under five main themes including Anti-doping Science, Forensic Genetics, Forensic & Analytical Science, International Forensics and Digital Forensics & Cybercrime. We conduct research in crime scene investigation, forensic genetic intelligence, detection of illicit and new psychoactive drugs, anti-doping science, biomarkers of addiction, trace analysis, forensic biochemistry and so much more. As well as extensive engagement in education and service, research impact and knowledge transfer has been significant in recent years. We seek to ‘serve the needs and aspirations of society’ on behalf of the College. Our impact has been endorsed in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework where King’s Forensics submitted four case impact studies (ICS): Anti-Doping-Sports Medicine (Sochi, Russian Anti-Doping corruption investigation); Public Health (Drug-Driving detection), Anti-Doping Chemistry (analytical advances to detect cheating in sport) and Biological Sciences (fingermark and trace evidence to detect wildlife crime).
Where we excel:
King’s Forensics has internationally respected expertise ranging from anti-doping to terrorism offences, nanotechnology to dry-blood spots, cold case investigations to ancestral identity, and drug-driving to wildlife poaching. These are symbiotically linked by expertise in sophisticated analytical techniques such as Liquid Chromatography (LC) tandem Mass Spectrometry (MS), High Resolution and Quadrupole Time of Flight (QTOF) Mass Spectrometry, as well as hyphenated Gas-Chromatography (GC) technologies including GC-Isotope-Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IR-MS). Staff are also experienced in UV-visible, infrared and fluorescence spectrometry, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopies, flow cytometry and peptide synthesis. There is also a depth of knowledge in the MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System or next-generation sequencing (NGS). Our third-stream income from analytical services supports world leading research and teaching. Pre-eminent in the sector, recognised for our academic knowledge and analytical expertise, we provide independent advice to stakeholders. We influence policy at home, and internationally, contributing to King’s global reach in line with Vision 2029, providing a direct benefit to forensic communities and wider society.
Who we serve:
We provide internationally renowned “high-stakes” analytical and interpretive services in anti-doping, forensic science, and forensic genetics to end-users through our accredited laboratories using extremely sensitive analytical techniques. Being embedded within a university infrastructure is a strength ensuring our expertise is evidence-based, and research driven. Our work is quality assured enabling us to provide defensible, scientific reports that may impact people's lives. We have, and continue to develop, multidisciplinary partners within academia, the criminal justice arena, law enforcement, non-governmental organisations, and anti-doping agencies.
What we teach:
Our educational portfolio complements King’s College London’s strategic guiding principle ‘to enable meaningful connections between students, staff, and national and international communities’. Together with our master’s programmes (the accredited MSc Forensic Science and MSc Analytical Toxicology), and PhD programmes in several research themes, we run an undergraduate problem-based learning module (since 2013) and a Forensic Science Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). The Science Behind Forensic Science MOOC was launched in 2018 providing the desired connections through a comprehensive repertoire of educational opportunities. Each master’s programme has strategic alliances with the Metropolitan Police Service, the City of London Police and Forensic Science Providers such as Eurofins Forensic Services, Analytical Services International, Cellmark Forensics, Abbott Laboratories and Key Forensic Services which ensure that students’ research opportunities are driven by applicability to the end-user.
King’s Forensics has also developed a reputation for specialist bespoke executive training in Forensic Science and seeks to grow this activity including our Bolashak Programme in Forensic Science, Law, and Intellectual Property. This is a 12-month educational training programme funded by the Government of Kazakhstan, running since 2018 and continues to train colleagues from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Justice.
Kim Wolff MBE, Director King’s Forensics