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As part of King’s Forensics, the Forensic Biochemistry group headed by Dr Nunzianda Frascione investigates the nature and evidential use of forensic trace evidence such as biological fluids, touch DNA and fingermarks. Such traces are often the most important forms of evidence encountered within forensic casework and their presence may help support or refute victim, suspect or witness claims about events.

Specialist expertise: The group works closely, both on a technical and operational level, with police forces, forensic providers and government-associated laboratories on several research streams: The development of biosensors for the detection of biological evidence – Current methods for their detection of body fluids on evidential surfaces are costly and time-consuming. The purpose of this project is to develop a number of ‘turn-on’ fluorescent probes that can be sprayed onto items in order to simultaneously locate and identity different types of biological evidence. Biological fluid aging – Uncertainty over the time that a blood deposit was made has led to the rejection of forensically valuable evidence in the past. Using fluorescence lifetime monitoring, our group is currently developing an accurate method to determine the time since creation of bloodstains and other biological evidence. Studying the nature of ‘touch DNA’ – This project aims to determine the source of DNA transferred by touch; study the variability both between and within individuals and ultimately develop a method of extraction and amplification to maximise the potential of gaining usable DNA profiles from this evidence. Synthesis and use of forensic ‘taggants’ – The use of forensic ‘taggant’ technology to physically or chemically mark objects for the purpose of identification is becoming a significant part of national crime reduction strategies. Taggants may be able to prevent or monitor criminal offences such as theft, counterfeiting and the trafficking of drugs or explosives by associating an object with a specific piece of information. Our group specializes in the development and deployment of novel taggant materials.