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Intelligence from biological evidence through portable forensic analysis

Although biological traces have been used in forensic casework for decades, currently, the amount of information obtained from their analysis is limited to a range of options (e.g. the identity of an individual). Developments in the field have shown that this represents just a fraction of the information that could potentially be gathered from the evidence and being able to access this knowledge would greatly advance criminal investigations. Driven by such need, this project looks into additional data that can be gained from forensic evidence and that can help reconstruct the chain of events, elucidate crime scene dynamics as well as find out more about the identity of both the evidence and the individual who left the evidence behind. Examples of this kind of intelligence or investigative leads include accurately determining the identity of biological fluids, estimating the time since deposition, or obtaining behavioural information about the donor. Particular attention is given to the use of analytical techniques that are portable, can be used in scenarios where traditional analysis cannot be performed and that allow for speed and non-destructiveness, making them suitable for the demanding environment of forensic casework analysis.


Klaus Suhling

Alvaro Varela Morillas PhD Student


  • To identify the most promising and novel investigative leads that can be obtained from biological evidence.
  • To test the feasibility of portable technology for intelligence gathering.

Trials Design

Laboratory based experiments


At the present, the possibility of obtaining intelligence like behavioural information or donor profiling from biological evidence is not usually attempted in forensic investigations. However, it is expected that further developments will enable such information to become part of routine forensic procedures. Moreover, some of these analytical techniques have the potential to be miniaturised and made portable, therefore, opening new avenues for in-field testing that could substantially save time and resources during an investigation.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator


Funding Body: City of London Police

Amount: £110,000

Period: May 2015 - December 2021