Forensic Science

Research that influences policy and provides real world solutions

Our research takes a multidisciplinary approach to chemical, pharmaceutical and forensic analysis.

Researchers within this group are active in several areas of chemistry and analysis associated with forensic, environmental, pharmaceutical, food and lifestyle products and biological industries and partners. Our expertise is used to develop new analytical methods and techniques as well as exploring fundamental and theoretical aspects of research across these sectors. Current group members are also actively working with police forces and forensic practitioners on research projects in order to provide real solutions. Research outputs and implementation of expertise has been used to influence international government policy and submitted the following impact case study to Unit of Assessment 3 (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy) contributing to the high impact score in REF2021.

Implementing multidisciplinary research to facilitate international drug control and protection of global public health.

You can read more about the case study on the university research impact hub pages.

Our expertise

  • Trace metal analysis
  • Fingerprint analysis and enhancement
  • Visualisation and detection technologies for latent fingermarks
  • Ballistics and gunshot residues
  • Decomposition and taphonomic processes
  • Forensic ecogenomics
  • Gene expression studies and sequencing
  • Forensic microscopy
  • Chemistry and pharmacology of drugs of abuse
  • New psychoactive substances (NPS) and ‘designer drugs’
  • Development of novel chemical entities for (pre)clinical studies
  • Dietary supplements
  • Medicines
  • Impurity profiling
  • Risk assessments
  • Drug policy-making and regulation
  • Counterfeit medicinal and food products
  • Spectroscopy
  • DNA and RNA analysis
  • BPA and body fluid analysis 
  • Application of modern technology to forensic science


We have extensive analytical facilities within the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. These include:

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry (LC-MS)
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)
  • Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)
  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS)
  • X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)
  • X-Ray powder diffraction (XRD)
  • Imaging suite including confocal, fluorescent and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Molecular analysis instrumentation (e.g. qPCR and sequencing)
  • Photography including alternative light sources
  • Fingerprint enhancement equipment
  • Infrared and near-infrared spectroscopy (IR and NIR)
  • Ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy (UV/VIS)
  • Microwave analytical sample preparation and synthesis


PhD opportunities are available for self funded students.

Contact us

We offer a full range of research and consultancy services. We currently have post-doctoral and PhD researchers sponsored by local industry, international governments, and the University.

If you would like further information please contact:

Dr Nick Dawnay

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