What can you study?…Forensic and Applied Biology.

I’ve had an interesting talk with Ian Callow, a lecturer in Forensic and Applied Biology recently and I was fascinated hearing about the things they do in the lectures.  Have you every watched any CSI series? The real world is much more interesting…I’ve asked Ian to talk about the kind of work they do in some modules and here’s what he said:

“Friday morning means it is now time the 2nd-year module “Crime Scene Investigation”. In this module, we explore the role of the crime scene investigator and other associated professionals.  We create crime scenes for a wide range of offence types in order to create an environment in which the student’s skills and knowledge are applied in a practical sense.  We are fortunate to have a wealth of expertise in crime scene investigation and crime scene management from practitioner input.

Vehicle related crime – it’s not real!

This week we are focusing on vehicle related crime and will be working a scene where my car forms the centerpiece!  We will begin the session with a lecture and discussion to explore the techniques, practice and their application. We will also consider the nature of vehicle related crime and how this fits into the bigger picture.  Following the lecture (and a quick cup of tea) we meet at the crime house to set to work on the crime scene.

Crime scene

Back to the lab so students can put the finishing touches to their coursework for this module.  As the module is very hands-on, the assessment takes the form of a practical portfolio made up of many elements including an assessed crime scene, physical evidence and supporting documentation.

The CSI team

SARA outdoor scene day

This exciting extracurricular event is the second of its kind to be organised jointly by SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association) and UW ISE academics (Kate Unwin, John Dutton and Ian Callow).  We are all off to the banks of the River Severn near Tewksbury to test the knowledge and skills of our students when faced with a particularly challenging scenario.

SARA arrival scene

The scenario: A body has been discovered on a small island within the river, now only accessible by boat due to flood conditions.  Water levels are still rising and there is limited time available to recover the body and gather any evidence.  This scene presents additional challenges to the students over and above those encountered so far.

SARA Initial Briefing

The 1st SARA UW outdoor scene event was a great opportunity for our students to help raise the forensic awareness of the SARA members and also for our students to see first hand how the vital actions of emergency responders can impact on a crime scene especially under challenging conditions.

SARA departing

One of the students,  Frances Storey shared some thoughts with us:

This event has offered a valuable chance to learn outside of the normal course environment, I now feel that I have a better understanding of how a multi-disciplinary common approach is needed when the presentation of out of the ordinary scenes are identified. I have gained insight into the responsibilities of other groups and how each tentacle of speciality fits together to gain the overall end result. I hope that in the future we get the opportunity to have more extra-curriculum days where we can draw upon the expertise and guidance of other groups to enhance our own understanding, confidence, expectations and performance in the forensic field.”

Many thanks to Ian for sharing this with us, the University’s website has  more information about Forensic and Applied Biology.