School of Chemical Sciences


Forensic Science


Key Staff involved

Dr Douglas Elliott


Dr Elliot holds a 50/50 appointment between the Forensic section of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR) and the University of Auckland. Thus, many of his research projects have direct practical applications in forensic science. His interests include the development of new methods for detecting and analyzing latent or trace evidence and the development of trace evidence databases to support statistical statements of the evidentiary value of a given observation.

Projects are linked to particular areas of forensic science.

Field Science

Footprints, shoeprints and tyreprints can all be found at crime scenes and can assist in the identification of those present at the scene. Projects will investigate the enhancement of these prints and develop methods for identifying and cataloging them. The enhancement of fingerprints will also be investigated in collaboration with Dr Angela Lavis (ESR) and with the Fingerprints Section of the NZ Police. Dr. Elliot is also investigating the number and types of fibres found on a "typical person" to assist in interpretation of fibre-based evidence.

Forensic Biology

Projects will investigate the permanence and susceptibility to degradation of trace biological evidence found at crimescenes.finger print spectra. Steady-state radiolysis, using a 137Cs γ-source, is used to produce products from radical reactions for analysis. The Pulse Radiolysis Facility is a regional resource supporting health-related research by both NZ and Australian scientists under the AINSE program and attracts users and collaborations from wider afield.