I was appointed as a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in 2008 following a post doc at the University of Leeds in 2005 and post as Research Fellow at the Interdepartmental Centre of Mass Spectrometry, University of Florence, Italy (2005-2008). I teach separation and detection techniques, analytical science and bioanalytical methods. I am an internationally known researcher in the area of Bioanalytical and Forensic Mass Spectrometry and I work closely with the Home Office and West Yorkshire Police UK. I have been awarded the title of Professor of Forensic and Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry in 2018.
I hold a degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Chemical Sciences awarded by the University of Salerno, Italy, in 2000 and 2004 respectively. The PhD was split between the Italian institution and the University of Leeds, UK, thanks to a Marie Curie Fellowship. I have been promoted to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader at Sheffield Hallam University in 2009 and 2014 respectively. I lead two undergraduate modules and one MSc module in the areas of analytical chemistry and applied research.
As an analytical chemist and mass spectrometrist, I developed my career at SHU by forming and leading a research group, engaging in commercial, media and public engagement activities, building and fostering important collaborations with prestigious partners such as the Home Office UK, West Yorkshire Police, the Ministry of Defense Science and Technology laboratory (DSTL) and the Netherlands Forensic Institute, as well as with pharmaceutical, mass spectrometry and forensic companies (e.g. GlaxoSmithKline, Waters, HTX technologies, Consolite Forensics) .
I have contributed to raise the profile of Sheffield Hallam University through pioneering research on extracting intelligence from the chemistry of fingermarks developing MALDI mass spectrometry based technologies, as testified by the funding received since 2011 from the Home Office, West Yorkshire Police and DSTL (in addition to other sources of funding), the prestigious and continuous national and international coverage by important outlets, with the BBC being one such examples, and numerous invitations to deliver presentations on national and international platforms including plenary and keynote talks (over 80 to date). The research has been so successful that MALDI MS has now been included as a Category C, TLR 3-4 technique in the Home Office Fingermark Visualisation Manual launched in 2014. I am presently the Chair of the EU COST Action CA16101 MULTI-modal Imaging of FOREnsic SciEnce Evidence (MULTI-FORESEE)- tools for Forensic Science coordinating 28 countries and more than 100 members.
I am extremely active in the research field, having published to date 57 peer reviewed papers, 4 application notes and 3 book chapters. My extensive and rounded research activities have led to my inclusion in the recent REF 2014 and in one of the impact case studies presented, becoming the Impact Coordinator for REF 2021. I was also featured in the case study for the Athena SWAN Competition in 2013 which led to the award of the silver medal and I was named "inspirational woman" in 2015 at Sheffield Hallam University.
I undertake casework for the Police in the UK and Europe and for forensic providers with respect to extracting additional intelligence from fingermarks.
I am heavily involved in teaching activities both through extensive direct contact with students and through devising learning and teaching strategies to enhance students' learning experience. I act as a referee for numerous journals and grant-awarding bodies including STW, MRC and the US Defence Army. I am member of two mass spectrometry societies, part of the prestigious International Fingermark Research Group and European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (only accepting members on invitation) and Fellow of the Higher Education.
I teach separation and detection methods with particular focus on chromatographic and advanced mass spectrometry techniques at both undergraduate and Master level. I also lead the Research Project Module guiding 250+ students towards becoming independent scientists and coordinating 50+ members of staff.
Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre
Chemical Profiling and Imaging of fingermarks
MALDI MSP and MALDI MSI method refinement for operational deployment in casework - this project focuses on maximising forensic opportunities from fingerprints by transferring laboratory MALDI MS Fingermark Profiling and Imaging techniques into protocols for routine operational use in casework. This work will represent the first significant enhancement to techniques which have remained largely unchanged for over 100 years. This project aims to deliver both offender profiling and enhance crime contextual information. Integration of these methodologies within the current fingerprinting workflows employed by Yorkshire and the Humber fingerprint identification services is an essential part of these developments. Such refined methodologies will enable robust and compatible workflows providing evidence to inform investigations and suitable to be submitted in a Court of Law. The research has been endorsed and supported by the Home Office CAST, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (MoD), The Netherlands Forensic Institute and West Yorkshire Police (collaborators).
Multi-informative and specific detection of blood in fingermarks via MALDI MS based strategies
In violent offences, blood is often found at crime scenes. Important intelligence and assistance in event reconstruction can be obtained from ascertaining the presence of blood, its provenance, age and its association with fingermarks (the most used means of biometric identification). Currently used blood detection techniques suffer from “false positives” due to their relatively generic molecular targets; this project aims to develop a proteomic and MALDI MS based multidisciplinary approach for the device of operational workflows providing blood signatures in fingermarks and blood provenance in addition to detecting exogenous substances of forensic relevance. Insights into the determination of the age of a blood trace and order of deposition (mark in blood or bloodied mark) as well as into the donors pathophysiological state and identity will also be gained.
The research has been endorsed and supported by the Home Office CAST, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (MoD), and Elite Forensics LLC (US).
Patel E, Cicatiello P., Deininger L., Clench M. R., Marino G., Giardina P., Langenburg G., West A., Marshall P., Sears V., and Francese S. A proteomic approach for the rapid, multi-informative and reliable identification of blood. Analyst (2015) DOI: 10.1039/c5an02016f
Francese S., Bradshaw R., Flinders B., Mitchell C., Bleay S., Cicero L., Clench MR. "Curcumin: a multipurpose matrix for MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging applications." Anal Chem. 2013, 85(10):5240-8.
Bailey M.J., Bright N.J., Croxton R.S., Francese S., Ferguson L.S., Hinder S.J.,Jickells S., Jones B.J., Jones B.N., Kazarian S.G., Ojeda J.J., Webb R., Wolstenholme R., Bleay S. "Chemical Characterisation of Latent Fingerprints by MALDI, ToF-SIMS, MeV-SIMS, GC-MS, XPS and ATR-FTIR Spectroscopic Imaging - an Intercomparison". Anal Chem. 2012, 84(20):8514-8523
FLINDERS, Bryn, BEASLEY, Emma, VERLAAN, Ricky M., CUYPERS, Eva, FRANCESE, Simona, BASSINDALE, Thomas, CLENCH, Malcolm and HEEREN, Ron M. A. (2017). Optimization of sample preparation and instrumental parameters for the rapid analysis of drugs of abuse in hair samples by MALDI-MS/MS imaging. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 28 (11), 2462-2468.
FRANCESE, Simona, BRADSHAW, Robert and DENISON, Neil (2017). An update on MALDI Mass Spectrometry based technology for the analysis of fingermarks - stepping into operational deployment. The Analyst, 142, 2518-2546.
BRADSHAW, Robert, DENISON, N. and FRANCESE, Simona (2017). Implementation of MALDI MS profiling and imaging methods for the analysis of real crime scene fingermarks. Analyst, 142 (9), 1581-1590.
BEASLEY, Emma, FRANCESE, Simona and BASSINDALE, Thomas (2016). Detection and mapping of Cannabinoids in single hair samples through rapid derivatization- Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry, 88 (20), 10328-10334.
WALLER, Rachel, WOODROOFE, Nicola, WHARTON, Stephen B., INCE, Paul G., FRANCESE, Simona, HEATH, Paul R., CUDZICH-MADRY, A, THOMAS, Ruth, ROUNDING, Natalie, SHARRACK, Basil and SIMPSON, Julie E. (2016). Gene expression profiling of the astrocyte transcriptome in multiple sclerosis normal appearing white matter reveals a neuroprotective role. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 299, 139-146.
BRADSHAW, Robert, DENISON, Neil and FRANCESE, Simona (2016). Development of operational protocols for the analysis of primary and secondary fingermark lifts by MALDI-MS Imaging. Analytical Methods, 8 (37), 6795-6804.
MITCHELL, Christopher A., DONALDSON, Michael, FRANCESE, Simona and CLENCH, Malcolm (2016). MALDI MSI analysis of lipid changes in living skin equivalents in response to emollient creams containing palmitoylethanolamide. Methods, 104, 93-100.
DEININGER, Lisa, PATEL, Ekta, CLENCH, Malcolm R., SEARS, Vaughn, SAMMON, Chris and FRANCESE, Simona (2016). Proteomics goes forensic: detection and mapping of blood signatures in fingermarks. Proteomics, 16 (11-12), 1707-1717.
REED, Heath, STANTON, Andrew, WHEAT, Jonathan, KELLEY, John, DAVIS, L., RAO, W, SMITH, A, OWEN, D and FRANCESE, Simona (2015). The Reed-Stanton press rig for the generation of reproducible fingermarks : towards a standardised methodology for fingermark research. Science & justice, 56 (1), 9-17.
GROENEVELD, G, DE PUIT, M, BLEAY, S, BRADSHAW, Robert and FRANCESE, Simona (2015). Detection and mapping of illicit drugs and their metabolites in fingermarks by MALDI MS and compatibility with forensic techniques. Scientific Reports, 5 (11716).
BAILEY, Melanie J., BRADSHAW, Robert, FRANCESE, Simona, SALTER, Tara L., COSTA, Catia, ISMAIL, Mahado, P. WEBB, Roger, BOSMAN, Ingrid, WOLFF, Kim and DE PUIT, Marcel (2015). Rapid detection of cocaine, benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine in fingerprints using surface mass spectrometry. Analyst, 140 (18), 6254-6259.
PATEL, Ekta, CLENCH, Malcolm, WEST, Andy, MARSHALL, Peter S., MARSHALL, Nathan and FRANCESE, Simona (2015). Alternative Surfactants for Improved Efficiency of In Situ Tryptic Proteolysis of Fingermarks. Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 26 (6), 862-872.
PATEL, Ekta, COLE, Laura M, BRADSHAW, Robert, BATUBARA, Afnan, MITCHELL, Christopher A, FRANCESE, Simona and CLENCH, Malcolm (2015). MALDI-MS imaging for the study of tissue pharmacodynamics and toxicodynamics. Bioanalysis, 7 (1), 91-101.
BRADSHAW, Robert, BLEAY, S, CLENCH, Malcolm and FRANCESE, Simona (2014). Direct detection of blood in fingermarks by MALDI MS profiling and imaging. Science & justice, 54 (2), 110-7.
UNIV SHEFFIELD HALLAM [GB] + (2014). POWDER DISCHARGE GUN. WO2014016563 (A1).
FERGUSON, Leesa S, CREASEY, Stuart, WOLSTENHOLME, Rosalind, CLENCH, Malcolm R and FRANCESE, Simona (2013). Efficiency of the dry-wet method for the MALDI-MSI analysis of latent fingermarks. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 48 (6), 677-684.
DJIDJA, Marie-Claude, FRANCESE, Simona, CLAUDE, Emmanuelle, LOADMAN, Paul, SUTTON, Chris, SHYNDER, Steve, COOPER, Patricia, PATTERSON, Laurence H, CAROLAN, Vikki and CLENCH, Malcolm (2013). Targeting of Hypoxia in AQ4N-treated Tumour Xenografts by MALDI-Ion Mobility Separation-Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Current Analytical Chemistry, 9 (2), 212-225.
FRANCESE, S., BRADSHAW, R., FERGUSON, L. S., WOLSTENHOLME, R., CLENCH, M. R. and BLEAY, S. (2013). Beyond the ridge pattern: multi-informative analysis of latent fingermarks by MALDI mass spectrometry. The Analyst, 138 (15), p. 4215.
BRADSHAW, Robert, WOLSTENHOLME, Rosalind, FERGUSON, Leesa Susanne, SAMMON, Chris, MADER, Kerstin, CLAUDE, Emmanuelle, BLACKLEDGE, Robert D., CLENCH, Malcolm R. and FRANCESE, Simona (2013). Spectroscopic imaging based approach for condom identification in condom contaminated fingermarks. The Analyst, 138 (9), p. 2546.
BRADSHAW, Robert, BLEAY, Stephen, WOLSTENHOLME, Rosalind, CLENCH, Malcolm and FRANCESE, Simona (2013). Towards the integration of matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry imaging into the current fingermark examination workflow. Forensic Science International, 232 (1-3), 111-124.
SEPPALA, Ulla, FRANCESE, Simona, TURILLAZI, Stefano, MONETI, Gloriano, CLENCH, Malcolm and BARBER, Domingo (2012). In situ imaging of honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom components from aqueous and aluminum hydroxide-adsorbed venom immunotherapy preparations. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 129 (5), 1314-1320.
TRIM, Paul J, DJIDJA, Marie-Claude, MUHARIB, Tasneem, COLE, Laura M, FLINDERS, Bryn, CAROLAN, Vikki, FRANCESE, Simona and CLENCH, Malcolm (2012). Instrumentation and software for mass spectrometry imaging -making the most of what you've got. Journal of Proteomics, 75 (16), 4931-4940.
WALLER, R., WOODROOFE, M. Nicola, FRANCESE, Simona, HEATH, P.R., WHARTON, S.B., INCE, P.G., SHARRACK, B. and SIMPSON, J.E. (2012). Isolation of enriched glial populations from post-mortem human CNS material by immuno-laser capture microdissection. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 208 (2), 108-113.
FERGUSON, Leesa Susanne, WULFERT, Florian, WOLSTENHOLME, Rosalind, FONVILLE, Judith Marlou, CLENCH, Malcolm, CAROLAN, Vikki Amanda and FRANCESE, Simona (2012). Direct detection of peptides and small proteins in fingermarks and determination of sex by MALDI mass spectrometry profiling. The Analyst, 137 (20), 4686-4692.
BRADSHAW, R., RAO, W., WOLSTENHOLME, R., CLENCH, M.R., BLEAY, S. and FRANCESE, S. (2012). Separation of overlapping fingermarks by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Forensic Science International, 222 (1), 318-326.
BARACCHI, D, FRANCESE, Simona and TURILLAZZI, S (2011). Beyond the antipredatory defence: honey bee venom functions as a component of social immunity. Toxicon, 58 (6-7), 550-557.
HART, Philippa J., FRANCESE, Simona, CLAUDE, Emmanuelle, WOODROOFE, M. Nicola and CLENCH, Malcolm R (2011). MALDI-MS imaging of lipids in ex vivo human skin. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 401 (1), 115 -125.
AVERY, Jennie L., MCKEWEN, Andrew, FLINDERS, Bryn, FRANCESE, Simona and CLENCH, Malcolm (2011). Matrix assisted laser desorption mass spectrometry imaging for the examination of imipramine absorption by straticell-RHE-EPI/001 an artificial model of the human epidermis. Xenobiotica, 41 (8), pp 735-742.
DANI, F. R., MICHELUCCI, E., FRANCESE, S., MASTROBUONI, G., CAPPELLOZZA, S., LA MARCA, G., NICCOLINI, A., FELICIOLI, A., MONETI, G. and PELOSI, P. (2011). Odorant-Binding Proteins and Chemosensory Proteins in Pheromone Detection and Release in the Silkmoth Bombyx mori. Chemical senses.
FERGUSON, Leesa, BRADSHAW, Robert, WOLSTENHOLME, Rosalind, CLENCH, Malcolm and FRANCESE, Simona (2011). Two-step matrix application for the enhancement and imaging of latent fingermarks. Analytical Chemistry, 83 (14), 5585-5591.
BRADSHAW, R., WOLSTENHOLME, R., BLACKLEDGE, R. D., CLENCH, M. R., FERGUSON, L. S. and FRANCESE, S. (2011). A novel matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging based methodology for the identification of sexual assault suspects. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 25 (3), 415-422.
DONNINI, S, FINETTI, F, FRANCESE, Simona, BOSCARO, F, DANI, F, MASET, F, FRASSON, R, PLAMIERI, M, PAZZAGLI, M, DE FILIPPIS, V, GARACI, E and ZICHE, M (2011). A novel protein from the serum of Python sebae, structurally homologous to γ-phospholipase A2 inhibitor, displays antitumor activity. Biochemical Journal, 440 (2), 251-262.
SCOLLATO, A., TERRENI, A., CALDINI, A., SALVADORI, B., GALLINA, P., FRANCESE, S., MASTROBUONI, G., PIERACCINI, G., MONETI, G., BINI, L., MESSERI, G. and DI LORENZO, N. (2010). CSF proteomic analysis in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus selected for the shunt: CSF biomarkers of response to surgical treatment. Neurological Sciences, 31 (3), 283-291.
TRIM, P. J., DJIDJA, M. C., ATKINSON, S. J., OAKES, K., COLE, L. M., ANDERSON, D. M. G., HART, P. J., FRANCESE, S. and CLENCH, M. R. (2010). Introduction of a 20 kHz Nd:YVO4 laser into a hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer for MALDI-MS imaging. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 397 (8), 3409-3419.
FRANCESE, S. and CLENCH, M. R. (2010). MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging, a New Frontier in Biostructural Techniques: Applications in Biomedicine. In: SHAH, H. N. and GHARBIA, S. E., (eds.) Mass Spectrometry for Microbial Proteomics. Wiley, 91-116.
DJIDJA, M. C., CLAUDE, E., SNEL, M. F., FRANCESE, S., SCRIVEN, P., CAROLAN, V. and CLENCH, M. R. (2010). Novel molecular tumour classification using MALDI-mass spectrometry imaging of tissue micro-array. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 397 (2), 587-601.
GROSSI, C., FRANCESE, S., CASINI, A., ROSI, M. C., LUCCARINI, I., FIORENTINI, A., GABBIANI, C., MESSORI, L., MONETI, G. and CASAMENTI, F. (2009). Clioquinol decreases amyloid-β burden and reduces working memory impairment in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer's disease, 17 (2), 423-440.
TRIM, P. J., FRANCESE, S. and CLENCH, M. R. (2009). Imaging mass spectrometry for the assessment of drugs and metabolites in tissue. Bioanalysis, 1 (2), 309-319.
FRANCESE, S., DANI, F. R., TRALDI, P., MASTROBUONI, G., PIERACCINI, G. and MONETI, G. (2009). MALDI mass spectrometry imaging, from its origins up to today: the state of the art. Combinatorial chemistry & high throughput screening, 12 (2), 156-174.
CAVATORTA, V., SFORZA, S., MASTROBUONI, G., PIERACCINI, G., FRANCESE, S., MONETI, G., DOSSENA, A., PASTORELLO, E. A. and MARCHELLI, R. (2009). Unambiguous characterization and tissue localization of Pru P 3 peach allergen by electrospray mass spectrometry and MALDI imaging. Journal of mass spectrometry, 44 (6), 891-897.
FRANCESE, S., LAMBARDI, D., MASTROBUONI, G., LA MARCA, G., MONETI, G. and TURILLAZZI, S. (2009). Detection of honeybee venom in envenomed tissues by direct MALDI MSI. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 20 (1), 112-123.
DJIDJA, M. C., FRANCESE, S., LOADMAN, P. M., SUTTON, C. W., SCRIVEN, P., CLAUDE, E., SNEL, M. F., FRANCK, J., SALZET, M. and CLENCH, M. R. (2009). Detergent addition to tryptic digests and ion mobility separation prior to MS/MS improves peptide yield and protein identification forin situproteomic investigation of frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded adenocarcinoma tissue sections. Proteomics, 9 (10), 2750-2763.
DJIDJA, M.-C., CLAUDE, E., SNEL, M. F., SCRIVEN, P., FRANCESE, S., CAROLAN, V. and CLENCH, M. R. (2009). MALDI-Ion Mobility Separation-Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Glucose-Regulated Protein 78 kDa (Grp78) in Human Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Tissue Sections. Journal of Proteome Research, 8 (10), 4876-4884.
DJIDJA, M. C., CLAUDE, E., SNEL, M. F., SCRIVEN, P., FRANCESE, S., CAROLAN, V. and CLENCH, M. R. (2009). MALDI-ion mobility separation-mass spectrometry imaging of glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa (Grp78) in human formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded pancreatic adenocarcinoma tissue Sections. Journal of proteome research, 8 (10), 4876-4884.
WOLSTENHOLME, R., BRADSHAW, R., CLENCH, M. R. and FRANCESE, S. (2009). Study of latent fingermarks by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging of endogenous lipids. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry, 23 (19), 3031-3039.
DANI, F. R., FRANCESE, S., MASTROBUONI, G., FELICIOLI, A., CAPUTO, B., SIMARD, F., PIERACCINI, G., MONETI, G., COLUZZI, M., DELLA TORRE, A. and TURILLAZZI, S. (2008). Exploring Proteins in Anopheles gambiae Male and Female Antennae through MALDI Mass Spectrometry Profiling. PLoS ONE, 3 (7), e2822.
ROLFSSON, O., TOROPOVA, K., MORTON, V., FRANCESE, S., BASNAK, G., THOMPSON, G. S., HOMANS, S. W., ASHCROFT, A. E., STONEHOUSE, N. J., RANSON, N. A. and STOCKLEY, P. G. (2008). RNA Packing Specificity and Folding during Assembly of the Bacteriophage MS2. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, 9 (3-4), 339-349.
LA MARCA, G., MALVAGIA, S., FILIPPI, L., FIORINI, P., INNOCENTI, M., LUCERI, F., PIERACCINI, G., MONETI, G., FRANCESE, S., DANI, F. R. and GUERRINI, R. (2008). Rapid assay of topiramate in dried blood spots by a new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 48 (5), 1392-1396.
PhD external examiner
Cameron Heaton - "Human identification through advanced forensic mass spectrometry of blood and fingermarks" (Oct 2017-Oct 2020)
Oct 2014 - Oct 2017 - Lisa Deininger - "Multi-informative and specific detection of blood in fingermarks via MALDI MS based strategies"
Nov 2012 - Nov 2016 - Ekta Patel - "Using ion mobility mass spectrometry to investigate the distribution and affect of dosed compounds on endogenous molecules"
Nov 2014 - Apr 2016 - Robert Bradshaw - "Chemical Profiling of fingermarks : MALDI MSP and MALDI MSI method refinement for operational deployment in casework”
Oct 2011 - Oct 2014 - Robert Bradshaw - “Integration of MALDI MSI into the Home Office operational fingermark examination workflow”
Oct 2009 - Oct 2012 - Leesa Ferguson - “Analysis of composition of latent fingerprints by spectroscopic imaging techniques”
Recent stories about my fingermark research have attracted worldwide coverage in trade and online publications, including BBC's 'The One Show', 'Click', 'Crimewatch Roadshaw' and 'BBC breakfast', as well as overseas programmes such as the German 'Finde den Lügner' ('Find the Liar').
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