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  5. Inaugural professorial lecture by Simona Francese

Inaugural professorial lecture by Simona Francese

Date: Tuesday 07 May 2019
Venue: Peak Lecture Theatre, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University

What do Fingerprints reveal about you - a molecular tale

6.00pm: Tea and coffee available in the Cutting Edge Café
6:30pm: Peak Lecture Theatre, followed by wine and canapés.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, safety is a fundamental right as much as life and freedom. Forensic Science developments strive to protect society and keep it safe. For a century fingerprints have been the most powerful means of biometric identification and even with the advent of DNA, West Yorkshire Police in UK reports that ¾ of the suspect identifications are still due to fingerprinting. However forensic science has only developed in this area by improving fingerprint visualisation techniques to obtain a clear image to run against National fingerprint databases; whilst important, when the quality of the fingerprint is poor, the process of matching a crime scene print to a fingerprint record fails; and fails again when the perpetrator has no fingerprint record.

Simona Francese's lecture will take you on a roller coaster journey discussing how the pioneering development of a particular type of mass spectrometry technique is revolutionising the way to look at fingerprints as not just a physical trace but as a chemical source of personal information about their owners. Lifestyle, actions prior to or whilst committing the crime, medications, sex, pathologies are all intelligence contributing to a new way of informing criminal profiling - no longer based on behavioural science but on the tales of the molecules present in fingerprints.

Research that remains an academic exercise is a waste of resources. This lecture intends to be testimony to how important passion, vision and commitment to impactful research are for translational science. What is research if not for improving people's lives? Fingerprints tales voiced by this research have most certainly a bright future in empowering the criminal justice system by informing investigations and judicial debates.

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