Massively Parallel Sequencing in forensic genomics

King’s College London

Laurence is researching how forensic DNA identification can be improved through the use of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS), a method that can provide far more informative DNA profiles than previously obtained using capillary electrophoresis.

By using MPS rather than the previously established technologies, more information can be gathered from less genetic material. The technique will also allow forensic teams to estimate some of the visible characteristics of an individual, such as hair colour and eye colour, and to suggest the bio-geographical ancestry of a person from trace amounts of DNA material left at a crime scene. Laurence is currently analysing DNA samples from different areas of the world to create a database that will make this possible.

Laurence has a strong background in forensic science, and has been involved in a long-standing collaboration between King’s College London and Illumina under the scope of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Whilst on placement at the Drug Control Centre during her Masters degree, Laurence developed a technique for DNA isolation and identification from urine, which was later used in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s investigation into doping in Russian athletes. She holds a BSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Bath, and an MRes in Forensic Science from King’s College London.