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Kiwi study could change crime investigations

Published: 7:02PM Thursday October 21, 2010 Source: ONE News

A study by an Otago University student, who has always been fascinated with death, has attracted the attention of the forensic world.

Andrea Donaldson is working on a project that, if successful, will change the way crime scenes are investigated worldwide.

Donaldson is trying to find markers in blood that will pinpoint the exact time of death. Currently, the measures for time of death are body temperature, rigor mortis, or insect studies.

The PHD student is the first in the world to link these types of blood biomarkers with time of death.

"I'm hoping that their degradation rate will be able to help me pinpoint exactly when [a] person died," she said.

"To me, doing forensic research is exciting anyway, regardless if it was groundbreaking or not. It is something that I've always wanted to do, that I'm passionate about, so that in itself excites me," she said.

Donaldson's studies have drawn interest from Tennessee University - world leaders in forensic research.

Staff at the university said they are very interested in what Donaldson is proposing to do, and the work she is doing for her research.