Division of Science

Science is one of three Divisions within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), the others being Natural & Built Environment and Food & Drink. Science staff have expertise across biology, chemistry, physics and their applications.

Main Areas of Research

Our research focus is in the areas of Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Environmental Science and Technology, all of which lie within three of the Abertay University’s research themes, namely Security, Society and Environment.

Forensic Science

In Forensic Science, we have a strong focus on fingerprint and finger-mark research. We work with police forces internationally and with the UK’s Home Office supporting the development of best practice.  Recent projects include detecting fingerprints on polymer banknotesfabrics and feathers (the last of these focused on wildlife crime) as well as detecting and tracing illicit products and drugs, and understanding their behaviour in the body. This team includes Dr Kevin Farrugia, Dr Joanna Fraser, Mr Dennis Gentles and Dr Ben Jones, and Dr Peter Maskell, Dr Anne Savage, Mrs Isobel Stewart, and Dr Keith Sturrock.

Biomedical Science

In Biomedical Sciences, staff work in infertility, neuromuscular aging, investigating novel therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury, and the processes underlying cancer development.  This team includes Dr Sean Brown, Dr Peter Moult, Dr Yusuf Deeni, Dr Kevin Smith, Dr Doug Lester, Dr Alexey Goltsov and Dr Anne Savage.

Environmental Science and Technology

In Environmental Science and Technology, our work is on microbes trying to understand their molecular ecology, surfactant production and antibiotic resistance spans fields as diverse as soil and water ecology, agriculture, and medical and veterinary medicine in which pollutants impact on humans and wildlife, such as seals. The team working in this area consists of Dr Andrew Spiers, Dr Kimberley Bennett, Professor David Bremner, Dr Scott Cameron and Dr Ben Jones.


We attract funding from a range of agencies, including Tenovus, Carnegie Trust and the Royal Society and UK research councils such as the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). 

Recent PhD Topics

Recent PhD graduates in the Division of Science have worked on:

  • Behavioural variation in bacteria and biofilms
  • Screening methods to detect ovarian cancer
  • Metal deposition for fingerprint development on complex surfaces
  • Hyperspectral imaging for gunshot residue detection
  • Detecting human involvement in raptor persecution

The research atmosphere within Science is multidisciplinary, and orientated towards practice. Our recent work includes the development of ‘mini-hearts’ beating heart cells which can be used to test drug therapies for heart disease such as hypertrophy; efficient pharmaceutical testing providing a much needed alternative to animal models; and a holistic approach to study overlap of DNA and fingerprint testing techniques.