Helen obtained a first class BSc. (Hons) in Forensic Sciences from the University of Abertay in 2012. After graduating, Helen worked for 3 years as a fingerprint examiner with the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) in Dundee. In 2015, she returned to academia to study for a PhD in Life Sciences at Abertay. Her research is looking at the ability to develop latent fingermarks on bird of prey feathers in an attempt to assist with wildlife crime investigations.
While studying for her PhD, Helen is also a part-time teaching fellow on the forensic science course.
Helen assists with the delivery of a number of modules across the 4-year undergraduate forensic science programme through both lectures and laboratory practicals. She is involved with the following modules:
FOR103 - Introduction to Forensic Science, Practice and Techniques
FOR301 - Special Topics in Forensic Biology
FOR303 - Forensic Chromatography and Spectroscopy
FOR304 - Forensic Trace Evidence
FOR312 - Scene Examination and Management
FOR403 - Interpretation and Presentation of Evidence
FOR411 - Honours Project
ELE006 - Global Change
ELE020 - Forensic Investigation
Helen's research interests are fingerprint development and the use of forensic techniques in the investigation of wildlife crime.
2012 - BSc (Hons) Project: An investigation into the development of latent fingermarks on the surface of bird of prey feathers and eggs.
Peer-reviewed research papers
McMorris, H., Farrugia, K., Gentles, D. An investigation into the detection of latent marks on the feathers and eggs of birds of prey, Science and Justice, 2015, 55 (2), 90-96
Improved detection and visualisation of human involvement in wildlife crime, presented at the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science (SWFS) International Conference, Edinburgh, UK, June 2017
The development of latent fingermarks on bird of prey feathers and eggs, presented at the 40th Educational Annual Conference of the Fingerprint Society, Leicester, UK, March 2015
Helen's PhD is funded by the University of Abertay, Dundee.
In 2015, Helen was awarded a grant of £3,000 from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Helen is an Affiliate Member of the Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences
In 2012, she won the Forensic Science Society prize for the best undergraduate honours project at an accredited university.
Helen's PhD involves consultation with representatives from the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), and the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU).
As a STEM Ambassador, Helen is actively involved with various science based activities throughout the year, aimed at children of primary school age to encourage them to consider studying science at secondary school and to have a career in science.
Helen routinely takes part in university open days by assisting with tours of the forensic science facilities, and has recently helped to deliver the LIFT OFF to Success (LO2S) education programme at Abertay in summer 2017.