Meet The Team


Professor Claire Gwinnett – Professor in Forensic and Environmental Science

Dr Claire Gwinnett’s current role is Professor in Forensic and Environmental Science in the Department of Law, Policing and Forensics at Staffordshire University. Dr Gwinnett is actively involved in forensic science and microplastic research, she conducts consultancy in trace evidence and has been internationally recognised for her forensic fibre work. Dr Gwinnett has led national and international projects conducting research in the recovery, analysis and interpretation of polymers, particularly fibres for the forensic industry since 2004, where she initiated her fibres work in the development of proficiency testing schemes for the creation of large-scale synthetic fibre databases as part of her PhD. Dr Gwinnett’s areas of forensic expertise include hair and fibres, glass and paint, contamination prevention, proficiency testing and forensic database production. Claire’s research interests include the development of trace evidence databases, the development of new fibre analysis methods, textile damage, trace evidence transfer and persistence studies, the development of forensic science training for lawyers and wildlife crime.  A collaborative research approach means that Claire works with national and international forensic science organisations, higher education institutions and Police forces on projects that directly impact the Criminal Justice System and have led to changes in the recovery and analysis of these polymers, including improved contamination prevention protocols and methods to automate the characterisation and identification of fibres. Claire now works in applying forensic science approaches to microplastics to improve characterisation and better understanding of their source and prevalence. Claire is currently the Research lead for the Forensic Fibre and Microplastic Research Group at Staffordshire University which aims to use a multidisciplinary approach to improve the analysis and interpretation of particulates for both environmental and forensic work.

Dr Mohamed Sedky – Associate Professor in Computing and Digital Tech

Dr Mohamed Sedky holds a PhD in Computer Vision and Machine Learning, obtained while conducting research for the School of Computing and Digital Technologies at Staffordshire University. He is the co-founder and Technical Director of AVA Technologies. Dr Sedky has been involved with various video analytics, forensics and IoT projects since 2008 including; strategic analysis, development, research, consultancy and project management. He holds two patent disclosures and several publications. His career has included the realisation of the first real-time physics-based video surveillance platform, Spectral-360®. More recently, he was responsible for the design and introduction of semi-automated video forensic tools for Police authorities in the UK. Dr Sedky has successfully managed to secure research grants and to manage projects, from planning to delivery, with InnovateUK, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Transport for London (TfL) and UK Police forces. His roles today extend across both academic and industrial research topics, focused on biologically inspired computational models for Machine Learning, video analytics, embedded AI and IoT solutions. Dr Sedky initiated and has been leading the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) research at Staffordshire University, UK, for four years. Mohamed provides his knowledge to aid in the research group’s investigation of novel Biologically inspired Machine Learning, computational models and techniques targeting IoT applications.

Dr Rich Halfpenny (FHEA MRSB Mem.R.E.S.) – Lecturer in Biological Sciences

Dr Rich Halfpenny is a lecturer in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Staffordshire University. His PhD was on the ecology, identification and feeding preferences of mosquitoes. His current research continues from his PhD studies but his interest has broadened to include the impact of pollution on life at a range of spatial scales, from individual organism through to ecosystems. Rich has a particular interest in quantifying the biological harm associated with different pollution scenarios. Rich co-supervises the research group’s PhD researchers on microplastic pollution related projects.

Professor Graham Williams (PhD, FRSB, FCSFS, SFHEA) – Professor in Forensic Biology

Professor Graham Williams is a Professor in Forensic Biology at Staffordshire University and currently holds a Chair in Forensic Biology. Professor Williams has extensive expertise in forensic DNA analysis, body fluid evidence, bloodstain pattern analysis and clothing damage analysis, particularly in their interpretation within a criminal context. Graham is presently working with microRNA, messenger RNA, DNA Methylation and on strategies for improving results from mixed body fluid samples. Graham provides PhD supervisory support to the forensic PhD researchers in the research group using his expertise in trace dynamics.

Professor Andrew R W Jackson (BSc(Hons), PhD, PGCE and FCSFS)

Andrew Jackson is professor emeritus in the Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, School of Law, Policing and Forensics at Staffordshire University. He was the Academic Group Leader for Forensic and Crime Science (FaCS) until 31 December 2016. By that date, FaCS was a highly successful department of 19 academic staff and 14 PhD students, and a total of several hundred taught postgraduate and undergraduate students. He is widely published, having co-authored multiple textbooks (covering both Forensic Science and Environmental Science) and research papers. He has extensive research supervisory experience. He was the Principal Investigator for Staffordshire University for a Police Knowledge Fund research project. This project, which was equally shared with Keele University, was 18 months in duration and finished on 31 March 2017. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and has served on multiple committees of that professional body, including its ruling Council. Professor Jackson’s continuing research interests are principally in new approaches to the recovery, characterisation and monitoring of anthropogenic fibres in the environment.  This is in the context of both pollution monitoring and forensic science.  He is particularly interested in the application of data evaluation techniques to solve problems in these areas.

PhD Researchers

Amy Osborne

Amy Osbourne completed her MSci in Forensic Science at Staffordshire University. Amy’s PhD research follows on from her MSci thesis which focused on producing an automated method, using image processing and machine learning, to standardise the characterisation of microplastics from freshwater environments. This system will also be applicable to forensic fibre analysis. Currently, Amy is working on samples recovered and collected from the Rozalia Project Hudson River microplastic expedition which took place in the Summer of 2019.

Ellie Harrison 

Ellie Harrison completed her degree in Animal Biology and Conservation at Staffordshire University. Ellie’s PhD focuses on the impacts of microplastics in agricultural environments, concentrating on crop growth and invertebrate diversity. This research forms the terrestrial element of the research group. Ellie’s PhD combines her ecological standpoint with forensic methods to create a truly multidisciplinary research approach.

Afsané Kruszelnicki 

Afsané Kruszelnicki is currently undertaking her PhD at Staffordshire University investigating the persistence of trace evidence on fabrics in challenging aquatic environments. Her research falls under the forensic side of the research group. She began her research on fibre evidence for her undergraduate dissertation, developed this to encompass pollen evidence for her MSci thesis and is now continuing this research on other trace evidence in her PhD. Her research will emphasise the importance of trace evidence in criminal investigations with challenging aquatic environments and provide much needed knowledge to aid in its interpretation.

Sophie Gordon

Sophie Gordon achieved her BSc in Marine biology and coastal zone management in 2014. She went on to complete her MSc from Bangor University in 2017, where her interest and passion for microplastics grew during her independent research project. Now, she is undertaking her PhD at Staffordshire University focusing on microplastics and nanoplastics within aquatic environments and biota.