Bournemouth University

School of Conservation Sciences

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BU anthropologist joins CSI NY lab

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Patricia Furphy will work as a Visiting Scientist Patricia Furphy will work as a Visiting Scientist

BU skeletal specialist Patricia Furphy is arrived in New York to experience life in the busiest forensic facility in the United States.

During the month of January 2010, Patricia will work as a Visiting Scientist with the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan to develop her own skills and share best practice as part of a team working in the biggest DNA department in the country. She is one of only six applicants and the only from Europe to be accepted for this opportunity.

Whilst in New York, Patricia will assist the examiner as an anthropologist, focusing on the day-to-day processing of evidence – including human remains – from crime scenes across Manhattan. These cases will include missing persons or previously unidentified victims of crime and could include the handling of remains from the 9/11 disaster which continue to be assessed and identified where possible in the examiner’s lab. 

“I’m very excited and grateful to the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in New York for making the invitation,” said Patricia. “I’m particularly looking forward to working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and working on real cases. 

Patricia, a BU graduate in Forensic and Biological Anthropology, currently works as a Demonstrator in the BU’s School of Conservation Sciences, teaching anatomy, osteology, anthropology and archaeology to Masters-level and undergraduate students on a range of courses. She also runs the University’s anthropology lab and looks after the 300+ archaeological skeletons held by the University, as well as researching areas of interest, such as skeletal pathology.

Her wealth of forensic field experience has been applied to BU’s unique simulated mass grave exercise where Patricia works with students in learning the processes of how to excavate record and interpret sites. She assists in managing the University’s temporary mortuary short course each summer, supervising students as they examine and identify cases.

Whilst that practical background should prove invaluable to Patricia in New York, it’s learning from the differences in practice and the intensity of actual crime scene investigation that should make her experience even more meaningful.

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