Donated equipment aids future crime-fighters

forensics-a-gHigh-tech analysis equipment donated by the State Government will make education and training for forensic science students at Flinders University even more authentic.

SA’s Attorney-General, the Hon Michael Atkinson MP, officially handed over the equipment at a ceremony at Flinders on April 9. The donation is part of a collaborative agreement signed last year between Flinders and Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA), the scientific analysis arm of the State’s Justice Department.

The Attorney-General said the donation would not only benefit students but all South Australians in the future.

“Students at Flinders University will have hands-on experience with some of the most high-tech forensic equipment around,” Mr Atkinson said.

“These students will go on in their careers to solve crimes, identify victims and to determine causes of death. They will also conduct groundbreaking research, helping to prevent future fatalities.

“The partnership between Flinders Uni and our State’s forensic centre means the forensic needs of South Australia can be more directly met.”

Students at Flinders will now have daily access to a Scanning Electron Microscope with energy dispersive x-ray analysis system, a Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectrometer with an infra-red microscope, and a genetic analyser for DNA profiling. The items were previously used by FSSA, but have been recently upgraded. The equipment has a replacement value of around $600,000.

Hilton Kobus, Professor of Forensic Science at Flinders, said that the equipment is in excellent working order and represents current forensic science practice. He said the first two items have application in typical small sample forensic science analysis.

“The electron microscope/x-ray system offers 50,000 times magnification and applications that include 3-D imaging analysis of gun shot residues as well as paint, glass and metal particles, while the infra-red microscope allows  information about molecular structure to be obtained from single textile fibres and other small organic materials such as paint flakes,” Professor Kobus said.

The genetic analyser is the same type of equipment used world-wide for DNA profiling of typical forensic crime scene samples such as  blood, semen and saliva.

“The equipment constitutes an invaluable teaching aid for training the forensic scientists of the future,” Professor Kobus said.

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