Silvana TRIDICO - PhD candidate, forensic biologist and hair examiner
Thesis title: Morphological and molecular approaches to characterise post-mortem modifications relating to hairs in archaeological, paleontological and forensic contexts
Overview of PhD research - Hairs due to their structural and chemical composition are stable and can withstand harsh environmental insults. Microscopical examination and classification of morphological characteristics exhibited by hairs can provide valuable information regarding condition of the hair in relation to damage, artifacts and suitability for DNA analysis; however this technique does not provide any information regarding individualisation of the hair (to a particular person or animal) or to information regarding the geographic origins of the samples, or identify microbial species that might be present. The primary goal of this PhD program is to use a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the physical and molecular processes that occur to human and animal hair in the post-mortem environment.
Silvana Tridico graduated from the University of Hertfordshire, UK in 1981; a year later she began her forensic career as forensic biologist at the Home Office Forensic Science Laboratories, England. Since then Silvana has worked as a forensic biologist and hair examiner, not only in laboratories within Australia, but also gained invaluable experience through successful appointments in forensic laboratories across the globe; ranging from Toronto, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand. As a result of her ‘niche’ mammalian hair expertise National and International clients often seek Silvana as a consultant. She has worked for diverse clients, on diverse projects - ranging from microscopical examination of woolly mammoth hairs, to the identification of hairs in scat (animal faeces) samples, to assisting law enforcement officers in relation to cold cases. Silvana is a member of the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science.