iSci News

On December 3rd, third-year Integrated Science students took a trip to the University of Toronto Mississauga campus (UTM) for a day of experiential learning with professors and graduate students from the Department of Forensic Science. Students were immersed in a variety of forensic-related workshops including anthropology, facial reconstruction, chemistry, and of course an investigation at the Forensic Crime Scene House (FCSH).

Students participated in a variety of activities on their trip to UTM, including a facial approximation demonstration (top-left), a forensic anthropology workshop (top-right), an investigation at the crime scene house (bottom-left) and identifying mysterious white powders using chemical spot tests (bottom-right).


Forensic anthropology is the application of physical anthropology to legal cases with a major focus on the human skeleton. This workshop was led by Dr. Tracy Rodgers and her graduate students. iSci students were exposed to various aspects of human bones that are used to reconstruct the scene for the time of death and recognize characteristics to identify missing persons.

Facial reconstruction, or more accurately known as forensic facial approximation, is a technique that uses digital approximations to construct a face. This construction is based primarily on the skull’s features and is presented to the public to probe for the identification of missing persons. Biomedical communications specialist, Marc Dryer, demonstrated the procedure of forensic facial approximation and discussed how it fit into the larger process of identifying a missing person.

The forensic chemistry workshop, led by Agata Gapinska, served as an introduction on how evidence found at a crime scene is identified through chemical analysis. Students were able to practice their chemistry skills by performing a spot test to identify an unknown substance from the FCSH.

Lastly, at the Forensic Crime Scene House, students experienced a mock crime scene and were given an opportunity to exercise the skills and knowledge they acquired this semester to gather and analyze forensic evidence. Using this evidence, students pieced together the puzzle in an attempt to  solve the mystery from the crime scene.

We would like to thank Dr. Tracy Rogers and the entire team at UTM for welcoming us to their beautiful campus and planning such an exciting and educational day!


Article by: Dalton Budhram

Photograph supplied by: Russ Ellis

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