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Dr Anna Williams read Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford University (1995-1998), and completed an MSc in Forensic Anthropology at Bradford University (1999). After working for West Yorkshire Police as a Forensic Mark Analyst from 2000-2001, she gained her PhD in Forensic Anthropology from Sheffield University in 2005. Her doctoral research used novel histological and immunohistochemical techniques to quantify bone fracture healing, which is of particular relevance to the investigation of child abuse and identification of unknown individuals.
From 2004-2006, Anna was engaged in post-doctoral research entitled ‘A Laboratory Based Analytical Technique to Determine ‘Age at Death’ For Forensic Purposes from Human Compact Bone’ at Cranfield University, and became a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology there in 2006. She was instrumental in developing and delivering the MSc in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology at Cranfield, and was Head of the Centre for Forensic Anthropology Research. She also established a successful taphonomy research facility and was a CDS Teaching Fellow from 2010-11.
In October 2013, Anna joined the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield as a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science. She leads the MSc in Forensic Anthropology and lectures on the BSc/MSci Forensic and Analytical Science degree. She leads the Forensic Aspects of Disaster Management module on the MSc Risk, Disaster and Environmental Management. She leads the Forensic Anthropology Research Group. In August 2015, she was promoted to Principal Enterprise Fellow.
Anna is an experienced Forensic Anthropologist, with considerable case work experience. She regularly undertakes consultancy work for national police forces, Forensic Engineering Solutions and Kenyon International Emergency Services.
Anna is currently Editor-in-Chief of a forthcoming volume dedicated to Forensic Science Education, to be published in 2016 by Wiley Publishing. She also acts as an External Examiner for Kingston University, and has been External Examiner for doctoral candidates at Bournemouth University and University of Technology Sydney.
Anna is passionate about science communication. She was the winner of the Forensic Zone of the prestigious Wellcome Trust-funded I’m A Scientist competition in 2011. In 2014. Anna was awarded a British Science Association Media Fellowship and a placement at New Scientist. She has presented at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, the British Science Festival and the Royal Institution.
Anna writes an award-winning blog called Forensic Anna:thropology.
Authored by Anna
About Anna's research
Anna also acts as a Forensic Anthropology advisor for Silent Witness (BBC) and Bones (Fox).
The nature of human decomposition is still poorly understood in the context of UK climate, insects and fauna. This on-going research aims to investigate the rate of decomposition in a variety of conditions, and improve methods of accurate post-mortem interval estimation, location of clandestine burials, and understand and the factors that influence its rate, using animal analogues on a purpose-built taphonomy research facility.
Cultural or artificial cranial deformation has traditionally not been thought to affect brain development. However, by examining modern infants suffering from premature suture closure or craniosynostosis, it is possible to draw comparisons to enable understanding of how this practice, still carried out today, affects neurological function.
After disaster, the requirements of the bereaved and those of the criminal investigation or identification process can sometimes come into conflict. This research explores potential areas of conflict and the opportunities to minimise them through holistic disaster management. It also explores how disaster victim identification (DVI) techniques can be improved, and how the methods can be standardised internationally, and efficiency increased.
The dominance of women in Forensic Anthropology is a worldwide phenomenon that extends to education and professional practice. It bucks the trend for lower numbers of women in other STEM subjects. This research has examined possible motivations and inspirational factors for men and women joining the discipline, and investigated career progression and retention on a gender level.
This research has focussed on the methods for determining the ‘age’ of a fracture, or the time elapsed since trauma occurred. It has explored methods of distinguishing between ante-, peri- and post-mortem trauma.
Williams, A., Cassella, J. and Maskell, P. (2017) Forensic Science Education and Training . Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1118689233
Pringle, J., Cassella, J., Jervis, J., Williams, A., Cross, P. and Cassidy, N. (2015) ‘Soilwater conductivity analysis to date and locate clandestine graves of homicide victims.’ Journal of Forensic Sciences , 60 (4), pp. 1052-1060. ISSN 0022-1198
Fredericks, J., Ringrose, T., Dicken, A., Williams, A. and Bennett, P. (2015) ‘A potential new diagnostic tool to aid DNA analysis from heat compromised bone using colorimetry: A preliminary study’ Science and Justice , 55 (2), pp. 124-130. ISSN 1355-0306
Frowd, C., Jones, S., Fodarella, C., Skelton, F., Fields, S., Williams, A., Marsh, J., Thorley, R., Nelson, L., Greenwood, L., Date, L., Kearley, K., McIntyre, A. and Hancock, P. (2014) ‘Configural and featural information in facial-composite images’ Science and Justice , 54 (3), pp. 215-227. ISSN 1355-0306
Zioupos, P., Williams, A., Christodoulou, G. and Giles, R. (2013) ‘Determining Age at Death for Forensic Purposes using Human Bone by a Laboratory-based Analytical Method’ Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials . ISSN 1751-6161
Fredericks, J., Brown, K., Williams, A. and Bennett, P. (2013) ‘DNA analysis of skeletal tissue recovered from the English Channel’ Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine , 20 (6), pp. 757-759. ISSN 1752928X
Williams, A., York, H. and Frowd, C. (2012) ‘Understanding Familiar Face Recognition for 3D Scanned Images: The Importance of Internal and External Facial Features’. In: Third International Conference on Emerging Security Technologies. Lisbon, Portugal: IEEE. pp. 27-32. ISBN 978-1-4673-2448-9
Fredericks, J., Bennett, P., Williams, A. and Rogers, K. (2012) ‘FTIR spectroscopy: A new diagnostic tool to aid DNA analysis from heated bone’ Forensic Science International: Genetics , 6 (3), pp. 375-380. ISSN 1872-4973
Mileson, S., Nicholls, D. and Williams, A. (2011) ‘The Lost Church of Bix Gibwyn: The Human Bone’ Oxoniensia , 76, pp. 15-36. ISSN 03085562
Williams, A (2010) ‘Human Remains Found While Searching for the 'Lost' Church of Bix Gibwyn’ South Midlands Archaeology , 40, pp. 58-61.
Williams, A (2010) ‘The Search for the Missing Church of St Michael's, Bix Gibwyn, Bix: Concluded? Initial Analysis of Human Remains’ South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group Bulletin (64), pp. 17-21.
Williams, A., Temple, T., Pollard, S., Jones, R. and Ritz, K. (2009) ‘Environmental Considerations for Common Burial Site Selection After Pandemic Events’. In: Criminal and Environmental Soil Forensics. London, UK: Springer. pp. 87-101. ISBN 978-1-4020-9204-6
Shortland, A., Masters, P., Harrison, K., Williams, A. and Boston, C. (2008) ‘Burials of eighteenth-century Naval personnel: preliminary results from excavations at the Royal Hospital Haslar, Gosport (Hants)’ Antiquity , 82 (317). ISSN 0003-598X
Payne, L. and Williams, A. (2006) ‘Managing Potential Conflict Between Forensic Procedures and the Needs of the Bereaved.’ Alert: Journal of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management , pp. 16-17.
Anna has previously supervised the following:
Anna is currently supervising PhD research in these areas:
Potential PhD Supervision