Forensic Genetics Unit

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Courses offered by the UGF :

Our unit teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and also provides continuing education courses. Teaching is intended mainly for students of medicine, law and forensic science, as well as for magistrates, police officers and biomedical analysis technicians. The following modules are given in this context.

  • "Use of DNA profiles in a medico-legal context" which seeks to illustrate the use of DNA profiles in a forensic context.
  • "Practical courses in forensic genetics" which seeks to provide basic knowledge concerning the interpretation of DNA profiles in a forensic context.
  • "Analyses of autosomal nuclear DNA" which presents the main factors influencing the establishment of nuclear DNA profiles and governing their interpretation.
  • "Analysis of haploid DNA markers" which presents the main factors influencing the establishment of Y-STR and mitochondrial DNA profiles and governing their interpretation.

Main areas of research at the UGF :

The UGF develops and collaborates in many multidisciplinary research projects in different fields of forensic genetics, biology and medicine. Among these projects, several areas of research are developed :

  • Diana Hall, PhD Responsible of Research
    Diana Hall received her Ph.D. in Forensic Genetics from the Catholic University of Rome for her research on background Linkage Disequilibrium across human populations, carried out at the Department of Human Genetics of the University of Chicago. She continued her postdoctoral studies on disease mapping of complex traits at the Rockefeller University of New York. Since 2010, she is Responsible of Research at the UGF. Her latest interests are novel methodological approaches for DNA mixture resolutions, prenatal paternity testing, solid organ transplant monitoring and population genetics. 
  • Vincent Castella, Dr ès Sc., privat-docent, MER-1, Responsable UGF
    Vincent Castella has studied biology with a focus on population genetics. After completing his PhD at the University of Lausanne, he was hired in 2001 for supervising, then directing the forensic genetics laboratory of Lausanne. In 2004, he obtained the forensic geneticist title of the SSLM. Since 2008, Vincent Castella is in charge of the forensic genetics unit at the CURML. His focus is the setting of new molecular tools of forensic interest. Vincent Castella gives also forensic genetics lessons at the University of Lausanne.
  • Patrick Basset, PhD
    After some studies in Biology and a PhD from the Lausanne University with a specialization in population genetics, Patrick Basset did a one year postdoc at the University of Arizona (Tucson, USA) (speciation genetics). Then, he worked for 5 years in the service of hospital preventive medicine at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) to study the epidemiology and evolution of several bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Since 2013, Patrick Basset takes care of certifying activities of the UGF as well as research projects. In such a context, he is particularly interested in the parameters associated with the contamination of DNA stains. 
  • Frédéric Grosjean, PhD
    Holder of a PhD in Sciences from the EPFL since 2003, Frédéric Grosjean worked for two years as responsible for the flow cytometry facility within the Ludwig Insitute for Cancer Research. He then joined the biochemistry department of the University of Lausanne to perform postdoctoral studies in immunology, working on a murine model of cancer and its characterization using DNA array and flow cytometry. Frédéric Grosjean is a flow cytometry specialist; he is interested in its applications within the field of forensic sciences, focusing on separation of different cell types for genetic analyses. 

Thesis in progress :

  • Géraldine Damour (2020 - ) "New DNA markers for the analysis of challenging DNA mixtures and for individual ancestry inference in forensic investigations"

Some recent UGF publications :