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International award win for pioneering forensics researcher at Northumbria University

1st April 2022

A researcher in forensic science at Northumbria University, Newcastle, has won a prestigious international award for her work in the field of biology and forensic genetics.

Dr Noemi Procopio, of Northumbria’s Department of Applied Sciences, took home the Excellence Award in Biology and Forensic Science at the annual Investigation and Forensic Awards ceremony, held in Milan, Italy.

The esteemed event recognises companies and professionals in the private investigation and forensic sciences sector, for their ground-breaking work around the world.

Dr Procopio was awarded in recognition of her work as Principal Investigator of the ForensOMICS team at Northumbria, where she studies how biomolecules, and in particular proteins, metabolites, and DNA, can survive and decay after death. This research aims to identify new biomarkers in human bones capable of revealing information on the chronological age and the post-mortem interval (PMI) of deceased individuals.

Dr Procopio has led studies as part of major excavations all over the world, including the forensic analysis on an 18th century Caribbean graveyard, and in Texas where she has worked on an experimental mass grave at the Forensic Anthropology Center Texas State (FACTS), which led to her recognition at the Investigation and Forensic Awards this year.

Speaking after winning her award, Dr Procopio said: “I was not expecting to be awarded with a forensic prize in Italy, as all of my career has been based in the UK, from my PhD to my Fellowship position. It is great to see that the hard work I carried out overseas has been rewarded in my home country. This victory has a special value and shows that the progresses I am making with my ForensOMICS team are starting to be recognised internationally.”

In 2019, Dr Procopio was awarded £1.2 million as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship to develop her career and to tackle challenging research in the field of forensic science. 

She is also a member of several societies including the Chartered Society of Forensic Science, the American Academy of Forensic Science (where she has also been recently appointed member of the International Affairs Committee), the Italian Academy of Forensic Sciences and of the International Society for Forensic Genetics.

Dr Procopio is part of the Editorial Board of Springer Nature – one of the world's leading global research, educational and professional publishers – as part of their Soil Forensics series. And more recently she has been appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara (Italy) and Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas State.
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