Dr. Judith Smith

Senior Lecturer

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Building, MB057

+44 (0) 1772 89 4257

Subject Areas: Forensic Science, Biological Sciences

I joined UCLan in 2006 as a lecturer in Forensic Genetics, my teaching focusses on the application of genetics and molecular biology in Forensic Science and DNA profiling. I have research interests in the application of genetics in Forensic Entomology and Molecular Ecology.

Full Profile

Judith has a broad background in molecular genetics ranging from population genetics, gene mapping and developmental biology. Her PhD research investigated the impact of parasitism and reproductive success on the population genetics of Soay sheep on the remote Scottish islands of St Kilda. Since then she has carried out post-doctoral research on genetic variation in production traits in cattle (Roslin Institute, Edinburgh), population genetics and the genetic control of nematode development (University of Glasgow) and insect molecular genetics (Lancaster University). Her teaching focuses on mendelian and molecular genetics at both undergraduate and post graduate level and has research interests in Forensic Entomology and Molecular Ecology. 

Ph. D. “Polymorphism Parasites and Fitness in Soay Sheep”, University of Cambridge, 1996
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, 1990


Smith J.A. and Baker N. C. (2008) Molecular genetic identification of forensically important flies in the UK. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series 1. 620-622.

Redman E., Packard E., Grillo V., Smith J.A., Jackson F., Gilleard J. S. (2008) Microsatellite analysis reveals marked genetic differentiation between Haemonchus contortus laboratory isolates and provides a rapid system of genetic fingerprinting. International Journal for Parasitology. 38(1): 111-122.

More publications


Ancient Sheep - Sheep (Ovis aries) were one of the earliest animals domesticated by man and are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia (Ovis orientalis) around 10,000 years ago. Molecular analysis of wild and domestic sheep supports multiple domestication events and has identified a number of maternal lineages. However there are very few studies looking at ancient DNA itself, this project aims to analyse ancient (Neolithic/Bronze Age/Iron Age/Roman) samples. We aim to analyse mitochondrial DNA sequences to compare domesticated and wild sheep to determine if there are any ancient lineages within population which may then give an insight into the early domestication of sheep.

Blowfly genomics - Blowflies are insects of wide importance in ecology (as vital recyclers of detritus), veterinary science (as causes of infection and disease in livestock) and forensic science (as indicators of time since death). Understanding the ecology of these insects, on which many assumptions are based, requires the development of genetic tools for species identification, population genetic studies and gene mapping. There are limited publically available genetic resources and this project aims to identify new microsatellite markers to assess levels of variation and genetic structure in UK blowfly species.

Environmental DNA analysis - eDNA techniques involve species detection through trace biological material from the environment. This is particularly applicable for monitoring species that are under threat due to habitat destruction, detecting competition from invasive species, and emerging infectious diseases. In addition the presence or absence of protected species is a key legal issue that relies on accurate species detection. This project proposes the development and validation of eDNA assays providing a novel, non-destructive method to identify the presence, absence and relative abundance of species of interest from pond water or sediment samples.


My current research interests are within the fields of molecular ecology and forensic entomology. In particular I am interested in the genetic control of insect development and the application of molecular markers for insect species identification which could be important tools when using insect evidence to determine time since death. I am interested in developing genetic markers to address questions of the abundance, geographical distribution and population biology of forensically important flies in the UK (in particular blowflies (Calliphoridae). I am also interested in the development and validation of molecular markers for wildlife forensics, conservation genetics and molecular ecology and am involved in projects investigating genetic variation in ancient sheep, environmental DNA monitoring of protected or invasive species and role of diet in insect immunity.


International Society for Forensic Genetics, Krakow (2015).

European Association of Forensic Entomology, Huddersfield (2015).

European Congress of Entomology, York (2014) SMITH J.A and Godfrey H. “A multi-gene approach to species identification of forensically important blowflies” (Poster).

International Society for Forensic Genetics, Melbourne (2013) SMITH J.A and Godfrey H. “A multi-gene approach to species identification of forensically important blowflies” (Poster).

Wildlife Crime and Conservation, Chester (2012).

International Society for Forensic Genetics, Vienna (2011) SMITH J.A and Godfrey H. “A SNaPshot assay for the identification of forensically important blowflies” (Poster).

International Congress of Entomology, Durban (2008) SMITH J.A. “Genetic identification of forensically important flies” (Oral presentation).

International Society for Forensic Genetics, Copenhagen (2007) SMITH J.A and Baker N C. “Molecular genetic identification of forensically important flies in the UK” (Poster).


Member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics.

Member of the Royal Entomological Society.

Member of the British Ecological Society.

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

I contribute to teaching across all years including mendelian and molecular genetics and forensic DNA profiling at undergraduate level and supervising both literature and lab-based undergraduate projects. Together with the other members of the Forensic Genetics Team I contribute to our Masters level programmes in DNA Profiling, and the MSc Forensic & Conservation Genetics as well as supervising post-graduate research projects (MSc and PhD).