Leisa Nichols-Drew is a highly experienced Forensic Scientist and University Lecturer, with specialist expertise in the disciplines of Forensic Biology (blood pattern analysis, bodyfluids examinations, DNA processing and submissions) and Evidence Recovery (including hairs, fibres and trace particulate debris, also shoe/tool/tyre mark analysis and UV/IR imaging techniques).
Having commenced a career in forensic science in 2000, Leisa continues to undertake major crime (murder, sexual offences, armed robberies etc) casework examinations in a national forensic science laboratory to the current day, when not fulfilling lecturing commitments at DMU.
Extensive attendance experience at crime scenes and vehicle examinations, post-mortem examinations, courts, cold-case reviews and case conferences, Leisa has coordinated complex forensic laboratory examination strategies contributing to high profile investigations through the Major Crime Service within the UK Criminal Justice System and international agencies including Operations – Sacristy, Mandrill, Easel, Hawkowl, Orb, Frob, Ruby, Jigsaw, Fincham and Sumac.
Subsequently, appointed to a national group to facilitate best practice and validate new techniques, with successful completion of the UKAS Lead Assessor, Assessor (ISO 17025) and UKAS Forensic Laboratory Internal Auditor courses. Additionally, the responsibility for writing and reviewing SOPs, auditing and investigating quality issues in forensic science led to processes which are still used today.
Development, delivery, assessment and evaluation of national forensic science technical training/coaching/mentoring courses to forensic practitioners, also forensic awareness sessions to police officers, crime scene investigators, the Crown Prosecution Service and judiciary.
In 2016, Leisa successfully delivered a national project which involved the transition of a novel fingermark development and visualisation method for metal surfaces (e.g. bullet casings), from researchers to practitioners in over 30 police forces across the UK, as well as the National Crime Agency, Ministry of Defence, Interpol and US Secret Service (Forensic Science Division). This was also communicated to scientists in Europe, Kenya, Australia and New Zealand.
Consequently, Leisa has investigated other challenging surfaces for fingermark visualisation and has developed a unique method for leather surfaces. This research was disseminated at international conferences in Canada and The Netherlands. Currently, active roles in the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences include: Assessor, Link Member Representative (to encourage new members) and Conferences Committee Member.
In May 2017, Leisa coordinated a successful research funding and grant application event, which culminated in the co-facilitation of a workshop.
In 2018, Leisa was honoured to be awarded a WCMT Fellowship to investigate international approaches to knife crime to aid the UK response. A personal interest is Continual Professional Development; through attendance at National and International forensic science conferences, events, workshops and training courses.
Forensic science has always been a lifelong passion and it remains a privilege and honour to continue working in this field.