Meet your academic- Dr Chris Shepherd

Programme lead for forensic science and a director of studies for chemistry and forensic science.

Meet Dr Chris Shepherd, programme lead for forensic science and a director of studies for chemistry and forensic science. Chris obtained his BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry with Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Bristol in 2006 before gaining an MSc in Forensic Science and Engineering (2007) and a PhD (2011) from Cranfield Defence and Security, where he specialised in shock physics and terminal ballistics under the supervision of Dr Derek Allsop. He also has a post-graduate certificate in higher education (PGCHE) from the University of Kent. Chris joined the University of Kent as a Lecturer in Forensic Science in 2011 before being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2017 and then to his current role as Reader in 2021.

Chris is responsible for lecturing in various areas of physics, mathematics and forensic science with a particular emphasis on ballistics-related subjects, courtroom skills and student research projects. He is also highly interested in furthering scientific education and holds a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) demonstrating his commitment to leading in this area.

Chris’ research and consultancy interests involve all aspects of ballistics, in particular, the application of modern scientific techniques to better understand ballistic processes and principles. His research to date has included the application of shock physics for the material characterisation of ballistic tissue simulants, wound ballistic studies with applications relating to casualty prediction from suicide bomb attacks, and many aspects of forensic ballistics, including the development of digital methods for shooting reconstruction and the investigation of novel ricochet impact phenomena from AK-47-type ammunition.

Chris cannot wait to meet all of his new forensic science students joining in September. The forensic science course at Kent is considered one of the top forensic courses in the country and he is very proud of all that we do here at Kent. The course could not gain such esteem without the amazing group of staff that teach across the range of chemical and forensic subjects in the course, and you will all meet these amazing people throughout your studies. The recent redesign of the course has enabled to us to focus even more on supporting our students through their scientific journey by embedding more practical work and problem solving sessions than ever before to enable the practicing of key skills and to build confidence. We have also better structured the course to ensure our students have the time to complete their coursework at a consistent pace while still having the time to engage with extra-curricular and paid work commitments to enrich and support their university journey. Thanks to our success as a course, we have also had significant recent investment with many new facilities and equipment now being used to support our delivery. These include our crime scene house facility and vehicles alongside a new suite of digital SLR cameras for crime scene investigation work, a brand new comparison microscope for ballistics and fibres analysis and several more exciting things coming soon, so watch this space!

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