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Professor, Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney

Shari Forbes is a Professor and former ARC Future Fellow in the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Technology Sydney. She is also the Director of the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), the only facility in Australia that allows scientists to study the decomposition of human cadavers. She completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Chemistry and Forensic Science and a PhD (Forensic Chemistry) at the University of Technology Sydney. She was the founding Director of the Forensic Science program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) from 2005-2011 where she also held a Canada Research Chair in Decomposition Chemistry.

Shari’s research investigates the chemical processes that occur in soft tissue decomposition. Her research aims to increase the knowledge base relating to decomposition chemistry to identify an accurate biochemical signature for estimating time since death. She has studied the chemical processes of decomposition in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric environments throughout Australia, Canada and the USA. Shari’s fellowship research focused on identifying an accurate chemical profile of decomposition odour using advanced analytical instrumentation. The research has assisted police canine units to enhance their training methods for cadaver-detection dogs and blood-detection dogs deployed to forensic and mass disaster investigations.

Shari collaborates with the NSW Police Force, Australian Federal Police, and Fire and Rescue NSW. Shari’s research has been funded by the Australian Research Council, United States Agency for International Development, Canada Research Chair Program, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Canadian Police Research Centre. She was recently recognised among the top 50 most influential women in analytical sciences in the world, being named in Analytical Scientist’s 2016 Power List. Her contributions to forensic science have been recognized by several awards, including the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, UTS Alumni Award for Excellence, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award, and the UOIT Junior Research Excellence Award.

Shari is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, an invited member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and a member of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS). She is the Pacific Officer for the Initiative on Forensic Geology, a directive of the International Union of Geological Sciences. She is regularly consulted on forensic casework and assists police to search for and locate human remains using police dogs and geophysical equipment.


  • –present
    Professor , University of Technology Sydney