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Forensic team that helped reconstruct face of Richard III honoured

Dundee university's centre for anatomy and human identification awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

Reconstruction of  King Richard III's face done by Dundee University team

A team of forensic scientists that reconstructed the face of Richard III and helped to identify victims of the Asian Tsunami have won a prestigious award.

The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) in Dundee has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education.

Presented in recognition of world class excellence the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are among the most highly-regarded awards for the UK’s universities and colleges.

CAHID, which is headed by Professor Sue Black, is one of the world’s foremost institutions for the study and application of human anatomy, forensic human identification, disaster victim identification and forensic and medical art.

Professor Black said: “This is a tremendous honour and testament to the hard work of all the staff, and indeed the students, who have worked in the Centre.

“Ours is a relatively short history, but in that time we have made great strides forward and the work that comes out of this Centre has significant local, national and international impact.

“We have also been fortunate to enjoy great support both from within the University and from external partners and agencies.”

Professor Sue Black.

The centre is one of the best internationally for its work in forensic human identification, where staff have worked on high profile cases both at home and abroad. It has developed new techniques, including identifying perpetrators from images of their hands in photographs, that have led to successful prosecution in a significant number of cases of child sexual abuse.

The scientists have also devised and implemented the world’s first training programme for police officers and professional experts in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

This was established in response to major events such as the Asian Tsunami, the London and Sharm-El-Sheikh bombings. The training programme has helped build a crucial response capability to major disasters. CAHID is also a partner in the creation of the FASTid system that has been adopted by Interpol.

In Addition the centre is recognised as an international leader in craniofacial identification and forensic facial reconstruction for the identification of the living and the dead, the latter more recently including King Richard III.

The centre’s work has also rejuvenated the study of human anatomy and its application in teaching, training and research.

Professor Pete Downes, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said: "The range of CAHID’s impact, from the face of Richard III to the victims of the Asian tsunami and to the work to help gain convictions of sex offenders, is truly amazing.

"The bold introduction of Thiel embalming of human bodies will revolutionise surgical training and pioneer new surgical techniques. This award is deserved recognition for Sue Black and each and every member of CAHID’s staff.”

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