Leading forensic entomologist to speak at Okanagan College in Vernon

Dr. Gail Anderson is an SFU professor and forerunner in the application and study of insect biology to criminal matters

Dr. Gail Anderson

What has six legs and solves crimes?

One of the country’s leading forensic entomologists will reveal the secret when she visits the Okanagan this fall to share her experiences cracking real-life whodunnit cases with the help of insects.

Dr. Gail Anderson, SFU professor and forerunner in the field of forensic entomology (the application and study of insect biology to criminal matters), will uncover all the clues in a public talk at Okanagan College.

The presentation will take place in the lecture theatre of the College’s Vernon campus on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Anderson’s talk, entitled Murder and Maggots: The Use of Forensic Entomology in Criminal Investigations, is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.

Anderson will explain how insects can be used to estimate elapsed time since death and other factors about a crime scene, such as position and presence of wounds, and whether a body has been moved or disturbed. She will also discuss the role of entomology in animal abuse and neglect cases.

In this presentation, Anderson will use real-world case histories to illustrate the underlying science. Warning: some of the images may be disturbing; this talk is not recommended for anyone under the age of 15 without parental permission.

Anderson is a Professor in the School of Criminology and the Co-Director of the Centre for Forensic Research at Simon Fraser University. She is a forensic entomology consultant to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and municipal police across Canada as well as the SPCA and Wildlife Enforcement. She has been analyzing forensic entomology cases since 1988, and has testified as an expert witness in court many times. Recently, her research was used to help convict Robert Pickton for the murder of dozens of Vancouver women.

Anderson’s work has been featured in numerous television programs. She was a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Science and Technology, and the SFU Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award. She was listed in TIME magazine as one of the top five global innovators in the world, this century, in the field of Criminal Justice in 2001 (the only Canadian listed) and as one of the Leaders for the 21st Century by TIME Magazine in 1999. She was awarded the Derome Award—the most prestigious award the Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) bestows—in 2001 for “outstanding contributions to the field of forensic science.” She was listed as one of the 100 most Influential Women in British Columbia by the Vancouver Sun in 2010, received a Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence in 2014, and in 2015 was listed as one of the six most influential scientists in BC by the Vancouver Sun.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

The talk is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

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