FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

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iten
Code
72572
ACADEMIC YEAR
2019/2020
CREDITS
4 credits during the 2nd year of 8762 Biological Sciences (L-13) GENOVA

4 credits during the 2nd year of 9916 ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES (L-32) GENOVA

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
BIO/05
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (Biological Sciences)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

Forensic entomology is the application of the knowledge about insects in order to answer the investigative questions, the so called 6Ws. The main question at which the discipline answer is related with the post mortem interval (PMI). It is worth mentioning that the discipline doesnt deal only with violent crime against humans but as well again animals, pets and wildlife. In addition forensic entomology deals  with infestations of food, human goods and buildings that can have legal issues.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

This module will give the student a general knowledge of the principles and methods of the entomological approach dealing with criminal investigation focusing mainly on the PMI estimation. The module will provide the student with a general overview of the crime scene investigation process and the methods used for the PMI estimation.  In addition the module will provide a general knowledge about food and building contamination of forensic interest.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a:

 

a) general understanding of the crime scene investigation process

b) general understanding of the most important methods for PMI estimation

c) general understanding of the role of insect in human and other animals’ life (food contamination, diseases transmission, etc)

d) general knowledge of the insect systematics 

e) comprehensive understanding of the role of insect in body decomposition

f) comprehensive understanding of the factor affecting insect colonisation of a body

g) comprehensive understanding of the factor affecting insect development

h) systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to PMI (post mortem interval) estimation

i) systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to season of death estimation

j) systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to post mortem transfer identification

 

The student will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

 

k) identify different insect developmental stages

l) identify the species of insects involved in body colonisation

m) to produce a thermal reconstruction of a crime scene

n) critically estimate the PMI for a deceased individual using the entomological approach

o) to identify insect related with food contamination of forensic interest

PREREQUISITES

Students are assumed to have a general knowledge of biology, ecology and zoology: 1) systematics of invertebrates, 2) knowledge about the develpment of arthropods 3) the food web 4) the system prey-predator, host- parasite, 5) general knowledge about the DNA

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures, discussions on real cases and laboratory activities. Since activities are planned to develop data analysis skills and to apply the acquired knowledge during practical and methodological activities, attendance at lessons and lab activity is strongly recommended.

 

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

The course syllabus includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics    

• The crime scene investigation process

   o The concept of crime

   o The concept of crime scene

   o The concept of evidence

   o The crime scene attendance (documentation, collection, the chain of custody)

• The death and the PMI estimation

   o Decomposition, mummification, adipocere formation

• Insect: General Anatomy, Biology  and Physiology

   o Insect development and reproduction

   o Factors affecting the insect development

• Systematics (Phylogeny and classification)

  o General Insect identification

• Insects of forensic interest

• The colonisation waves 

  o Factors affecting the body colonisation

  o Temperature and thermal reconstruction

• Entomotoxicology and DNA in Forensic entomology

• Sampling, preparation, identification

• PMI estimation using the entomological approach

 

 

 

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

All the slides used during the lectures and other teaching material will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory activities together with other selected papers in pdf format.

 

The suggested books are available together with other books for further study at the lecturer office.

 

Recommended texts for any further information:

 

Tilstone, W.J.; Hastrup, M.L.; Hald, C. 2012 Fisher’s Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, First International Edition. CRC Press

 

David B. Rivers, Gregory A. Dahlem 2014. The Science of Forensic Entomology. Willey Blackwell

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: Specific questions will be answered at the end of the scheduled classes, in addition students may book an appointment by e-mail (stefano.vanin@unige.it)

Exam Board

STEFANO VANIN (President)

LAURA CORNARA

GIORGIO BAVESTRELLO

LESSONS

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures, discussions on real cases and laboratory activities. Since activities are planned to develop data analysis skills and to apply the acquired knowledge during practical and methodological activities, attendance at lessons and lab activity is strongly recommended.

 

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

LESSONS START

see the official timetable online

ORARI

L'orario di tutti gli insegnamenti è consultabile su EasyAcademy.

EXAMS

Exam description

The assesment of the module is composed by twosections: a practical test with written report and an oral assessment.

 

The practical test and the written report are related to the topics and practical activities carried out during the laboratory activity.

 

Students are admitted to the oral exam if the assessment of their written exam is 18/30  or more

 

The oral examination consists of the presentation of a topic chosen by the student and the answer to questions asked by the teacher on topics covered during the course.

 

The final score is given by the arithmetic average between the scores of the two parts. The oral examination can be sustained both in the same session as the practical test or in subsequent sessions published on the UNIGE website. Three exam dates will be available in the winter session (January-February) and three in the summer session (June, July, September).

Assessment methods

Details on the assesment preparation and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the course and repeated during lectures and lab activities.

 

 

The written report  will verify the effective acquisition of the knoweldge and the the methods of investigation typical of the discipline. The student wull work on a real scenario.

 

The oral examination will assess the exposition ability of the student and their capacity to defend the conclusion of the case investigation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Regular attendance at lectures and lab activities  is strongly recommended as well as a proactive partecipation to the discussions and the groupwork.