Professor Linzi Wilson-Wilde is a leading female forensic scientist in Australia and New Zealand. For her work, she has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia and was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Prof. Wilson-Wilde completed a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Microbiology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Science in Genetics at La Trobe University.
“I got into forensic science by chance at university when an assignment saw me speaking to a forensic lab. I was instantly intrigued by the work and asked to complete my honours with them. The lab wasn’t taking on students, but I was so passionate that I called monthly until they changed their minds,” explained Prof. Wilson-Wilde.
She then completed a PhD at the University of Canberra in Molecular Genetics, focussing on species identification of Diprotodontia for wildlife crime investigations.
Throughout her career, Prof. Wilson-Wilde has spent more than 15 years with various state and federal police forces in Australia and New Zealand as a forensic science and criminalistic expert. Following the Bali bombing in 2002, Prof. Wilson-Wilde coordinated the DNA analysis of the samples used for victim identification and criminal investigation. She has also spent many years working at crime scenes as a blood stain pattern interpretation expert.
In 2008 she became General Manger of the National Institute of Forensic Science at Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency and took over as Director in 2015. She has been instrumental in the development and publication of forensic science standards for the Australian and International community, investigating new DNA techniques and national approaches to forensic education and training.
Prof. Wilson-Wilde has been involved in the development of forensic specific Australian and international standards, since 2010 and is the current Chair of ISO/TC272 – Forensic Sciences. Currently Prof. Wilson-Wilde is the Director of Forensic Science South Australia.
“I first got involved in standards through a national meeting of lab directors. While attending, we realised there was a need for standards to set a quality benchmark for forensic science,” said Prof. Wilson-Wilde.
“This meeting led me into the world of standards, where I discovered a passion for consumer-able standards, for example standardisation for the use of swabs to avoid DNA confusion. These standards have been utilised by ISO and are now used on a global stage. Something that I’m immensely proud of,” she continued.
In 2017, Prof. Wilson-Wilde received the prestigious W.R. Hebblewhite Medal from Standards Australia, which is awarded to individuals who make exceptional contributions to standardisation.
“Prof Wilson-Wilde was awarded the W.R. Hebblewhite Medal for the integral role she played in the developing a standard for minimizing the risk of contamination during the collection and analysis of biological material for forensic DNA purposes. This Australian Standard led to the development of ISO TC 272. Prof. Wilson-Wilde’s work continues to positively impact Australian and global businesses and we applaud her commitment to standards and their development.” Said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.
Prof. Wilson-Wilde finds her work with standards rewarding and strongly encourages others to get involved. “Development of standards requires a diversity of thought. As such, different perspectives are vital to ensure standards serve the community as needed.”
“I encourage people thinking about standard development to get involved. It’s a rewarding process, that offers you a fresh perspective on your industry. In addition, it allows you to have an impact in your field on a national and global level,” Prof. Wilson-Wilde concluded.