Dr Leesa Ferguson

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences

Leesa teaches on our undergraduate Crime and Investigative Studies and Forensic Science courses and postgraduate Forensic Science course. Her research focuses on investigating the chemical components present in fingermarks and the enhancement of fingermarks on challenging substrates.

[email protected]


Leesa obtained a first class honours degree in Forensic and Analytical Science from Sheffield Hallam University. Her PhD involved investigating the composition of latent fingermarks using spectroscopic imaging techniques, with particular emphasis on Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy.

Before teaching at ARU, Leesa worked as a Lecturer in Forensic Science at Sheffield Hallam University.

Leesa is a member of the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group.

Research interests
  • Use of spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques for the analysis of the chemical components present in latent fingermarks
  • Detection of drugs of abuse on paper currency and other matrices
  • Enhancement of latent fingermarks on challenging substrates

BSc (Hons) Forensic Science

BSc (Hons) Crime and Investigative Studies

MSc Forensic Science

  • PhD, Analysis of the Composition of Latent Fingermarks by Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic and Analytical Science
  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education)
Memberships, editorial boards

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Selected recent publications

Dawkins, J., Gautam, L, Bandey, H., Armitage, R., Ferguson, L., 2020. The effect of paint type on the development of latent fingermarks on walls. Forensic Science International, 309, 110186.

Ferguson, L. S., Creasey, S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M. R., Francese, S., 2013. Efficiency of the dry-wet method for the MALDI-MSI analysis of latent fingermarks. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 48, pp. 677-684.

Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Ferguson, L. S., Sammon, C., Mader, K., Claude, E., Blackledge, R.D., Clench, M. R., Francese, S., 2013. Spectroscopic imaging based approach for condom identification in condom contaminated fingermarks. Analyst, 138(9), pp. 2546-2557.

Francese, S., Bradshaw, R., Ferguson, L. S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M. R., Bleay, S., 2013. Beyond the ridge pattern: multi-informative analysis by MALDI mass spectrometry. Analyst, 138(15), pp. 4215-1428.

Ferguson, L. S., Wulfert, F., Wolstenholme, R., Fonville, J. M., Clench, M. R., Carolan, V. A., Francese, S., 2012. Direct detection of peptides and small proteins in fingermarks and determination of sex by MALDI mass spectrometry profiling. Analyst, 137(20), pp. 4686-4692.

Bailey, M. J., Bright, N. J., Croxton, R. S., Francese, S., Ferguson, L. S., Hinder, S., Jickells, S., Jones, B. J., Jones, B. N., Kazarian, S. G., Ojeda, J. J., Webb, R. P., Wolstenholme, R., Bleay, S., 2012. Chemical characterisation of Latent fingermarks by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, mega electron volt secondary mass spectrometry, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic imaging: an inter-comparison. Analytical Chemistry, 84(20), p. 5814.

Ferguson L. S., Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M. R., Francese, S., 2011. Two-step matrix application for the enhancement and imaging of latent fingermarks. Analytical Chemistry, 83, pp. 5585-5591.

Bradshaw R., Wolstenholme R., Blackledge R. D, Clench M. R., Ferguson L. S., Francese S., 2011. A novel matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging based methodology for the identification of sexual assault suspects. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 25, pp. 415-422.

Ferguson, L., Francese, S., Wolstenholme, R., Lozano-Diz, E., 2010. Gold nanoparticles for SERS in fingermark identification. Perkin Elmer Application Note.

Ferguson, L., Lozano-Diz, E., Francese, S., and Wolstenholme, R., 2010. Gold nanoparticles for SERS in fingermark identification. Spectroscopy Wavelength, 3 June.