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Dr Nathalie Zahra

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Forensic science and crime

Nathalie is passionate about forensic science and specialises in forensic genetics and fingerprint comparison

[email protected]


Nathalie obtained an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Malta in 2002. This was then followed by an MSc in DNA Profiling and PhD in Forensic Genetics from the University of Central Lancashire. Her doctoral project involved the development and validation of the PICs as quality control markers for DNA profiling.

Following her degrees, she took on a research associate / Post-Doc scientist position at the WTCHG working with the next generation sequencing team on the various genetics projects. This was then followed with a Post-Doc position at the University of Leicester mostly on developing and validating new sequencing technology for various genetics projects.

In addition to her academic work, and before joining ARU she also worked in industry as a scientist doing forensic and clinically related work. Being trained on fingerprint comparison she also serves as a court expert

Nathalie joined ARU in 2016 as a lecturer in Forensic section and teaches mostly in forensic biology module.

Spoken Languages


Research interests

  • Human identification methods
  • DNA profiling
  • DNA predictive markers
  • Fingerprint comparison


BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
BSc (Hons) Crime and Investigative Sciences
MSc Forensic Science

Introduction to Forensic and Investigative Science
Introduction to Forensic Methodologies
Identification Techniques
Mass Disaster
The Forensic Analysis of DNA and Biological Material
Specialised Topics in Forensic Science


BSc (Hons.) Biology and Chemistry – University of Malta (2002)
MSc DNA Profiling – University of Central Lancashire (2005)
PhD Forensic Genetics – University of Central Lancashire (2009)

Memberships, editorial boards

ISFG (International Society of Forensic Genetics)
IAI (International Association for Identification)
CSFS (Chartered Society of Forensic Science)

Selected recent publications

McGinn, et al. (2016) ‘New technologies for DNA analysis - a review of the READNA Project’, New Biotechnology, 33(3), pp. 311–330. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2015.10.003.

Nathalie, Z., Hadi, S. and Goodwin, W. (2012) ‘Development of PCR internal controls for DNA profiling with the AmpFlSTR® SGM Plus® amplification kit’, Electrophoresis, 33(18), pp. 2833–2839. doi: 10.1002/elps.201200252.

Nazir, M. S., Iyavoo, S., Alimat, S., Zahra, N., Sanqoor, S. H., Smith, J. A., Moffatt, C. and Goodwin, W. (2013) ‘Development of a multiplex system to assess DNA persistence in taphonomic studies’, Electrophoresis, 34(24), pp. 3352–3360. doi: 10.1002/elps.201300240.

Page, K., Guttery, D. S., Zahra, N., Primrose, L., Elshaw, S. R., Pringle, J. H., Blighe, K., Marchese, S. D., Hills, A., Woodley, L., Stebbing, J., Coombes, R. C. and Shaw, J. A. (2013) ‘Influence of Plasma Processing on Recovery and Analysis of Circulating Nucleic Acids’, PLoS ONE, 8(10), pp. 2–11. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077963.

Zahra, N. and Goodwin, W. (2016) ‘The Development and Use of Internal Amplification Controls (IACs) with DNA Profiling Kits for Forensic DNA Analysis’, in Goodwin, W. (ed.) Forensic DNA Typing Protocols. New York, NY: Springer New York, pp. 109–124. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3597-0_8.

Zahra, N., Hadi, S., Smith, J. A., Iyengar, A. and Goodwin, W. (2011) ‘Development of internal amplification controls for DNA profiling with the AmpFlSTR® SGM Plus® kit.’, Electrophoresis, 32(11), pp. 1371–1378. doi: 10.1002/elps.201100051.

Zahra, N., Sallam, L. A. A., Hadi, S. and Goodwin, W. (2008) ‘The analysis of UAE populations using AmpFlSTR® Y Filer®: Identification of novel and null alleles’, Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series, 1(1), pp. 255–256. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigss.2007.10.137.