Students turn investigators

TWO BODIES lay motionless while “police officers” and “forensic experts” combed the crime scene in search of any evidence left by the criminals during the gruesome bank robbery.  

This was the setting for a Forensic Science Workshop conducted by Taylor’s School of Biomedical Sciences where 48 pre-university students turned forensic scientists ala the popular tele-series, CSI.  

The students collected evidence from the crime scene, including samples of blood, saliva and hair to identify the suspected killer among a few primary culprits who were arrested.  

This was followed by microscopy work to analyse the biological evidence. They also carried out hands-on DNA identification in the Molecular Biology lab at the college.  

The students carrying out DNA identification in the Molecular Biology lab at Taylor's College.

One of the participants, Tony Liew Chun Ching, 19, said the workshop was an exciting opportunity to gain an understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes of a crime investigation.  

“It was a wonderful experience donning the cloak of a forensic expert and carrying out ‘DNA profiling’ just as they do on TV.  

“Collecting nail and saliva samples from our reluctant suspects was hilarious and we had to match them with the samples found at the crime scene,” said Tony who is currently enrolled in the South Australian Matriculation programme at Taylor’s College.  

The participants also had the opportunity during the workshop to listen to a leading Malaysian forensic science expert and head of the DNA/Serology section of the forensic division at the Chemistry Department Primulapathi Jaya. 

Primulapathi who has been involved in various criminal cases, including the high profile Canny Ong murder, spoke to the students about the career options of a forensic scientist and their everyday experiences. 

“I think tele-serials like CSI have definitely increased interest in this field of study,” said Deevina Arasaratnam, 19, a student enrolled in the Cambridge A-Levels programme at Taylor’s College. “I am really considering enrolling in a Biomedical Sciences programme,'' she said. 

During the workshop, second year Taylor’s Biomedical Sciences students guided the participants through the various processes involved in microscopy, DNA isolation, amplification, and identification.  

According to the assoc director of the School of Biomedical Sciences at Taylor’s College Dr Malini Eliatamby the Forensic Science Workshop was organised to give pre-university students a feel of what awaits them in the Biomedical Sciences degree programme. 

“The response from the students was fantastic and we actually had to limit the number of participants to ensure that each student got a chance to learn more about this challenging career. 

“The School of Biomedical Sciences is looking to organise another fun camp on genetic engineering in the near future,” she said. 

Taylor’s College School of Biomedical Sciences offers students the opportunity to acquire a degree in four different disciplines within the field of biomedical sciences from the University of Newcastle in Australia.  

Successful completion of Year 1 of the Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences at Taylor’s College allows students to transfer to Year 2 at Newcastle where they can choose to specialise in Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology), Bachelor of Science (Food Technology) or Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics).  

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