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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Amber Collings is a Lecturer in Forensic Science within the School of Science, Engineering, and Design at Teesside University. Amber joined the University in 2019 from her previous position at the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies where she worked alongside colleagues at the Forensic Innovation Centre, on the integration and use of 3D imaging and printing within the criminal justice system. In particular, her collaboration with Hampshire Constabulary’s Digital Forensics Group Imaging Unit centred on producing virtual and physical 3D models of anatomical evidence.

Amber’s academic career first started at the University of Portsmouth where she graduated with a First Class BSc in Forensic Biology accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Science. Having studied human osteology, forensic anthropology, forensic medicine, and forensic entomology, Amber became particularly interested in understanding human skeletal and soft tissue anatomy during health, decomposition, and in response to external factors. Her research project focussed on the histological changes and mtDNA degradation in human and non-human burned bone.

Following on from undergraduate study, Amber attended the Hull York Medical School where she completed an MSc in Human Anatomy and Evolution. Here she studied developmental, functional, and evolutionary anatomy in more detail and developed skills in the emerging field of virtual anthropology. Her master’s research focussed on the presence, morphology, and functional significance of the temporal fascia in a range of mammalian species, including humans.

Having developed a significant interest in biomechanics during her MSc, Amber then went on to complete a PhD in comparative biomedical sciences. Working within the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, Amber used cutting edge imaging techniques, biomechanical analysis, and musculoskeletal modelling to study the structure and function of the pelvis and hindlimb in frogs.

Her current research looks to apply such techniques to questions of a forensic nature.


Summary of Research Interests

Amber’s areas of research interest include;

  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic taphonomy
  • Comparative/functional anatomy
  • Biomechanics of injury
  • Virtual anthropology*
  • 3D imaging and printing
*In particular, she is interested in exploring the application of Geometric Morphometrics in the identification of unknown remains and the use of Finite Element Analysis for understanding injury patterns.

External Research Collaborations

Amber has maintained good connections with colleagues at the University of Portsmouth and Hull York Medical School and is interested in collaborating across other schools internally and institutions externally.

She is also keen to develop working relationships with local police constabularies and forensic services across the North East of England.


Academic Responsibilities

Amber teaches on various courses and modules across biology, forensic, and crime scene science from Foundation to Postgraduate level. She is the module leader for ‘Forensic Ecology’ and 'Roles of Enforcement Agencies', as well as 'Large Animal Management and Handling' and 'Domestic and Exotic Animal Husbandry and Welfare'.

Amber is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and is currently undertaking her PgCLTHE.


PhD and Research Opportunities

Amber is interested in supervising postgraduate research students within the following areas:

  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic taphonomy
  • Comparative/functional anatomy
  • Biomechanics of injury
  • Virtual anthropology
  • 3D imaging and printing

PhD and Research Opportunities

Currently supervising a range of BSc and MSc final year projects in the fields of Forensic 3D imaging, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Anthropology, and Animal Science.

Current PhD students:

Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons (University of Bradford)




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