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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Tim Thompson is Dean of the School of Health & Life Sciences and Professor of Applied Biological Anthropology. Previously he was Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) for three years in the School of Science, Engineering & Design and Associate Dean (Academic) in the School of Health & Life Sciences. In 2014, Tim was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for excellence in teaching and support for learning in higher education and in 2021 his contribution was recognised through conferment as Principal Fellow.

Before coming to Teesside, Tim studied for his PhD at the University of Sheffield (Faculty of Medicine) and was a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee.

Tim has published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, chapters and books and is a renowned expert on the post-mortem changes to the skeleton, and what this can tell us about life and death. His latest book is 'Human Remains: Another Dimension - the application of imaging to the study of human remains'. Prior to this, he published the book 'The Archaeology of Cremation: Burned Human Remains in Funerary Studies', and was co-author of 'Human Identity and Identification' with Dr Rebecca Gowland (Durham University) and senior editor for the book 'Forensic Human Identification'.

Externally, he is on the editorial boards for the journal 'Forensic Anthropology' and for 'Human Remains and Violence: an Interdisciplinary Journal'. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal 'Science & Justice' for three years and currently has that role for the 'Journal of Forensic & Legal Medicine'. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal Society of Biology, and a Principal Fellow of AdvanceHE. He has also contributed to The Conversation and other media channels.

Tim is an active forensic anthropologist who has worked at home and abroad in a variety of forensic contexts, and currently supports training and capacity-building worldwide.

Summary of Research Interests

Tim's research interests have evolved over the years, to the extent that he has three key areas of activity. The majority of his research has sought to understand what happens to bone after death, particular as a result of burning, and how we can use this understanding of these changes to interpret the context of death. More recently he has been developing and applying methods of visualising forensic and archaeological artefacts for conservation and analysis. Finally, he has a long-standing interest in the practice of forensic anthropology, the frameworks in which practitioners work, and the way it is taught.

Various projects are currently underway in all these areas, involving leading researchers in a variety of UK and overseas academic institutions.

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Tim acts as a consultant for higher education institutions and within forensic anthropologist for the police.

Tim was also the Managing Director of anthronomics for 9 years, a spin-out company from Teesside University which created a range of exciting and effective digital tools and software for all those studying, teaching, researching and working with skeletal remains.


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