Assoc Prof Laura Heathfield

Associate Professor | Forensic Geneticist | Programme Convenor: Biomedical Forensic Science

Laura Heathfield (PhD) is an Associate Professor of Forensic Genetics and the Head of the Biomedical Forensic Science Unit in the Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the University of Cape Town. As evidenced by her publication record, her research focuses on improving the recovery and analysis of DNA in the post-mortem forensic setting, particularly for human identification and molecular autopsy applications. She has a keen interest in harnessing massively parallel sequencing technology and her laboratory is home to the first and one of the only MiSeq FGx platforms in Africa. 

Heathfield frequently collaborates with national and international strategic partners and maintains a close collaboration with Forensic Pathology Services (Department of Health, Western Cape, South Africa). To this end, she has been a key role-player in the creation and development of the Molecular Forensics Laboratory within the new Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute in Cape Town. Heathfield has been a member of the Faculty's Human Research Ethics Committee since 2019 and actively engages with projects with humanitarian impact.