Professor Titia Sijen

Professor by special appointment of Forensic Human Biology

Since 15 June 2020, on behalf of the Stichting Leerstoel Criminalistiek (foundation for a special chair in criminalistics), Titia Sijen has been professor by special appointment of Forensic Human Biology at the Faculty of Science (FNWI) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), specifically at Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS). Titia combines this professorship with her work as Research team leader within the Biological Traces division.

Human Biology

The Research team focuses on forensic applications in the following areas:

  • Methods to analyse and interpret complex DNA profiles (these sometimes have multiple donors with such low contributions that not all genotype information is obtained).
  • RNA-based methods to determine the cellular origin of a biological trace (this can help to determine which activities have taken place at a crime scene) and also linking donor and cell type by using sequence variation in the RNA molecules.
  • Forensic applications of modern techniques such as massively parallel sequencing with the associated bioinformatics tools.
  • Using DNA information to predict characteristics of an unknown donor or parts of the body such as age, biogeographical origin and externally perceptible characteristics (especially within the framework of VISAGE, a major European consortium led by Prof. Manfred Kayser, Erasmus Medical Center).

Curriculum Vitae

Titia was born in 1967 and studied plant breeding at Wageningen University. Both her PhD research (WUR, completed in 1997) and two postdoc periods (four years at the VU University and six years at the Hubrecht Institute) focused on understanding gene silencing processes using both plants and nematodes as model organisms. In 2007, Titia switched to forensics.