The 15th of June, Prof. Titia Sijen was appointed Professor by Special Appointment in Forensic Human Biology on behalf of the Stichting Leerstoel Criminalistiek and will be part of the Faculty of Science (FNWI) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Titia will be working with the UvA one day a week and will combine the professorship with her job at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague.
Chair in Forensic Biology
Since 2007, Titia is leader of the Research & Development team of the division biological traces at the NFI. Her team performs research on the interpretation of complex DNA profiles, RNA cell typing and the prediction of age, ancestry, and appearance. Research directly fuelled by case work. For over a decade the UvA and the NFI have been successfully collaborating, with the NFI being a primary partner of the Co van Ledden Hulzebosch Centrum. Forensic human biology is a rapidly developing field, with a constant need for new methods and tools. The chair in forensic human biology is part of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences. With research groups focussing on topics such as epigenetic gene regulatory mechanisms, RNA biology, proteomics and biosystems data analysis, the chair will enable the exploration of new forensic collaborations and will hopefully spark innovative high-quality research. This will provide unique opportunities for students of the Master of Forensic Science at FNWI, UvA and enable cross fertilization between research and education at UvA.
After obtaining a PhD in plant virology at the Wageningen University, Titia started working at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she studied gene silencing in plants. Four years later she switched to Utrecht University to study gene silencing in worms. After having worked for 15 years on RNA silencing research also in the context of a prestigious NWO-VIDI grant, she felt it was time for a change. Looking for a job with a more direct link to society, in 2007, Titia found her way to the forensic domain, becoming the leader of the human biology R&D team of the NFI.
Titia is looking forward to her new role as professor by special appointment in human forensic biology at UvA. As part of her job, she will be the coordinator of the Advanced Forensic Biology course, part of the Forensic Science Masters Programme at the UvA. “I like to perform research, but I also really enjoy helping people grow. I think that is my teachers heart speaking. I might be a bit tough on students, but I love seeing people reach their full potential.”