Gail Anderson
Associate Professor, Associate Director
School of Criminology

Engaging research

SFU deploys insects to help solve crimes

SFU’s pure research is raising the bar on solving crime. Professor Gail Anderson and her forensic entomology team have made discoveries in many pure disciplines, and law enforcement agencies all over the world are currently using them to solve crimes.

Anderson’s lab exclusively examines the ways insect biology can be applied to criminal investigations. She was the first full-time forensic entomologist in Canada, and is one of just 15 certified by the American Board of Forensic Entomology. Her research has helped to identify victims and suspects; to determine how victims died; and to solve arson and poaching cases.

Recently, Anderson’s research was used to help convict Robert Pickton for the murder of dozens of Vancouver women. She has also advised on the mysterious human feet that have washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest in recent years.

One discovery at a time, Anderson and her team are helping debunk the common misconception that pure research has no practical application. They know that engaging research means mobilizing discoveries and enriching communities at the same time.