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Dr Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young
Senior Lab Coordinator
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

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Dr Jennifer Young

As a forensic scientist, my research focusses on the application of advanced DNA sequencing technology to answer questions related to crime.  

My PhD research pioneered the use of new metagenomic DNA sequencing approaches for soil forensic DNA profiling: discriminating between crime sites, linking a suspect to a location, locating hidden burials and estimating the post-mortem interval (PMI) for buried remains. Following this, I applied my knowledge of environmental metagenomics to answer questions related to biodiversity changes through time. Projects included: (1) examination of coral-macroalgae interactions in the Great Barrier Reef using sediment DNA up to 1,000 years old; (2) examination of low biomass microbial diversity preserved in Ancient Antarctic Ice cores and (3) reconstruction of past environments from ancient New Zealand paleosols up to 10,000 years old. 

My recent research focussed on hybridisation enrichment optimisation to aid in the repatriation of missing Australian WWII servicemen from highly degraded human remains recovered internationally by the Unrecovered War Casualties – Army (UWCA).


Date Position Institution name
2016 Senior Lab Coordinator University od Adelaide
2016 - 2016 Research Officer University of Adelaide
2015 - 2016 Research Assistant (Casual) Deakin University
2014 - 2015 Post Doctoral Researcher University of Adelaide


Date Institution name Country Title
2011 - 2014 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
2005 - 2010 University of Strathclyde Scotland Forensic and Analytical Chemistry (MSc)

Research Interests


Year Citation
2018 Dormontt, E., van Dijk, K., Bell, K., Biffin, E., Breed, M., Byrne, M., . . . Lowe, A. (2018). Advancing DNA barcoding and metabarcoding applications for plants requires systematic analysis of herbarium collections-an Australian perspective. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6(SEP), 1-12.
2017 Young, J., Austin, J., & Weyrich, L. (2017). Soil DNA metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing as a forensic tool: considerations, potential limitations and recommendations. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93(2), 207-1-207-8.
DOI Scopus4 WoS3 Europe PMC2
2016 Huang, Y., Lowe, D., Zhang, H., Cursons, R., Young, J., Churchman, G., . . . Cooper, A. (2016). A new method to extract and purify DNA from allophanic soils and paleosols, and potential for paleoenvironmental reconstruction and other applications. Geoderma, 274, 114-125.
DOI Scopus4 WoS4
2016 Young, J., Weyrich, L., & Cooper, A. (2016). High-throughput sequencing of trace quantities of soil provides reproducible and discriminative fungal DNA profiles. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 61(2), 478-484.
DOI Scopus5 WoS2
2015 Young, J., Weyrich, L., Breen, J., Macdonald, L., & Cooper, A. (2015). Predicting the origin of soil evidence: High throughput eukaryote sequencing and MIR spectroscopy applied to a crime scene scenario. Forensic Science International, 251, 22-31.
DOI Scopus12 WoS8 Europe PMC5
2015 Young, J., Weyrich, L., Clarke, L., & Cooper, A. (2015). Residual soil DNA extraction increases the discriminatory power between samples. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, 11(2), 268-272.
DOI Scopus4 WoS5 Europe PMC1
2014 Rawlence, N., Lowe, D., Wood, J., Young, J., Churchman, G., Huang, Y., & Cooper, A. (2014). Using palaeoenvironmental DNA to reconstruct past environments: progress and prospects. Journal of Quaternary Science, 29(7), 610-626.
DOI Scopus28 WoS29
2014 Young, J., Rawlence, N., Weyrich, L., & Cooper, A. (2014). Limitations and recommendations for successful DNA extraction from forensic soil samples: a review. Science and Justice, 54(3), 238-244.
DOI Scopus25 WoS20 Europe PMC7
2014 Young, J., Weyrich, L., & Cooper, A. (2014). Forensic soil DNA analysis using high-throughput sequencing: a comparison of four molecular markers. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 13, 176-184.
DOI Scopus26 WoS21 Europe PMC12

ANZFFS National Travel Award, 2016, $1,300

Sandy Congdon Memorial Scholarship, 2016, ANZFSS SA Branch, $1,000

Faculty of Sciences Early Career Researcher International Travel Scheme, 2015, $2,000

Environment Institute's Early Career Researcher International Conference Scheme Travel Award, 2015, $1,750

Dean’s Commendation for Thesis Excellence, PhD Thesis Conferred November 2014

ANZFFS National Student Travel Award, 2014,


Date Role Membership Country
2014 - ongoing Member International Society for Forensic Genetics
2011 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society Australia
Senior Lab Coordinator
North Terrace
The Braggs, floor 2
Room Number
2 28
Org Unit
School of Biological Sciences