Professor John Cassella

Professor (Tef)

School of Law, Policing and Forensics

I graduated with a degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences and Chemistry from Leicester in 1988 and a Doctorate in Orthopeadic Pathology from the University College London [Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital].

I have published widely in medical and related biomedical sciences and in forensics. Working in many of London’s major teaching hospitals in medical research and teaching medical students a lecturer in Biomedical Sciences and subsequently a Reader in Biomedical Sciences and ‘Programme Leader’ for the Forensic Science degree at the University of Derby.

I joined Staffordshire University in 2005 teaching elements of forensic pathology, techniques of human identification and body recovery from disaster situations. Conferred a Professorial Chair in Forensic Science Education in 2008 with over 70 journal publications and books, I sit on a number of groups that work at a national level to promote the development and improvement of the delivery of forensic education and improve the links between academia, the forensic industry and UK Police Services. I sit on a former Home Office Group (now part of DSTL) for Search Techniques development and is a work stream lead for ‘rapid services and custody suites’ for the Staffordshire Police-Staffordshire University partnership. 

I am an Associate of Kenyon.s International Emergency Services and was deployed to Grenfell Tower in 2017.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Fellow – Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • Member of DSTL ‘Search techniques Academic Research Team ‘

Academic qualifications

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Medical Laboratory Sciences and Analytical Chemistry.

  • De Montfort University, Leicester. (1988)

  • Ph.D. University of London. “Osteogenesis Imperfecta: Ultrastructural and Microanalytical
    Changes in Bone.” (1993)

  • P.G.C.E. Warwick University. (1998)


  • Pathology
  • Anatomy
  • Biomedical science
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Taphonomy

Research interests

  • Forensic taphonomy of decomposition fluids using analytical techniques (e.g. LC-MS, GC-MS, NMR, HPLC)

  • Use of “Alternate Light Sources” – ALS in forensic science for the location of body fluids

  • Use of photogrammetry for crime scene recording

Enterprise and commercial interests

Working with a number of UK and European partners on projects across the disciplines of forensic science



  • Science for Justice - Level 4
  • Bodies of Evidence – Level 5
  • Techniques in the Identification of Human Remains Level 6
  • Independent Research project – Level 6
  • MSc Independent Research project 7
  • Introduction to Forensic Practice (for forensic Nurses and Paramedics) – Level 7
  • Erasmus European student projects


Cassella JP, Williams A, Pringle JP. (2020) Ethical Approaches to Human Remains
A Global Challenge in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology
Editors: Squires, Kirsty, Errickson, David, Márquez-Grant, Nicholas
(Eds.) eBook ISBN 978-3-030-32926-6, DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-32926-6
Springer International Publishing

Donnelly, L.J., Cassella, J., Pirrie, D., Dawson, L., Blom, G., Davidson, A., Arnold, P., Harrison, M. and Hope, C. Analysis of Soil Following the Search and Recovery of a Cold Case
Homicide Grave: Potential Implications for Police Led Open Area Ground Searches for Burials
In: Geological Society Special Publication on Forensic Soil Science and Geology (in Press)

Barnes AM, Ashok A, Makareeva EN, Brusel M, Cabral WA, Weis M, Moali C, Bettler E, Eyre DR, Cassella JP, Leikin S, Hulmes DJS, Kessler E, Marini JC. COL1A1 C-propeptide mutations cause ER mislocalization of procollagen and impair C-terminal procollagen processing. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2019;1865(9):2210-2223

Sheppard K, Cassella JP, Fieldhouse S, King R.
The adaptation of a 360° camera utilising an alternate light source
(ALS) for the detection of biological fluids at crime scenes
Sci Justice. 2017 Jul;57(4):239-249. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2017.04.004.
Epub 2017 Apr 12
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2017.04.004EID: 2-s2.0-85017457031

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