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Meghna Swayambhu

MSc Forensic Science
PhD candidate

PhD Program in Microbiology and Immunology

The intermingling of Science and Law attracted me to the field of Forensic Science. I am passionate about advancing the existing scientific techniques in forensics with novel approaches in order to aid criminal investigations. Currently, I am working on an exciting integration of microbiome analysis and metabolome analysis for identification of various body fluids encountered at a crime scene. 

Additionally, I love to go on hikes and nature walks, explore new cities and get to know local residents. I am an avid animal enthusiast and love to volunteer at various shelters that provide care for stray and injured animals.

Peter Resutik

MSc Biomedical Engineering
PhD candidate

PhD Program in Evolutionary Biology

After my Master’s thesis, concerning DNA sequencing with nanopore proteins I had a short glimpse at the industry. However, I found quickly my way back to academia, where I’m very excited to join the Group of Natasha Arora at the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine. For my PhD, I will be investigating suitability of machine and deep learning approaches in forensic and population genetics, particularly for the prediction of biogeographic ancestry from forensic DNA evidence. Furthermore, I will be evaluating the genomic consequences of range expansion on Alpine populations in Switzerland.

In my free time I like to do all kinds of sports. However, at the top of my ranking, as a former biathlete, is cross-country skiing. In summer, I compensate for the lack of snow by biking, running, or swimming in the lake.

Akos Dobay, Dr.

PhD Biophysics

Senior Scientist

When Natasha asked me in 2016 to work with her on human body fluid microbiomes, I said yes. I met Natasha in 2012 when we were both working in the group of Homayoun Bagheri at the University of Zurich. At that time, I was asked to develop a mathematical model to study the spread of syphilis in the city of Zurich shortly after it appeared in Europe for the first time around 1494 or 1495 and started to diffuse across the continent from the north of Italy in Naples. The human body fluid microbiomes’ project needs to be compliant with the Swiss judicial process to be forensically relevant. I help developing a standard operating procedure forthat matter.

Natasha Arora

PhD Anthropological Genetics

Group Leader Forensic Genetics

One of the driving questions of my life has been why humans are the way we are. This question has taken me on a very exciting journey, exploring aspects of primate genetics, pathogen genomics and human body fluid microbiomes. At present my main focus is on how to bring the advances in these different fields into forensic applications. I also continue to work on a pathogen I am most fascinated and intrigued by, my first pathogenic love, Treponema. In addition, I meditate daily and enjoy yoga, both of which keep me full of energy with a schedule that also includes a 2-year-old active toddler.

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