Associate Professor Jodie Ward is a forensic DNA identification specialist and the Program Leader for the Australian Federal Police’s National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons. She’s also Director of the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) and an Associate Professor in the Centre for Forensic Science at University of Technology Sydney. Previously, she has held operational forensic roles with the NSW Forensic and Analytical Science Service, NSW Police Force and the Australian Federal Police, as well as academic roles with the National Centre for Forensic Studies.
Jodie is considered an international expert, thought leader and media spokesperson for the DNA-based identification of missing persons, and is passionate about using DNA technology to provide families with answers. She also provides mitochondrial DNA evidence as an expert witness in criminal and coronial court cases throughout Australia.
‘I’m a scientist, so I like to apply science. This is an example of where we could be applying scientific techniques to a social justice issue.’
One of Jodie’s career highlights was being awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in 2015 to investigate world-leading DNA identification techniques for missing persons and disaster victims. Following her Fellowship, Jodie devised, published and promoted a number of international best-practice recommendations for the DNA-led identification of human remains. These form the foundation for the newly established national DNA program to resolve Australia’s unidentified and missing person cold cases.
Jodie was also recognised as one of Science and Technology Australia’s 2017 Superstars of STEM and in 2018 she was named in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence for pioneering a specialist DNA laboratory in NSW. This laboratory is being used nationally by police, forensic and defence agencies to identify challenging skeletal samples from modern and historical contexts. Jodie’s dedication to increasing awareness, generating support and driving change for missing persons saw her join the Board of Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) in 2018.
Hosted by Loren O’Keeffe
Assoc. Prof. Jodie Ward
‘Wildflowers’ by Jess Ribeiro
Audio production and music composition by Mike Migas
Graphic design by Maricarmen Rubí Baeza
Video and web design by Paulina Szymanska
Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN)