Dr Kirsty Wright is an internationally renowned DNA profiling expert, in demand with the Queensland Police Service, Australian Defence Force and even Interpol.
She is also a senior lecturer in Forensic Biology at Griffith University.
Following the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, Kirsty spent five months in Thailand as the DNA identification manager, working to give names back to more 5,000 victims.
But Kirsty’s academic journey hasn’t been straight forward. After finishing Year 12, she worked at a fast-food outlet for 4 years. It was then she decided she wanted something more.
Kirsty completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours at Griffith University, but it was a one hour lecture on forensics which set her on the path of her future.
“It just clicked and from then on forensics was my passion. I couldn’t get enough information. It just felt right.”
Kirsty also holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant with the Royal Australian Air Force and is part of a forensic fly-way team which is called in whenever there is a major incident involving our Defence personnel in any area of current conflict.
“We need to be absolutely certain the remains we are bringing home are those of an Australian soldier.”
Kirsty also brings her expertise to the Unrecovered War Casualties-Army Unit, , and there’s plenty of work to do there too. From WW1, WW2 and the Korea war, 36,000 Australian soldiers remain Missing In Action. The last Vietnam soldier was brought home two years ago. Attention is now focused on PNG and anywhere there may be fallen Australian soldiers.
And if all that isn’t enough, Kirsty is also very proud that Interpol asked her to help develop identification software which will be used for mass disasters and missing persons around the world.
“Interpol chose a Griffith graduate and Griffith employee,” Kirsty said.
And that pride in Griffith carries through to her teaching role. Not only does Kirsty lecture undergraduate students, but is also Program Convenor of the Master of Forensic Science degree which is currently offered only to serving members of the Queensland Police Service.
“I am glad I can do all that Interpol and Defence operational work and give back to Griffith because they gave me my head start.
“Griffith allows me to contribute on a global scale, but it also provides me with research opportunities and the chance to share my passion with students.”
Griffith offers a Bachelor of Forensic Science degree and a Double degree; Bachelor of Forensic Science and Criminology/Criminal Justice.