I obtained my First Class BSc degree in Chemistry and Forensic Science from Keele in 2008, following this I was appointed for three years as a research assistant at Keele University’s Chemical Ecology group. During this time, I worked on a research project as part of a grant focusing on the cuticular hydrocarbons of the ant species Formica exsecta.

In 2011 I was appointed as a full-time forensic science teaching fellow. In 2013 I started my PhD in Analytical Chemistry, working towards the completion of my thesis titled ‘An investigation into the biosynthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons in British ants using isotopically labelled diets and gas chromatography - mass spectrometry.’ I was recently promoted to a lecturer in Forensic Science, with a research interest in photography and imaging techniques.

Research and scholarship

My research interests are focused on two areas. Within the field of analytical chemistry, I have been an active researcher in the chemical ecology field, specifically in the analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons, and I have assisted research efforts within a variety of projects. My PhD further explored this area, focusing on feeding experiments which utilised isotopically labelled substrates to track whether certain compounds are used in the biosynthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons.

In the field of forensic science my research interests are in the use of chemiluminescent reagents and imaging techniques to identify areas of latent blood staining on clothing and other substrates, such as outdoor environments.


  • CHE-00033/10040/20019: Crime, Science and Investigation (elective module) - Module Leader
  • CHE-10039: Forensic Science Principles
  • CHE-20011: Spectroscopy and Advanced Analysis
  • CHE-20010: Criminalistic Methods
  • CHE-20077: Counterfeits, Forgeries and Fakes
  • CHE-30011: Team Research Project
  • CHE-30028: Interpretation, Presentation and Evaluation of Evidence
  • CHE-30029: Forensic Dissertation (Supervisor)
  • Kather R, Drijfhout FP, Shemilt S, Martin SJ (2015) “Evidence for Passive Chemical Camouflage in the Parasitic Mite Varroa destructor.” Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(2), 178-86.
  • Martin SJ, Vitikainen E, Shemilt S, Drijfhout FP, Sundström L. (2013) “Sources of variation in cuticular hydrocarbons in the ant Formica exsecta” Journal of Chemical Ecology, 39(11-12), 1415-23. 
  • Martin SJ, Shemilt S, Trontti K. (2013) “Nest-mate recognition cues are not used during or influenced by mating in the ant Formica Exsecta.” Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, 26(1), 40-48.
  • Martin SJ, Trontti K, Shemilt S, Drijfhout FP, Butlin, R, Jackson, D. (2012) “Weak patriline effects are present in the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of isolated Formica exsecta ants but they disappear in the colony environment.” Ecology and Evolution, 2(9), 2333-46.
  • Martin SJ, Shemilt S, Drijfhout FP (2012) “Effect of time on colony odour stability in the ant Formica exsecta.” Naturwissenschaften 99(4), 327-31.
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