Associate Professor Jodie Ward

Jodie Ward is an internationally renowned Forensic DNA Specialist passionate about using a multidisciplinary forensic approach to identify unknown deceased and missing persons, and provide their families with answers.

She is the Program Lead of the National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons at the Australian Federal Police (AFP). In addition, she is 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. This unique Joint Appointment validates and supports her valuable contribution to the research, development and application of forensic human identification techniques for missing persons investigations in Australia.

Jodie obtained her PhD in forensic molecular biology from The Australian National University, and has postgraduate qualifications in management and higher education. She is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences, Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society and International Society of Forensic Genetics. Previously, she has held operational forensic roles with the NSW Forensic and Analytical Science Service, NSW Police Force and AFP, and academic roles with the National Centre for Forensic Studies. As a Missed Board Member, Jodie is dedicated to improving legislation, policies, procedures, education and support relating to the provision, searching and matching of forensic information obtained from families of long-term missing persons.

In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to investigate world-leading DNA identification techniques for missing persons and disaster victims. Following this, she devised, published and promoted international best-practice recommendations for establishing a national forensic identification program, which laid the foundation for the National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons. Her commitment to resolving unidentified and missing persons cases and pioneering new forensic identification capabilities in Australia has seen her recognised as a Superstar of STEM (Science and Technology Australia, 2017), 100 Women of Influence (Australian Financial Review, 2018), and an Emerging Leader in the Public and University Sector (Women’s Agenda, 2021).