Shane Tobe  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr. Shane Tobe
    B.Sc. Honours, M.Sc., Ph.D.

    Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science

    About me

    I completed my Honours B.Sc. in Canada at Laurentian University focusing on Biology and Forensic Science. My thesis work investigated the difference in fresh and frozen decomposition rates in the domestic pig. I was subsequently accepted to the Forensic Science M.Sc. at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, a program accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. The focus of my thesis work was on presumptive tests for blood and their effect on DNA . My PhD research focused on the development of a forensic test to separate mixtures and identify different common mammalian species using the cytochrome b gene , also at Strathclyde.

    Following my Ph.D., I remained at Strathclyde and was appointed as a Leverhulme Research Fellow for three years continuing my work on species identification focusing on endangered species such as tigers, bears and leopards. I also had a short three month postdoctoral position looking at the recovery of human DNA from poached deer remains that generated worldwide interest. During my Postdoctoral positions I provided regular lectures at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

    I took on a Teaching Associate role for one year, again at Strathclyde University. This involved teaching to the forensic biology undergraduate program and the forensic science M.Sc. program. I also audited the two programs to more efficiently and effectively apply teaching. During my time at Strathclyde, I supervised honours and M.Sc. research projects and was involved in Ph.D. research supervision.

    I was awarded a highly competitive Vice Chancellor’s Post-doctoral Fellowship at Flinders University which I commenced in 2012. The focus of my research was the development of more sensitive tests for forensic science. The position involved a 25% teaching component and I provided lectures to the forensic biology program. I published a textbook during this time on Wildlife DNA Analysis. I was also an invited speaker for TEDxFlindersUni. Within this position I supervised Ph.D. and honours student research.

    Following my Fellowship, I moved to the USA to take up an Assistant Professor position at Arcadia University in their FEPAC accredited MSFS program. While at Arcadia, I taught courses including Forensic Pattern Analysis, Human Molecular Biology (Forensic Genetics), Forensic Science Symposium, Research Methods and Forensic Microscopy. I supervised Masters (MSFS) research projects as well as capstone research at the undergraduate level.

    I started as a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science here at Murdoch University in January 2019. I am the Academic Chair of the Forensic Biology and Toxicology degree and am also a Research Integrity Advisor.

    Teaching area

    I am the Academic Chair of the Forensic Biology and Toxicology Degree.

    I currently coordinate BIO359 Forensic DNA Analysis (handbook link) and co-coordinate CHE103 Introduction to Forensic Science (handbook link).

    I regularly provide guest lecture in other units including BIO599 Human DNA Profiling and BIO379 Evolutionary Analysis.

    I also regularly work with the outreach team to deliver forensic content to pre-university student groups.

    Current projects

    I am currently working on a range of projects including metagenomics, bioinformatics, population genetics and structure, development of testing as well as forensic casework and consultation.

    Awards and grants

    I have been awarded, as sole applicant or part of a research team, over $1.3 Million in competitive research funding. I have also been awarded over $100K in internal funding, studentships and bursaries, as well as contract and consultation work.

    Competitive Funding

    2020     Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation: Myrtle Rust in Western Australia: surveillance plan and testing preparedness ($30K)

    Dr. Mariana Campos and Dr. Shanan Tobe

    2019     ARC Discovery (DP190102219): Ochre archaeomicrobiology: a new tool for understanding Aboriginal exchange ($478.5K)

    A/Prof Rachel Popelka-Filcoff ; Prof Claire Lenehan ; Prof Claire Smith ; A/Prof Amy Roberts ; Prof Robert Edwards ; Dr. Shanan Tobe

    2016     ARC LEIF (LE160100154): The Advanced DNA Identification and Forensics Facility ($250K)

    Prof Andrew Lowe ; Prof Adrian Linacre ; Dr Eleanor Dormontt ; A/Prof Jeremy Austin ; Prof Michelle Waycott ; Prof Andrew Austin ; Dr. Shanan Tobe ; Dr Rebecca Johnson ; Prof Stephen Donnellan ; Dr John Stephen ; Dr Linzi Wilson-Wilde

    2014     Premier’s Research and Industry Fund’s Catalyst Research Grant (CRG-64): Assessment of the use of microbial DNA profiling for forensic identification and comparison to current profiling techniques ($69.5K)

    Dr. Shanan S. Tobe

    2012     Vice Chancellor’s Post-doctoral Fellowship (Flinders University): Towards an ultra-sensitive DNA test for use in forensic science ($510K)

    Dr. Shanan S. Tobe

    2007     Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: Quantification of Mitochondrial DNA (£1.35K GBP)

    Dr. Shanan S. Tobe


    Internal Funding, Studentships and Bursaries

    2019     Small Research Grant – Biochemistry and geochemistry of diagenesis and diatoms in bones submerged in fresh and saltwater ($12K) – Murdoch University, Lead applicant with six other applicants

    2018     Information Technology Committee – Funding Mass Storage Device ($2.5K USD) – Arcadia University, Co-applicant with Dr. Naomi Phillips

    2017     Information Technology Committee - Funding for Qubit ($2.6K USD) – Arcadia University, Co-applicant with Dr. Naomi Phillips

    2015     Research Funding - Acquisition of a RotorGene Q HRMC ($39.5K) – Flinders University, Lead applicant with seven other applicants

    2014     Assessing the use of VMD for DNA shearing for NGS applications ($5K) – Flinders University, Co-applicant with Dr. Vanessa Thompson

    2014     Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society – Meeting Registration Bursary ($1.15K)

    2004     University of Strathclyde Ph.D. Studentship (£64.65K GBP)

    1999 – 2002 Student Support Bursaries ($2.6K CAD total) – Laurentian University


    Contracts and Consultation

    2014     Australian Deer Association: Development of a forensic profiling system for the Tasmanian Fallow deer ($8K)

           Dr. Shanan S. Tobe

    2011     The British Association of Shooting & Conservation, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The British Deer Society: Further development of improved recovery of human DNA from poached deer (£3K GBP)

           Dr. Shanan S. Tobe

    2010     PAW Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Deer Commission for Scotland, The British Association of Shooting & Conservation, The British Deer Society: Recovery of human DNA from poached deer (£17.5K GBP)

           Dr. Lindsey Welch and Dr. Shanan S. Tobe

    Doctoral and masters supervisions

    Current Supervision:

    Ph.D.     Biochemistry and geochemistry of diagenesis and diffusion of diatoms in bones submerged in fresh and salt water.

    Honours DeNovo Assembly of Ixodes holocyclus, for microsatellite and phylogentic analysis.

    Completed Supervision:

    I have supervised, co-supervised or provided significant input for the following completed projects:

    2020                  Development of Good Practice Frameworks in Forensic Science Research (M.Sc)
    2018 – 2019       Analysis of sexual assault evidence for the presence of spermatozoa (M.Sc.)
    2018 – 2019       Direct quantification of forensic samples suitable for CODIS (M.Sc.)
    2018 – 2019       Backgound DNA on public transport vehicles and effect on investigations (M.Sc.)
    2018 – 2019       Recovery and persistence of human DNA on poached animal remains (M.Sc.)
    2018 – 2019       Metagenomic, chemical and visual analysis of soils in forensic contexts (M.Sc.)
    2018 – 2019       Developing a method to apply statistical matches to bullet comparisons (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2018       Evaluation and preservation of urine specimens in forensic toxicology (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2018       Assessing sensitivity of presumptive blood tests on different substrates (B.Sc. Capstone)
    2017 – 2018       Developing a DNA test for cooked meat (B.Sc. Capstone)
    2017 – 2018       Direct quantification of sexual assault samples (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2018       DNA from post-treated fingerprints on forged checks (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2018       DNA from post-treated fingerprints on garbage bags (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2018       DNA from drug paraphernalia (M.Sc.)
    2017 – 2019       Assessment of ADD in buried remains at different pH (M.Sc.)
    2016 – 2017       Ancestry and provenance of shrunken heads (M.Sc.)
    2016 – 2017        Elephant identification and DNA quantification (M.Sc.)
    2016                   Recovery of source DNA from maggots (M.Sc.)
    2016                   Phylogenetic profiling of timber rattlesnakes (B.Sc. Intern)
    2015                   Bear identification from traditional medicines (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2013 – 2016       Visualisation of latent DNA (Ph.D.)
    2014                   Deer Poaching (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2014                   Pangolin phylogenetics (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2014                   Assessment of PCR inhibitors from herbivore scat (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2011 – 2012       An assessment of secondary DNA transfer (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2011 – 2012       An assessment of tertiary DNA transfer (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2011 – 2012       An overview into the investigation of wildlife crime (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2011                   Recovery of human DNA from poached animal samples (M.Sc.)
    2010 – 2011       Investigation of the thermal degradation products of bone (M.Phil.)
    2010 – 2011       The use of entomology in forensic science (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2010                   Mammalian multiplex test (M.Sc.)
    2009 – 2010       Identification of endangered snake species (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2009 – 2011       Direct PCR for low level DNA analysis (Ph.D.)
    2008 – 2012       Tiger subspecies identification using the mitochondrial genome (Ph.D.)
    2008 – 2009       Potential separation of penguin subspecies (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2008 – 2009       Differentiation of rhinoceros species (B.Sc. Hons.)
    2007 – 2012       Species identification of avian species (Ph.D.)
    2007 – 2008       Developing a test to identify musk deer (M.Sc.)
    2007                   Species identification (Ph.D.)
    2006                   Developing a test to identify Asiatic black bear (Nuffield Scholarship Student)
    2006                   Towards developing a finch STR test (Summer Student)
    2005                   Developing bird specific primers (Carnegie Scholarship Student)
    2004 – 2005       Forensic identification of bird species (B.Sc. Hons.)



    • Dormontt, E., Jardine, D., vanDijk, K., Dunker, B., Dixon, R., HipKins, V., Tobe, S., Linacre, A., Lowe, A., (2020), Forensic validation of a SNP and INDEL panel for individualisation of timber from bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum Pursch), Forensic Science International: Genetics, 46, May, pages 102252 -.
    • Potoczniak, M., Chermak, M., Quarino, L., Tobe, S., Conte, J., (2020), Development of a multiplex, PCR-based genotyping assay for African and Asian elephants for forensic purposes, International Journal of Legal Medicine, 134, 1, pages 55 - 62.
    • Atkinson, K., Kitchener, A., Tobe, S., O'Donoghue, P., (2018), An assessment of the genetic diversity of the founders of the European captive population of Asian lion (Panthera leo leo), using microsatellite markers and studbook analysis, Mammalian Biology, 88, , pages 138 to 143.

    A full list of my publications can be found on my Google Scholar, or ResearchGate pages. A selection can be found below:

    1. Linacre A, Tobe S. Wildlife DNA analysis: applications in forensic science. John Wiley & Sons; 2013 Mar 27.
    2. Smith RJ, Paterson JS, Wallis I, Launer E, Banks EW, Bresciani E, Cranswick RH, Tobe SS, Marri S, Goonan P, Mitchell JG. Southern South Australian groundwater microbe diversity. FEMS microbiology ecology. 2018 Aug 10;94(10):fiy158.
    3. Dann LM, McKerral JC, Smith RJ, Tobe SS, Paterson JS, Seymour JR, Oliver RL, Mitchell JG. Microbial micropatches within microbial hotspots. PloS one. 2018 May 22;13(5):e0197224.
    4. Conte J, Potoczniak MJ, Tobe SS. Using synthetic oligonucleotides as standards in probe-based qPCR. BioTechniques. 2018 Apr;64(4):177-9.
    5. Goodwin C, Higgins D, Tobe SS, Austin J, Wotherspoon A, Gahan ME, McNevin D. Singleplex quantitative real-time PCR for the assessment of human mitochondrial DNA quantity and quality. Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology. 2018 Mar 1;14(1):70-5.
    6. Atkinson KE, Kitchener AC, Tobe SS, O’Donoghue P. An assessment of the genetic diversity of the founders of the European captive population of Asian lion (Panthera leo leo), using microsatellite markers and studbook analysis. Mammalian Biology. 2018 Jan 1;88:138-43.
    7. Lenehan CE, Tobe SS, Smith RJ, Popelka-Filcoff RS. Microbial composition analyses by 16S rRNA sequencing: A proof of concept approach to provenance determination of archaeological ochre. PloS one. 2017 Oct 18;12(10):e0185252.
    8. Ben‐Yosef M, Zaada DS, Dudaniec RY, Pasternak Z, Jurkevitch E, Smith RJ, Causton CE, Lincango MP, Tobe SS, Mitchell JG, Kleindorfer S. Host‐specific associations affect the microbiome of Philornis downsi, an introduced parasite to the Galápagos Islands. Molecular Ecology. 2017 Sep;26(18):4644-56.
    9. Kitchener, Andrew C, Breitenmoser-Würsten, C, Eizirik, E, Gentry, A, Werdelin, Lars, Wilting, Andreas, Yamaguchi, N, Abramov, Alexei V, Christiansen, P, Driscoll, C A, Duckworth, J W, Johnson, W E, Luo, S J, Meijaard, Erik, O’Donoghue, P, Sanderson, J, Seymour, K, Bruford, M W, Groves, Colin, Hoffmann, M, Nowell, K, Timmons, Zena and Tobe, Shanan S (2017) A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group. Cat News Special Issue (11). ISSN 1027-2992