Research Lab: Hughes

Dr. Sheree Hughes is currently an Associate Professor of Forensic Science within the Department of Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville TX. In 2012, Dr. Hughes joined the Department of Forensic science at SHSU as an Assistant Professor of Forensic Science, and also served as the Director of Graduate Programs from 2015 until 2018. In the Fall 2018, she moved back to her native Australia for a Senior Lecturer position at the University of Queensland as the Head of the Forensic Biology Human Identification Laboratory. However, in the Fall of 2020 Dr. Hughes returned to SHSU to take up the position of Interim Director of the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science (STAFS) facility.

She received her undergraduate science degree in the fields of Human Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Queensland in Australia, and has over 15 years teaching experience in the fields of anatomy and human dissection, histology and forensic anthropology across various universities. She also assisted the police service with cases involving skeletal remains in her home state of Queensland.

In 2012, Sheree completed a PhD in Health Sciences (Forensic Genetics) at Bond University on the Gold Coast in Australia, investigating forensic DNA typing methods for highly degraded samples such as those recovered from mass disasters, shipwrecks and ancient remains in conjunction with DNA repair techniques and phenotypic SNP analysis.

Dr. Hughes-Stamm

Dr. Hughes-Stamm was appointed by the Governor of Texas to the Texas Forensic Science Commission in 2015, and served as the vice-chair from 2016-2018. She also serves as the AAFS Criminalistics liaison to DNA Consensus Body of AAFS Standards Board (ASB) Sheree is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS), and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Association of Forensic DNA Analysts and Administrators (AFDAA), and the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS).

Research Interests:

Dr. Sheree Hughes completed a PhD at Bond University on the Gold Coast in Australia, investigating forensic DNA typing methods for highly degraded samples such as those recovered from mass disasters, shipwrecks and ancient remains in conjunction with DNA repair techniques and phenotypic SNP analysis.

At SHSU she continues to merge her research interests of DNA typing and forensic anthropology by investigating degraded and challenging biological samples, and decomposing human remains for human identification and forensic intelligence purposes.

Dr. Hughes leads a research group consisting of graduate and postgraduate students where the main research centers around improving DNA collection, room temperature DNA preservation, sample preparation, and DNA typing methods for skeletal and highly decomposed tissues for missing persons and disaster victim identification (DVI) applications.

Other current research interests include exploring alternate DNA markers (INNULs, INDELs, SNPs) and various Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)/ Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) technologies for forensic and intelligence purposes. These markers may be used to identify persons, or determine ancestry or phenotypic traits such as hair, eye and skin color. In addition, she investigates sample enhancement strategies for low level and degraded samples prior to MPS.

Dr. Hughes also conducts research projects aimed to improve the collection, DNA extraction and genotyping methods from handled items (eg. “touch” samples and explosive devices), sexual assault samples, genetic genealogy, and assessing the utility and persistence of body fluid identification markers (miRNA) in environmentally challenging samples using capillary electrophoresis and MPS methods.