Research / Projects
Virtopsy.GR: Applying imaging methods on death investigation
The purpose of Forensic Science is to record, analyze and interpret scientific medical findings on sudden and violent deaths and to present them clearly to the Court. However, the description of the findings is subjective and dependent on the observer. Imaging techniques have been shown to have remarkable development in recent years, with proven valuable applications in forensic investigation of death ranging from methods of diagnosis, identification to the reconstruction of death conditions. In the context of the general acceptance of imaging techniques in forensic practice, the present study proposes studying forensic cases by using computed tomography and comparing the findings with the results of classical autopsy.
The results of the study are expected to highlight the kinds of deaths that can be investigated with certainty by imaging techniques, in order to have an alternative or supplementary technique in sudden or violent death investigation. This comparative study is being carried out for the first time in Greece and is expected to be a springboard for the development of Forensic Radiology throughout Greece. In addition, the use of state-of-the-art computed tomography (128 scans) is a worldwide innovation by the University of Crete and the Medical Imaging Laboratory and may contribute positively to forensic practice and research.
Principal Investigator: Elena Kranioti, Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine
Cretan Brain Bank (CBB)
Research in human brain diseases and especially in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is usually carried out on cell cultures and animal models. However, despite their significant contribution to our understanding of AD, these are not sufficient to fully elucidate its pathophysiology. The study of postmortem brain tissue from patients suffering from AD is crucial for understanding disease mechanisms. In this study, we describe the establishment of a brain bank (Cretan Brain Bank; CBB) focused on AD in Crete, Greece. CBB builds on an ongoing collaboration between the University of Crete, Medical School, and the AD Association of Heraklion (“Alilegii”). Our aim is to advance research on human neurodegeneration using the CBB as a tool. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University Hospital of Heraklion and all subjects and their legal representatives give informed consent.
The brain is obtained, and one hemisphere is stored in formalin and the other sliced and stored at -80oC. Formalin fixed-paraffin embedded brain tissue sections are used for immunohistochemical (IHC) staining for Aβ amyloid and pTau protein. Moreover, frozen hemispheres are utilized for wet biology, including Western-Blots and enzymatic studies. To date, seven of fourteen brains have been histopathologically characterized as AD using IHC for Aβ amyloid and pTau protein on sections from the hippocampal area. Also, immunohistochemical stains from different specific brain regions were used for the evaluation of the disease stage. These neuropathologically characterized brains will provide a solid basis for further research on neurodegenerative diseases.
Principal Investigator: John Zaganas, Assistant Professor of Neyrology
Stable Isotopes and Forensic Applications: Origin of Missing Immigrants
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