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UOIT EXPERT CENTRE

Biography

Forensic entomology is not for the faint at heart. Hélène LeBlanc, PhD, is routinely sought for her unique expertise to help solve crimes, and improve food safety from farm to table. Fascinated by the knowledge gained from working with highly specialized equipment to analyze insects and arthropods, she is dedicated to exploring their role in advancing forensic science. World-renowned for her extensive research in establishing accreditation standards, Dr. LeBlanc’s co-authored paper Best Practice in Forensic Entomology – Standards and Guidelines, published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine, validated work in her field. She joined the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science in July 2009. By July 2012, she was named Undergraduate Program director of the Forensic Science program, and appointed associate professor in Forensic Science in July 2014. Her research examines the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during decomposition and analyzes the active compounds that attract insects to the body to determine a more accurate post-mortem interval to better solve crimes and provide closure for families. She is also using these techniques to develop integrated pest management strategies to ensure food safety from local farms. Dairy cows are persistently bitten by flies, which puts them under stress and significantly reduces their yield. By isolating attractants, she aims to create a safe repellant that can be released near cattle to reduce environmental and economic costs associated with the use of pesticides on farms. A zealous interest in science, including insects, at a very early age, led her to pathology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Mary’s University in Halifax in 1998. A fascinating FBI-taught course immersed her in forensic entomology and she received her Master of Science in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland in 2001 and her Doctorate in Forensic Entomology from the University of Derby in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and the Derbyshire Constabulary, England in 2008. Dr. LeBlanc is an adjunct professor in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate program at Trent University in Peterborough; and an instructor for the Ontario Police College. She also provides training in Forensic Entomology Crime Scene Protocols to the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and Durham Regional Police Service.

Expertise


UOIT Team Award

November 13, 2015

Together with her UOIT Forensic Science Team colleagues, Dr. Leblanc, received the 2015 UOIT Team Award for her contribution to advancing teaching and research in her field.

Adjunct Professor, Trent University

January 24, 2012

Appointed faculty in the Environmental and Life Sciences (ENLS) Graduate program.

Instructor, Ontario Police College (OPC)

January 1, 2012

Dr. LeBlanc teaches in the following courses at OPC, Death Investigation, Homicide Investigation, and Recovery of Human Remains. Additionally, her expertise is sought on multiple forensic investigations each year.

Forensic Entomology Consultant

January 1, 2010

Dr. LeBlanc is a consultant on casework, analyzing entomological evidence and providing a report of her findings to the court. She also provides ongoing training in Forensic Entomology Crime Scene Protocols to law enforcement agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS).

University of Derby

2008
PhD - Philosophy

Forensic Access

2005
Certificates - Forensics

University of Cologne

2002
Certificate - Forensic Entomology

University of Strathclyde

2001
MSc - Forensic Science

Mercyhurst College

1997
Certificate - Forensic Anthropology

Saint Mary's University

1998
BSc (Honours) - Biology
  • Olfactory Perception of Insects in Pest Management and Forensic Entomology

    $  | April 1, 2015

    Awarded by: NSERC Discovery Grant
    4/1/2010-4/1/2015. This research explores volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in two major projects. The first looks at VOCs released during decomposition and analyzes the active compounds that attract insects to the body, to determine a more accurate post-mortem interval. The second project uses these techniques to develop an integrated pest management strategy to ensure food safety from local dairy farms. Dr. LeBlanc uses collected VOCs from local dairy cows to conduct tests on biting flies, subsequently isolating attractants to develop a method for reducing the fly population around cows so fewer pesticides are used.

  • Development and Validation of Standard Operating Procedures for Measuring Microbial Populations for Estimating a Postmortem Interval

    $  | August 1, 2010

    Awarded by: National Institute of Justice
    CI. LeBlanc, H. In partnership with Texas A&M University, University of Dayton Ohio, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this research comprised three trials studying a decomposition comparison of humans and pigs using VOCs to determine a more accurate post-mortem interval. The research was conducted at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS). Dr. LeBlanc continues to analyze the findings in her lab and publish results to enhance crime scene investigations.

  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences

  • Canadian Society of Forensic Science

  • Entomological Society of America

  • North American Forensic Entomology Association

  • Canadian Identification Society

  • European Association of Forensic Entomology

Involvement


  • Media appearances

    UOIT Forensic Science program one of two accredited programs in Canada
    The Chronicle online

    October 20, 2014

    UOIT’s Forensic Science program re-launched its crime scene house at the same time they were accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). UOIT is the second school to be accredited in Canada along with Laurentian University. The accreditation is considered “prestigious,” and comes from the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based commission, according to a press release.

    UOIT Faculty of Science stages Forensic Science Research Day
    UOIT online

    May 6, 2013

    Opportunities for hands-on research and practical experiences form a key component of the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). This approach to student learning helps ensure UOIT students are job-ready upon graduation and prepared to lead and excel in the workplace thanks to their highly developed problem-solving and leadership skills.

  • Past speaking engagements
    • The Role of Volatile Organic Compounds and Their Role in Forensic Entomology

      Toronto, Ontario
      October 17, 2013

      University of Toronto

    • The Analysis of Volatiles Released from Decomposing Carcasses and Their Effect on Blowflies

      Ecole National de Police du Quebec, Nicolet, Quebec
      September 12, 2013

      International Conference on Criminalistics

    • Workshop: Field Methods in Forensic Entomology

      International Conference on Criminalistics
      September 10, 2013

      Ecole National de Police du Quebec, Nicolet, Quebec

    • New Decomposition Stages to Describe Carcass Decomposing in the Partial or Complete Absence of Insects

      Dayton, Ohio
      July 16, 2013

      Annual Meeting of the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA)

    • Olfactory Stimuli Associated with Decomposing Vertebrates and Their Role in the Attraction of Blowflies

      Knoxville, Tennessee
      November 13, 2012

      Entomological Society of America 60th Annual Meeting

    • Analysis of Decomposition Fluid Collected From Carcasses Decomposing in the Presence and Absence of Insects

      The Hague, Netherlands
      August 23, 2012

      European Association of Forensic Sciences

    • Study of Insect Colonisation Delay in a Closed Vehicle Environment

      College Station, Texas
      July 21, 2011

      NAFEA

    • Decomposition Study and Arthropod Succession in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

      College Station, Texas
      July 21, 2011

      NAFEA

    • Decomposition in a Closed Vehicle Environment in Southern Ontario

      Chicago, Illinois
      February 25, 2011

      American Academy of Forensic Sciences

  • Links

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