Chiara Villa

Chiara Villa

Associate Professor - Promotion Programme

I am associate professor and daily manager of the Laboratory of Advanced Imaging and 3D modelling. I am a forensic anthropologist specialized in medical imaging and 3D technologies applied in forensic, and archeological context. I use my knowledge of these techniques to better understand how bone changes with age, disease and trauma crossing scales and merging evidence from the microscopic histological scale to 3D whole-body. I am involved in studies of skeletons, mummies, fossils as well as I provide consulting in forensic medicine cases.

Current research

How did it happen? Virtual, victim-specific crime scene reconstruction of crime and accidents.

The aim of the project is to improve the documentation and description of the sequence of events, which occurred during an accident or crime, with particular attention to the injuries of victims (both dead and living individuals). Combining advanced digital photography and imaging with forensic knowledge about human movements, wounds and lesions, it will be possible to carry out virtual, targeted and precise virtual 3D crime reconstructions.

A virtual crime scene reconstruction will be generated by combining accurate 3D rebuilding of the scene with animated, victim-specific 3D models of the victims. A 3D model of the crime scene can be created using scanning and photogrammetry techniques. This model is precise and accurate, and technical evidences can be placed or built-in. Using CT-scanning, laser scanning, and photogrammetry, a 3D model of the victim, accurately reflecting the external and internal wounds, as well as the individual physiognomy and anatomy, can be created. Based on our knowledge of physical movements, this model can be moved and placed in various positions, e.g. standing, sitting, etc. Similarly, 3D model of a perpetrator can be created. Various scenarios will be tested and probable event sequences will be created based on the objective information of the case, such as documentation of lesions (both external and internal injuries), evidence (e.g. weapons) and testimony.

These new methodologies can help the police in testing hypothesis and may be used for easily communicating the finding in courts of law. Furthermore, the project will generate permanent data sets (digital archive) that can be reviewed at any time if new evidences come to light, or if later questions arise. Thus forensic medical doctors and the police authorities would have digitally archived 3D material, which would allow reassessment of the injuries (e.g., measures and positioning), of probable postures and of the crime scene lay-out.

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