Professor Sue Black is the director of the award winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University. She is a leading forensic anthropologist in the UK covering a wide variety of subjects including the detailed gross, microscopic and biomolecular analysis of adult and juvenile remains to establish all aspects of biological and personal identity including the sex, age at death, and disease and trauma status of the individual.
Sue was born in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland but her formative, and happiest years, were growing up in the remote hamlet of Stromeferry on the west coast of Scotland. Not surprisingly, her first school job was in a butcher’s shop and her boss to this day claims that he was the inspiration for her future career. That accolade firmly lies with her secondary school biology teacher - Dr Archie Fraser at Inverness Royal Academy - who was the only person to encourage her to go to University.
She has a morbid fear of rodents and so when it came to doing a research project in her honours anatomy year, and the choice was between rats, hamsters and human bones – the rest as they say is history. Her academic career took off at St.Thomas’ Hospital in London in 1986 and she took a break from academia in 1992 to concentrate on forensic work (national and international) and writing.
Dundee University lured her back into the fold in 2003 and it is something that she openly admits has been a tremendously rewarding experience that she has not regretted for a single moment. She is married with three children and two grandchildren and lives in a fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. Asked what she will do when she eventually retires she says that she will head back to the West where her heart lies and write – but never forensic fiction, she says she leaves that to warped minds such as Val’s!
Sue has worked on some very high profile cases with police teams providing forensic expertise to the Metropolitan Police and her work and evidence led to securing the conviction against Scotland’s largest paedophile ring. She was awarded an OBE for her International Human Identification work from mass graves and co-authored Developmental Juvenile Osteology and The Juvenile Skeleton.
Sue’s other work and achievements include: