Interview with Cherry Pun

Cherry Pun
H.BSc. Forensic Biology Specialist, 2012                 

"Determining Optimal Wavelengths to Detect Trace Evidence"

Singapore Police Force

Cherry Pun

Cherry Pun completed her undergraduate research with Supt. Jason Loke Choy Seng and Station Inspector Stephen Tay Chee Meng of the
Forensic Management Branch, Criminal Investigations Department, Singapore Police Force. Cherry spent two months investigating the optimal wavelengths of forensic light sources in detecting trace evidence at crime scenes. Cherry has worked at the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service as a technologist and will be attending medical school at the University of Queensland, Australia to pursue a career in forensic pathology.

  • Our project involved refining wavelength ranges that accounted for the variation of different surfaces or substrates found at crime scenes. We placed various types of trace evidence (ie. blood, saliva, fingerprints, hair, etc.) onto a variety of substrates (ie. floor tiles, carpet, glass, and coloured bed sheets). Then we used three different forensic light sources to examine the substrates for trace evidence and recorded the wavelength where optimal contrast was observed. This list of optimal wavelengths is currently used as a guide by the Singapore Police Force during crime scene examinations with forensic light sources.
  • This international experience was tremendously beneficial to me. Not only did I expand my knowledge in forensic identification and the physical science involved in forensic light sources, I also further developed communication skills. Although English is spoken in Singapore, their dialect is a little different than the average Canadian English. It was indeed challenging to overcome this minor language barrier, but it was also rewarding to successfully adapt to a different culture.
  • It was an eye-opening experience to see the differences in their forensic practice compared to what I had learned in Ontario. These skills will certainly help me in adjusting to the medical training, and perhaps forensic pathology training in Australia. I believe that the more open-minded we are with regards to professional practice, the more improvements can be made in our own practice - that is why I think international experience is crucial in becoming innovative in our career.
  • I would definitely recommend going abroad for studies or internships. My experience in Singapore has led me to knowledge, experience, friends and meaningful contacts that have me find my path for the future. Change may seem frightening at times, if you are comfortable with where you are, but being outside of your comfort zone can really open your eyes to things that you may never come across otherwise.