Advisors

Megan Bassendale 

Megan is an expert in forensic human identification and emergency management with over 20 years experience working as an advisor and coordinator with international organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, the International Commission for Missing Persons and Strathclye Police.  Megan is a specialist in development of policy and projects aimed at clarifying the fate of missing persons and the exhumation, analysis and identification of human remains.  She has worked with different agencies as a first responder in situations of disasters and conflict and developed preparedness plans for management of human remains after mass fatality events and delivered training in this area. She has worked globally on projects throughout Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East recovering and identifying human remains from single to mass graves as well supporting and advising governments, institutions and organizations on the steps to take in order to fulfill obligations to clarify the fate of persons that have gone missing as a result of armed conflict. She has worked extensively with families of deceased and missing individuals to assist in the search of their loved ones and lead teams carrying out the identification efforts. Megan is a member of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Team in West Vancouver.  She holds a BA in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University in Canada, an MSc in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology from University College London in England, an MA in Disaster and Emergency Management from Royal Roads University in Canada, and a Diploma in Forensic Medicine and Law from the Apothecaries of London. Megan is currently the founder and Director of Forensic Guardians International Consulting Inc., a privately-owned company that provides forensic identification services. 

 

Dr. Dean Hildebrand

Dr. Hildebrand received his BSc (1990) and PhD (1996) from the University of British Columbia’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His knowledge of molecular biology led him to pursue a career in forensic science. Dr. Hildebrand is currently the Dean for the Physics, Chemistry and Forensics departments at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He is also currently the Technical Leader of the Institute’s accredited forensic DNA Laboratory and is a court-recognized expert in the field of forensic DNA analysis. His work focuses on the recovery and analysis of DNA from degraded remains using STR’s, mini-STR’s, Y-STR’s and mitochondrial DNA for the purposes of human identification. The laboratory he helped establish at BCIT is called upon by local and international Coroner and Police agencies to assist in challenging casework where human identification is required. He also works as a consultant for the B.C. Coroners Service (Special Identification Unit) as a subject matter expert in forensic DNA analysis. In this capacity he helped develop and now maintains the unidentified remains and missing person DNA database for the province of BC.

Shelley Ball

Shelley is a practicing lawyer with a background in litigation and administrative law, as well as death and critical injury investigation, and corporate finance. She is currently an investigator with the University of British Columbia’s Independent Investigations Office, investigating complaints of sexual misconduct on the campuses in Vancouver and in the Okanagan. Prior to practicing law, Shelley had a career in death investigation. She was an Identification Analyst with the Identification and Disaster Response Unit of the British Columbia Coroners Service, investigating cases of unidentified human remains. She was also the senior investigator in the Critical Injury and Death unit of the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, the independent provincial oversight body for the welfare and protection of children, in British Columbia. Shelley has led numerous investigations of single and multiple incidents of death and injury, many of which have included making recommendations to government for changes to legislation, policy and practice, and drafting public reports for submission to the provincial Legislative Assembly. She has also been involved in provincial inquiries. In a volunteer and pro bono capacity, Shelley has experience as a law school admissions committee member, as well as being a restorative justice conference facilitator. She has also been involved in a federal class action claim for injured military veterans. Shelley’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology (with distinction), from Simon Fraser University, and a Juris Doctor from the Robson Hall Faculty of Law, at the University of Manitoba.  She is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Workplace Investigators.

Dr. Sageren Aiyer

Dr. Aiyer has been working in the field of forensic pathology for more than 25 years.  As a forensic pathologist, he has been actively involved in academic and service delivery responsibilities.   He has participated in investigations which, amongst others, have included high profile assassinations, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, mass fatality incidents, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as well as deaths of detainees in police and military custody.  As an academic, he has been involved in the teaching of forensic medicine to undergraduate and postgraduate medical students as well as the legal fraternity and law enforcement agencies. He was the president of the College of Forensic Pathologists of South Africa between 2011 and 2017.  Dr. Aiyer has a special interest in firearm and missile injuries as well as the identification of human remains.

Dr. William Inkster

Dr. Inkster has 32 years of experience in the general practice of dentistry. He has executed all the responsibilities and obligations of a Forensic Odontologist in the province of British Columbia including qualification as an Expert Witness in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. He had a second career as the Identification Analyst within the Identification and Disaster Response Unit (IDRU) of the British Columbia Coroners Service (BCCS). He went on to fulfill all responsibilities of the Identification Specialist, coroner and manager of the IDRU. Duties included deployment to complex death scenes over an area equivalent to France and Spain, offering identification support to all Coroners over the same area, all while assisting in the development of multiple databases to facilitate the repatriation of historical unidentified human remains to their families. He is experienced in all modalities of human identification. He was the Dental Team Leader at the mock disaster held at Victoria International Airport, staged by the BCCS in October 2005. He was the third Forensic Odontologist in Canada assigned to the Canadian forensic tsunami response team in Thailand in 2005 where he was appointed ‘Deputy Controller of AM and PM Dental Data Input’ by Interpol, and where he managed approximately thirty forensic odontologists from around the world. Dr. Inkster has delivered numerous forensic presentations to experts, coroners, medical examiners, and police on the subject of the coroner’s mandate, human identification, the challenges of meeting a high identification threshold, and options to meet that threshold.

Claudia Dagnino, MA, RCC, RRT, RYT200

Claudia is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (Canada). She began working with the unique realities of First Responders in 2003 when she enrolled in the Advanced Specialty Certificate in Forensic Science at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Canada. Since then Claudia has been closely involved with activities and training related to First Responders’ world.  With her Clinical Counsellor experience, Claudia’s interest turned towards treating the Mental Health of First Responders when she realized that minimal and/or repetitive exposure to traumatic situations deeply impacted their personal wellbeing, as well as that of their families. With the determination to contribute to alleviating the suffering of First Responders, Claudia pursued unique training that qualifies her as an expert when it comes to healing the mind and body, allowing traumatized individuals to return to a healthy state of mind. Claudia is currently the only Registered Clinical Counsellor in Canada certified in Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), a revolutionary psychotherapeutic approach to resolving emotional and behavioural difficulties such as Trauma and PTSD. RRT has also been described as a painless treatment for trauma and stress that removes the emotion from memories painlessly without reliving the experience and results in effortless permanence.  Claudia has successfully completed the BC First Responder’s Health Occupational Awareness Training for Treating First Responders Trauma, officially endorsed by the BC Professional Firefighters Association. This Certification qualifies her to work with First Responders. Such certification, along with her Advanced Specialty Certificate in Forensic Science enables her to have a deeper awareness and understanding of the trauma associated with first responders in the field. Claudia is also a Yoga Therapist and a Certified Yoga Instructor, registered with the International Yoga Alliance. She developed expertise in modalities backed up by science such as Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Restorative Yoga among others. She has also pursued further knowledge and training in Pranayama and Meditation, specifically in Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique that has shown significant improvements in people suffering from major depression who do not fully respond to antidepressant medications. 

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