Name Dr Catherine Duke
Job Title Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Forensic Science
Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Sciences
Subject(s) Chemistry and Forensic Science
Tel 01902 322737

Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science

Catherine joined the University of Wolverhampton in September 1992 and is a senior lecturer in the School of Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science. She specialises in teaching analytical chemistry and analytical quality assurance on the Forensic Science and related courses (e.g. pharmaceutical science). With the re-introduction of Chemistry in September 2014, she will return to her roots, teaching inorganic and analytical chemistry and analytical quality assurance to chemistry students, as well as continuing with the Forensic Science teaching.

Catherine obtained her BSc (hons) Chemistry from the University of York in 1983 and stayed at York to take her D.Phil. during which she developed potassium and copper cyanide-covered high surface area solids for use as heterogeneous reagents in organic synthesis. She was also one of the first research students in the chemistry department to type her own thesis on a word processor - a BBC microcomputer (now of course a museum piece). She then spent 2½ years as a post doc at Brock University, Ontario, Canada, using FTIR (then very new), fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry (no computer control, just large dials and knobs) and magic angle spinning NMR (still in the days of home-built probes) to study a range of solid materials.

On her return to the UK, Catherine spent 2 years as a Teaching Company Associate based at Contract Chemicals Ltd on Merseyside (a manufacturer of fine chemicals such as food flavourings and additives for cosmetics) working on a joint project with the University of York to develop inorganic heterogeneous reagents and catalysts. (Although the most useful part of the job for Catherine’s future career turned out to be an introduction to the concept and practice of quality assurance as part of the company’s drive towards BS5750 accreditation.)

A few years after joining the University of Wolverhampton as a lecturer in inorganic and analytical chemistry, the chemistry course closed (as did chemistry courses at many other universities) and Catherine moved into the environmental sciences department, teaching analytical chemistry on the short-lived Analytical Science course, basic chemistry to environmental science students and developing analytical chemistry-related environmental science projects. Following introduction of the forensic science course she continued teaching analytical chemistry and analytical quality assurance, as well as learning new skills in document analysis. She also managed to complete an honours degree as a part-time student with the OU, specialising in Geosciences.

FTIR analysis

FTIR analysis of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; identification of counterfeit pharmaceuticals by FTIR; environmental analysis of polluted water and soil.

Recent publications

  • Chemistry for Environmental and Earth Sciences, Catherine V.A. Duke and Craig D Williams, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2007
  • Distance learning package for Edexcel BTEC HNC and HND in Chemical Science for Industry, and Edexcel BTEC HNC and HND in Biological Science for Industry -  Unit 13, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Pearson, 2013