Institute of Forensic Medicine

Key research areas: 

  • (Domestic) violence and gender
  • Aging proteins as biological clock
  • Age estimation
  • DNA-typing of isolated cells
  • Optimization of methods for photo-identification
  • World-wide DNA-PCR data base
  • Effects of legal and illegal drugs 

Forensic Medicine deals with medical questions arising from jurisprudence. Its probably most well-known task is the postmortem examination of unnatural deaths, in particular in cases of homicide. Less noted, but of highest practical importance is the field of Clinical Forensic Medicine. The main task in that field is the examination of living victims of violence which has to include an extensive documentation and interpretation of all injuries as well as the securing of traces, all under consideration of the relevant legal questions. After examination, the victims are mediated to other institutions, if psychosocial or other assistance is needed. Additionally, further tasks from the entire field of forensic medicine, of forensic toxiclogy and forensic genetics are processed.

The accomplishment of this broad spectrum of tasks is achieved by the employment of modern scientific methods and a closely co-operating team of scientists of different disciplines such as medicine, chemistry, pharmacy and biology.

The institute comprises the sections Forensic Pathology, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Genetics, and the Ambulance for Victims of Violence. In the field of Forensic Pathology, the range of services offered includes postmortem examinations, autopsies, histological examinations and expertises. In the toxicological lab, samples from deceased and living persons are analysed for alcohol and drugs. Their effects are evaluated under different aspects, for example with regard to the cause of death or to solve questions in the field of traffic medicine. The section Forensic Genetics deals with paternity tests and the analysis of biological traces. In our Ambulance for Victims of Violence the sequels of violence are documented; if required, biological traces are secured. The documentation can be used as legal evidence, e.g. regarding the interpretation of injuries or questions of reconstruction. Apart from that, expert opinions regarding other fields of Clinical Forensic Medicine like age estimation or photoidentification are given.

The services offered by the institute may not only be employed by police and the justice system, but also by other clients such as hospitals and private persons. Victims of violence may contact us via the police or directly. In the latter case, police or authorities are informed only if the victim agrees. The services of the institute are also available to the patients of the University Clinic Düsseldorf, e.g. for documentation of injuries as a result of violence, and for diagnostics in cases of intoxicati

Research and teaching

One topic of research is "(domestic) violence and gender". Using direct work with victims of violence and an interdisciplinary approach, the relationship between (domestic) violence and gender is analysed. The results of this research work may enable the development of new strategies for prevention.

“Aging proteins as a biological clock " is a further main research topic. Age dependent changes of amino acids and their role in the aging process, and in the pathogenesis of typical diseases of old age, are investigated.

Further research topics deal with the optimization of methods for photo-identification, the effects of legal and illegal drugs, the DNA-typing of isolated cells as well as a world-wide DNA-PCR data base.

The institute offers courses for students of medicine as well as for students of law and natural sciences. In addition, courses for physicians, jurists and the police are arranged regularly. We attach great importance to the practical mediation of knowledge and skills in small groups.

Curriculum Vitae Professor Dr. med. Stefanie Ritz-Timme 

 Medical School, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen
1988:Approbation as Medical Doctor
1990:Graduation as Medical Doctor, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
1996:Consultant in Forensic Medicine
1998:Habilitation, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
2001:Konrad-Haendel award
2003.Call for a chair (C4-Professor) for Forensic Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf
 Since 2004 director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine in the University Hospital Duesseldorf.
 Prof. Ritz-Timme is a board member of the German Society of Legal Medicine as well as second chairmen of Section I (Experimental Gerontology) of the German Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics.
 She is a member of editorial and advisory boards of several journals in the field of Forensic Medicine

Bild von:  Prof. Dr. med.  Stefanie Ritz-Timme
Prof. Dr. med. Stefanie Ritz-Timme
Ärztin für Rechtsmedizin
Moorenstr. 5
40225 Düsseldorf
+49(0)211 81 19385
+49(0)211 81 19366

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