Turi read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, specializing in Biological Anthropology, before moving into the field of molecular genetics, gaining a distinction in her MSc at the University of Leicester. All of her subsequent work over the years has combined genetics with archaeology, history and geography. Her PhD research in genetics at Leicester on a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship resulted in an award-winning thesis examined the link between British hereditary surnames and the Y chromosome. Various papers arising from her work came to the attention of the press for its implications in the fields of genetic genealogy and forensics. She has continued her work on the Y chromosome and surnames, and has been leading a project examining the genetic legacy of the Vikings in the north of England. As well as leading the international research team involved in the DNA identification work of the remains of Richard III, she is also leading the project carrying out the whole genome sequencing of Richard III which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of genetic fingerprinting at the University of Leicester.
Turi is passionate about communicating science to the public and has appeared in, or advised on, numerous radio and TV programmes.