Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Introduction

ASCLD Train the Director – Toxicology: Instrumentation, Methodology, and Workflows

ASCLD Train the Director – Toxicology: Instrumentation, Methodology, and Workflows

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This webinar originally occurred on February 6th, 2020
Duration: 1.5 hours

Legacy workflows in toxicology generally involve a drug class screen followed by a gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy (LC/MS-MS) confirmation analysis. Additional techniques could also be used in workflows, but their applications were focused on specific drugs. In general, analyses were serial, limited, and often required multiple methods depending on the number of drug classes in the samples. Results required lengthy and costly workflows, especially when toxicologists were working with complicated samples.

Advances in chromatography and mass spectroscopy instrumentation have created opportunities to reduce extractions, increase simultaneous and parallel analyses, reduce sample handling and cost, analyze a broader range of drug classes, and quantitate more routinely. The introduction of technologies like quadrupole time-of flight (QTOF) and high-resolution mass spectroscopy can significantly improve the operations of a toxicology laboratory

Quantitations and broad spectrum analyses have always been a requirement of post-mortem (PM) toxicology. However, driving-under-the-influence of drugs (DUID) analysis is now approaching the complexity and breadth of PM toxicology. Laboratories are required to go well beyond DUI/alcohol impairment information to a multitude of drug classes, including anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, volatiles, pain medications, fentanyl, cannabinoids, barbiturates, and others. Traditional drugs of abuse are also included in the requested analyses. In addition to this range of drugs, quantitative information (including multiple replicates if possible) is extremely valuable for stakeholders.

Detailed Learning Objectives:
This presentation discussed advances and the logistics of transitioning from the legacy workflows of multiple serial analyses to parallel LC/MS/MS and QTOF methods. Topics included:
1.) Budgeting and purchasing appropriate equipment
2.) Available grants, state and federal partners, and funding sources
3.) Method transitions including extractions, batching, and results interpretation
4.) Data systems integration and processing of high volumes of information
5.) Personnel and validation
6.) Trends in the processing of PM and DUID toxicology casework
7.) Current and future OSAC recommendations with laboratory methods and decisions
8.) Challenges with resources, reporting requirements, and LIMS integration

Presenters:
Bruce Houlihan | Director of the Orange County Crime Laboratory in southern California
Dan Anderson | Forensic Toxicologist with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation

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Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

Please contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org for any questions.

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