Just Forensic Toxicology and Professional Partnerships

Just Forensic Toxicology and Professional Partnerships

Original Release Date: June 17, 2022

In episode seven of our Strengthening the Forensic Workforce season, Just Science sat down with Dr. Karen Scott, an Associate Professor, Forensic Toxicology Consultant, and Director of the Master of Science in Forensic Science program at Arcadia University, and Dr. Jarrad Wagner, a Professor and Director in the Oklahoma State University School of Forensic Sciences, to discuss research collaborations and keeping on top of the dynamic drug landscape encountered in forensic toxicology casework. 

One of the requirements of FEPAC accreditation is that programs maintain partnerships with external collaborators, such as forensic science laboratories and professional organizations. This is especially important for rapidly evolving disciplines like forensic toxicology where there is a constant influx of new drugs and analytical challenges such as a lack of available reference standards and complex biological matrices. Because of these issues, students and researchers at universities and practitioners in crime laboratories must work together to develop new techniques for novel drug detection and analysis in real-time. Listen along as Dr. Scott and Dr. Wagner discuss their FEPAC partnerships, on-going research efforts, and the importance of hands-on learning in their forensic toxicology programs.  

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Guest Biography

Dr. Karen Scott is the Director of Forensic Science, an Associate Professor and a Forensic Toxicology Consultant at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Prior to taking up this post, she held the position of Senior Lecturer and Forensic Toxicologist at Forensic Medicine and Science, University of Glasgow. She has 28 years of experience in the fields of forensic and clinical toxicology. She is published in the areas of post-mortem toxicology and hair and alternative matrix testing and is a reviewer for three of the main Forensic Toxicology journals. She is also on the editorial advisory board for Clark’s Analysis of Drugs and Poisons. Dr. Scott’s current research interests include drug stability, drugs in human performance testing (including DUID, DFSA, and pain management) as well as the evaluation of drugs in hair. Dr. Scott has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Forensic & Analytical Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK, 1994) and a PhD in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Glasgow (UK, 1998). On completion of her degrees, she carried out postdoctoral research in Tokyo, Japan investigating incorporation rates of drugs into hair. Dr. Scott is a member of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Hair Testing, the American Chemical Society, the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists and the Council for Forensic Science Educators. She regularly presents at the annual meetings of AAFS and SOFT and is a previous scientific session chair for SOFT. She is the immediate past-President of the Council for Forensic Science Educators and an executive board member of the National Safety Council Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division.

Dr. Jarrad Wagner is a Professor of Forensic Sciences at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU CHS), where he is the program director for the FEPAC-accredited MSFS degree. He specializes in research and instruction in Forensic Toxicology and Trace Analytical Chemistry, including post-blast investigations and clandestine laboratories. He is board certified as a Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. He is also the Director of the Forensic Toxicology and Trace Laboratory (FTTL), is a member of the National Safety Council Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division and is the Chair of the Oklahoma State Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence. Professor Wagner formerly served as a Chemist in the Hazardous Materials Response Unit of the FBI Laboratory, where he specialized in crime scene investigations involving hazardous materials throughout the world. Prior to the FBI, his law enforcement experience includes his time as a Forensic Scientist in the Orange County (CA) Sheriff-Coroner’s office and his service as a Reserve Police Officer in the City of Irvine, CA. Dr. Wagner earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Irvine and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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