Research

Driven by the FIU and IFRI research mission, FATF plays a key role in assisting faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students to conduct relevant research using state-of-the-art instrumentation and approaches.

Strong educational support for the law enforcement agencies, academia, and forensic laboratories is also provided in our facility. Workshops on modern forensic toxicology techniques, analytical instrumentation, data interpretation and customized method development strategies are offered per request.

Research projects conducted at the FATF under the direction of Dr. DeCaprio are focused on the development and application of analytical methods to enhance the value of scientific evidence in analytical and forensic toxicology. These projects have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice, private sector clients, and other funding sources. Examples of past and ongoing research projects in the Facility include:

  • Development of ultra-trace LC-QQQ-MS/MS and LC-QTOF-MS/MS methods for the comprehensive screening and confirmation of NPS, including phenethylamines, piperazines, tryptamines, and synthetic cannabinoids, in human specimen matrices such as blood, urine, hair, and oral fluid.
  • Systematic examination of the cross-reactivities of NPS with existing immunoassay screening platforms.
  • Application of in vitro drug metabolism assays to model in vivo metabolism of important drugs of abuse.
  • Development of new technologies for long term monitoring of human exposure to drugs of abuse and chemical warfare agents based on chemical modification of blood proteins.
  • Ultra-trace analysis of polychlorinated biphenyl and other persistent pollutant metabolites by dual-column GC and ECD.
  • Optimization of GC-EI-MS and GC-NCI-MS separation and analysis of abused prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines, hydrocodone and oxycodone, and their metabolites, in human hair and other biological matrices.
  • Evaluation of headspace GC with simultaneous FID and MS detection in blood alcohol and volatiles analysis.
  • Detection of nicotine and metabolites in the extracted blood of hookah smokers by online SPE and LC-QQQ-MS analysis.
  • Detection of organic compounds characteristic of gunshot residues by DART-MS.
  • Method development and analysis of methylphenidate and metabolites in oral fluid by LC-QQQ-MS.