Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Unit

Unit Services Research and Training FAQ

 

Main tasks

The missions of the Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Unit are :

  • to supply on request within a reasonable time limit the results of precise and reliable toxicological tests
  • to ensure academic teaching of forensic toxicology as well as specialist courses at police academies
  • to carry out research and development in forensic toxicology.

The main field of activity of the UTCF consists in the detection, identification and quantification of pharmacologically active and/or toxic substances in diverse biological matrices.

Fields of activity

Forensic toxicology is a scientific activity related to :

  • the search for substances that may have played a role in the cause of death
  • the search for substances that may have played a role in non-lethal intoxication
  • the search for substances that may have modified an individual’s behaviour or performance.

Accreditation

The UTCF has obtained ISO 17025 accreditation from the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) STS-448 (for the Lausanne site) and STS-390 (for the Geneva site). In addition, UTCF is approved by the Federal Roads Office (OFROU) to carry out DUID analyses. DUID is the acronym that stands for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. It is akin to DUI or DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated.

Staff

The activities of the UTCF are carried out under the responsibility of :

The team comprises university graduates (chemists, biologists, pharmacists) holding academic qualifications or still in training (doctoral students), as well as biomedical analysis technicians, laboratory assistants and secretaries.

The UTCF regularly welcomes individuals who are currently studying (doctoral students, placement students and Master students, trainee laboratory assistants) for placements and diploma work.

Equipment

To respond to requests for intervention, the UTCF is equipped with the following analytical instruments :

  • automatic analyzers for screening tests
  • spectrophotometers
  • gas chromatography (HS-GC-FID, GC-FID, GC-NPD, GC-ECD, GC-MS, GC-MS/MS)
  • liquid chromatography (LC-UV(DAD) and Fluorescence, LC-MS, LC-MS/MS)
  • capillary electrophoresis (CE-UV)
  • plasma torch coupled with mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).