Unit of Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry
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The missions of the Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Unit are :
- to provide accurate and reliable toxicological test results to the requestor in a timely manner
- to ensure academic teaching of forensic toxicology as well as specialized teaching in police schools
- to conduct research and development in forensic toxicology.
The main issues of forensic toxicology are summarized in an article published in 2008 in the Swiss Medical Journal.
The specificities and commonalities of clinical toxicology and forensic toxicology are presented in an article published in 2012 in the Pipette Swiss Laboratory Medicine Nr. 04/2012.
Other topics related to forensic toxicology are presented in the issue 04/2012 of "Pipette".
Fields of activity
The main field of activity of the CTU is the detection, identification and quantification of pharmacologically active and/or toxic substances in various biological matrices, as well as in various non-biological samples (powder, liquid, air, surfaces, building materials, etc.).
Forensic toxicology is a scientific activity that deals with :
- 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 poisoning
- the search for substances that may have altered the behavior or performance of an individual.
Forensic chemistry is a scientific activity that deals with :
- the search, identification and determination of illicit substances in various samples
Exposure Toxicology is a scientific activity that deals with:
- the research, identification and determination of substances that present a risk of acute or chronic toxicity, in case of occupational or domestic exposure
The activities of the CTU are carried out under the responsibility of :
- Head of CTU : Marc Augsbuger, Dr. Sc., forensic toxicologist SSML
( Tel : 021 314 70 85 )
- Deputy head, Lausanne site (Vuillette 4) : Frank Sporkert, Dr. nat., forensic toxicologist SSML
( Tel : 021 314 56 26 )
- Deputy head, Geneva site : Christèle Widmer, Dr. Sc., forensic toxicologist SSML
( Tel : 022 379 56 23 )
- Deputy head, Lausanne site (Bugnon 19); Head of R&D : Aurélien Thomas, Prof asst
(Tel : 079 556 77 52)
The team is composed of academics (chemists, biologists, pharmacists) holding academic titles or in training (PhD students), technicians in biomedical analysis, laboratory assistants and secretaries.
The CTU regularly welcomes trainees (PhD students, university and master students, laboratory trainees) for internships and diploma works.
In order to answer the requests of services, the LWC is equipped with the following analytical instruments :
- automatons for the realization of screening tests
- 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)
- high resolution mass spectrometers (LC-HRMS (Orbitrap), MALDI-HRMS (Orbitrap))
- capillary electrophoresis (CE-UV)
- plasma torch coupled with mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)
- scanning electron microscope
The LWC is accredited to ISO 17025-2017 by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS; STS-448) for all sites. The LFCU is also recognized by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) to perform analyses for the assessment of impairment of driving ability due to alcohol, drug and medication use, as well as by the Science and Policy for a healthy future (HbM4EU) project for the determination of arsenic, acrylamides, bisphenols, cadmium, chromium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).