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Forensic sciences

Our police and coronial services teams are at the forefront of forensic science research and emerging trends. We identify trends and market influences which support the development of analytical methods, prevention strategies, policies and legislation that inform training and professional practices. Our research supports the medico-legal, justice and police, coronial and health industries and ensures the continued safety of Queenslanders.

We have access to a wide range of analytical techniques not readily available to other forensic facilities due to our co-location with public health sciences including isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), ICPMS, Ion chromatography and x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.

Key research priorities include:

  • forensic DNA analysis
  • chemical criminalistics, including physical materials and evidence analysis using IRMS
  • illicit drugs production, identification and detection
  • novel psychoactive substances
  • effects and toxicology of alcohol and drugs
  • pathology
  • mortuary practice.

Research projects

Below are some examples of our current research projects.

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  • The project enables the early detection and confirmation of fentanyl, and novel opioid derivatives in Queensland toxicology cases and illicit drug seizures.

  • The aim of this project is to examine several cannabinoids (THC, THCCOOH, 11OHTHC, CBN, CBD, Δ8THC and THCV) to gain insight into their prevalence, distribution and levels in biological samples, particularly post-mortem specimens.

  • The aim of this project is to assess whether ancestry and externally visible characteristics generated through MPS will assist Queensland Police Service in eliminating or including suspects during an active criminal investigation.

    Collaboration: Thermo Fisher Pty Ltd and Queensland Police Services.

  • This project developed a new method for the measurement of hydrogen isotopic composition and established a searchable database of MA seizures isotopic compositions. It is expected that extending the database will lead to a better understanding of links between illicit drug seizures, the production of MA, as well as provide intelligence on potential distribution networks.

    Collaboration: Griffith University

  • The aim of this project is to explore potential alternative synthetic routes that could be used to illegally produce substances such as cathinones and amphetamines, and to produce analytical profiles of the precursors, intermediates, reaction mixtures and final products of this particular synthetic route should it be successful.

    Collaboration: Griffith University

  • This project will develop the laboratories capacity to definitively identify peptide compounds scheduled in the Poisons Standard (SUSMP).

Last updated: 11 April 2021