399 Educating Forensic Toxicologists: Freshman to PhD

Friday, November 6, 2009: 10:45 AM
Kohlberg (Camino Real Hotel)
Suzanne Bell , Bennett Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University is home to one of the oldest and largest FEPAC accredited forensic science programs in the United States.   At the undergraduate level, forensic chemistry is one of three tracks that students can select.  At the graduate level, an MSFS is offered through the forensic program that includes an advanced forensic chemistry course.  Students wishing to study forensic chemistry specifically pursue an MS or PhD in chemistry (analytical).  We have seen a significant increase in student interest in forensic toxicology in the past 6 years, driving adaptations in the forensic chemistry curriculum.   Forensic toxicology is a model of cross-disciplinary education and research that allows for the integration of biochemistry, pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry with traditional chemistry and analytical chemistry.  It is also one of the few forensic disciplines in which a doctoral degree is currently in demand.   As such, forensic toxicology can become an institution-wide effort that supports student research as well as faculty collaboration and external funding opportunities outside of traditional (and limited) forensic sources.   This presentation will discuss research and education in forensic toxicology at WVU from its inception and growth to current practice.  Example laboratory exercises will be discussed as will example research projects from the undergraduate level through doctoral level.  Suggestions for development of capability in forensic toxicology will be offered.