Going on a secondment is one of the INTREPID Forensics programme’s requirements. Lisa had arranged partner institutions before all fellows started and assigned each of us a location. My location appeared to be Lausanne, but soon after attending the ESC summer school last year I found out I had to find another place… [Read more…]
Thalassa Valkenburg - Project 10
Thalassa is a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher within the University of Leicester’s INTREPID Forensics programme. Her current research focuses on the development of dried blood spot analysis for the detection and quantification of drugs of abuse in forensic toxicology. You can read her full biography over on our Staff & Researcher page and a full description of the project here.
Monthly blog posts from Thalassa can be found below. The blog posts cover daily work experiences, training sessions and external events. The purpose of these blogs is to inform anyone interested about her progress as well as any findings that may result from her research. In addition, it serves as a platform for young researchers interested in doing a PhD (under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, Research Fellowship Programme). Feel free to leave a comment or head over to our contact page to send her an email.
Another two exciting bioanalytical chemistry lectures have taken place last month. The first about fluorescence, thereby passing a fluorescent stick around the room probably reminding many of clubbing 36 hours earlier. The second about drugs and crime, where one of the most active debates I’ve ever experienced during a lecture started regarding what the legal status of certain drugs should be. Halfway February it was however time for a new INTREPID training. [Read more…]
Being a little late for my Bioanalytical Chemistry lecture, I took a seat at the back of the lecture room. I had a glimpse at Dr. Lowe’s powerpoint presentation and tried to figure out how many slides I had missed. It looked like I had only missed a couple of introduction slides. So after settling in a bit more, I glanced at the lecture bench in front of me; my notepad, a pen and… a pregnancy test. Are you wondering what the pregnancy test was doing there? Well, I was wondering exactly the same! [Read more…]
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Finally it’s 12 noon on Monday 11th of January 2016. After waiting anxiously over my computer for the last 20 minutes, the last 10 seconds had arrived to book tickets for a lecture to be given by Sir David Attenborough! Perhaps I blinked exactly at the moment the website should be going live, but as soon as the website was open all 200 normal tickets were gone and all 250 video link tickets also. [Read more…]
“Howay man! We’re gonna be late!”. As always I had to hurry for my next appointment. No time to recover from my company visit in the South. The only half an hour I was in Leicester I spent on getting a quick Subway and some snacks for my 3.5 hour journey to Newcastle! [Read more…]
Reading, more reading and searching the literature for more articles is a major thing keeping first year PhD students busy. For my PhD project I’ve read many Dried Blood Spot (DBS) articles. Many of those are published by GSK, a British pharmaceutical company that is also one of the leaders in DBS R&D. Last year I was lucky to meet one of the renowned authors (and thus big researcher) from GSK; Phil Denniff. Although he retired recently, he’s still enthusiastic to discuss novel DBS developments. By teleconference I’ve also brainstormed about my project with other big GSK names in the DBS field; Neil Spooner who just changed jobs and Paul Abu-Rabie who welcomed me at the facility in Ware this week.
Nottingham, 07/01/2016, 11am – With the help of a sixth form class, a team of forensic science investigators from the University of Leicester established Mr. Blue’s cause of death. Mr. Blue worked at a chemistry lab in one of Nottingham’s high schools and was found dead at his workplace. He was known to have a heart condition, but on the bench of the scene, a large bottle of concentrated acid had been upturned and spilt. All around this acid were different chemical bottles which had also been knocked over and may have mixed with the acid. A medicine bottle was also present with unknown tablets inside. [Read more…]
After just over a year I have the same feeling as my INTREPID fellow Francisco had at the beginning of his PhD:
A mind-blowing feeling!
The forensic postgraduate research symposium organized by the Charted Society of Forensic Science (CSoFS) last month in Manchester was the start of this experience. After presenting my work, I’ve had many good discussions with other PhD students and the annual AGM meeting lead to many ideas (and associated work;P). During the meeting I became a CSoFS link member for the University of Leicester and I’ve marked the occasion by starting a Forensic Science Society. The ultimate goal is to intregrate the two by organizing a national conference (+ball) for both undergraduate and postgraduate forensic science students. [Read more…]
It’s the end of November; marked in my calendar as ‘time for a long-term stability analysis of dried blood samples spiked with salbutamol’. One month earlier, I’ve created a set of dried blood samples to study the effects of long-term stability of such dried blood spots spiked with two concentrations of salbutamol (a medicine to treat asthma) and stored them at different temperatures; in a freezer, in fridge, in the lab and in an oven set at 40 °C. This experiment is part of a validation study I’m carrying out. [Read more…]
GC-MS, the one of my group located in the lab beside my office. For a year, it was The Black Box for me. So nearby, but at the same time so unattainable.