05/30/2007

WVU Pharmacy Student to Present Research at National Forensic Conference

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For many, solving television shows’ criminal mysteries is as close as they will come to the forensic world.  But one West Virginia University School of Pharmacy graduate student’s hands-on approach to forensics is earning him recognition in the field. 

Cody Peer, a pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences third-year Ph.D. student, will present research on a new drug detection method at the October 2007 Society of Forensic Toxicologists, Inc. (SOFT) conference in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Peer’s research project, “Direct-Injection Mass Spectrometric Method for the Rapid Identification of Fentanyl and Norfentanyl in Postmortem Urine of Six Drug Overdose Cases,” aims at getting quicker drug detection results from autopsies.   

Fentanyl is a strong, prescription strength, narcotic pain reliever.  It is typically used for patients who have an existing tolerance to narcotic medications, like morphine.

“This is a simple, rapid method that allows you to look for a specific drug in a urine sample,” said Peer.  “By doing the minimal amount of preparation and by shooting the urine sample directly into the mass spectrometer instrument, we can detect drugs based on their mass,” he said.

 Cody Peer, a pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences third-year Ph.D. student in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, prepares samples for the mass spectrometer. Peer will present research on a new drug detection method at the October 2007 Society of Forensic Toxicologists, Inc. (SOFT) conference in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

“Normal labs would use longer processes that could take an hour and a half to examine and look for specific drugs and their signals to see if they’re present,” Peer said.  “The mass spectrometric method can save as much as an hour of preparation per sample.”

SOFT awarded Peer a $1,000 travel award to attend the annual meeting, which is a forum for the nation’s leading forensic toxicologists.

The goal is to perfect this method to where it’s accepted in the scientific communities,” Peer said.  “The faster and easier the method, the quicker scientists can gather results.”

To learn more about SOFT, visit www.soft-tox.org/.  For more information on the WVU School of Pharmacy visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/sop/.

- WVU -


07-115
For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
bovinost@wvuh.com
cw:05-30-07

Return To News Releases