2022 Virtual Meeting Workshops

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 (all times Eastern)

AM 9-12: Chemistry – Shimadzu

Accurate Liquid Chromatography Solutions for THC Quantitation
Evgenia Barannikova, Jennifer C. Davis, Rachel A. Lieberman

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc., Columbia, MD

The cannabis/hemp market continues to grow, with more states legalizing marijuana, as well as  the 2018 Farm Bill removing hemp from the controlled substance list. This bill defines that any cannabis sativa L. strain with a total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of ≤0.3% can be considered hemp, not cannabis. Consequently, there is strong demand to differentiate hemp from cannabis based on THC concentration. Traditional qualitative methods use gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) to identify and confirm the presence of marijuana in criminal cases. GCMS could be used for quantitation, however full separation of the acid forms is not feasible as it is converted to native THC in the source. More recently, adulterated hemp samples containing THC variants are increasing and there is a need to fully identify and quantify each of them. Most laboratories are only monitoring and reporting delta-9 THC. This workshop will describe the use of liquid chromatography (LC) techniques for accurate separation of common cannabinoids, Cannabis or Hemp analyzer for THC quantitation, and LCMS separation methods.

Learning objectives:
1. Discuss the difference between GC and LC
2. Learn about the cannabis or hemp analyzers for THC quantitation
3. Learn how to expand capabilities of LC to include MS and additional cannabinoid isomers such as delta-8 and delta-9, delta-10 and delta-6a/10a THC.

PM 1-4:30: Toxicology – RTI

Forensic Toxicology Professional Standards-Applications in the Real World
Ruth Winecker, Ph.D., F-ABFT, RTI
Robert Johnson, Ph.D., F-ABFT, Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office

Science Standards establish specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable, and consistently perform as intended. In recent years, a number of documents have been developed to standardize the field of forensic toxicology. Much of the current work in the United States is being done by two groups: the Toxicology Subcommittee of the  organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC); and the Academy Standards Board (ASB) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. This workshop will focus on two recently published standards: ANSI/ASB Standard 119- Standard for the Analytical Scope and Sensitivity of Forensic Toxicological Testing of Blood in Medicolegal Death Investigations and ANSI/ASB Standard 120- Standard for the Analytical Scope and Sensitivity of Forensic Toxicological Testing of Blood in Impaired Driving Investigations. Using these two standards as “test cases” attendees will gain a better understanding of the history of these organizations, the process they follow to develop standards and guidelines and how these standards can be used to improve laboratory operations.

PM 12-1:30 Biology – ThermoFisher

ThermoFisher Technology Update
Scott Reierstad, Pete Delaune

CONQUER YOUR CASELOAD WITH CONFIDENCE. The NIMBUS Presto allows forensic  scientists to process more samples and spend less time at the workbench so they have more time  or data analysis.

Let’s catch up on the latest Rapid DNA milestones and successes. Please join Thermo Fisher Scientific to discuss Rapid DNA studies, programs, and best practices. Learn more about how  tate CODIS laboratories work with booking stations to use the Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID System to generate and automate the upload and search of arrestee DNA against unsolved cases in the National DNA Database; how crime laboratories and law enforcement are working together to form Rapid DNA investigative lead programs; and how laboratory and medical examiner/coroners consider Rapid DNA for its speed, mobility and ease of operation for their identification and disaster recovery programs.

PM 2-5: Biology – Tim Kalafut

Evaluative DNA Testimony

Have you ever been in court and had an attorney grab an object, or rub her hand on the podium and say “You’d expect to find my DNA here, wouldn’t you?” Or “Is it possible for DNA to transfer from a person to an object if Person 1 shook hands with Person 2 and Person 2 touched the item?”

Have you ever been asked “transfer” questions at court? Have you ever been asked to evaluate your DNA results given activity level propositions? Do you think that “transfer” is something a DNA expert cannot answer? Do you think the expert can and should answer those types of questions? Do you think we have sufficient studies? Do you think it’s OK to use your experience as an expert? Do you think this is outside the DNA expert’s expertise?

Have you ever discussed “touch DNA” in front of a jury? What about the sperm fraction? If so, did you recognize that you just addressed “activity” questions?

Or – do all questions stop after you let the court know there is an inclusion/not excluded and/or give a statistic?

All of these questions are addressed in a new document that is being proposed at the Human DNA OSAC level – A best practice document for evaluative DNA testimony. This document was open for public comment in January of this year, and has set a new record for comments that need adjudication – almost 700! Clearly this is a timely topic if it generates that many comments.

This presentation will go over some high points in this document. The point is to generate discussion and awareness about DNA testimony beyond the “Who?” question since many times the court is interested in the “How?” question.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

AM 8-12: Biology – Qiagen

Demanding More: How to actively drive forensic investigations utilizing the combined
QIAGEN/Verogen solution portfolio in NGS Settings.
Bobby LaRue

Despite the benefit of DNA testing for criminal justice, when sample quality is too poor to return a profile, or the profile doesn’t match a suspect or a database, traditional capillary electrophoresis (CE) methods are unable to help .As a result, some of the most heinous cases can go unsolved for years or even decades.This workshop will introduce the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS)  to address the limitations of CE and show possibilities to gain greater insight from every sample. We will highlight the QIAGEN Verogen Workflow – from QIAGEN sample prep, automation and  quantification, to Verogen NGS solutions and focus on solutions. We will share data and cases  khowing how the new capabilities of NGS helped to close more cases to give victims and their  families the closure and resolution they deserve.

PM 1-4: Chemistry – NIST

Reducing the Implementation Barriers of New Tools and Resources for Seized Drug Analysis
Edward Sisco, Elizabeth L. Robinson, Meghan G. Appley, & Briana A. Capistran
National Institute of Standards and Technology

The emerging drug crisis continues to present challenges to the forensic community, including an ever-changing drug landscape, polydrug mixtures, and increasing toxicity. To manage these challenges, laboratories are often required to consider new workplace practices, new technologies, and new safety protocols. Adopting and implementing these changes can be difficult as many laboratories have little to no research funding or time. To ease this burden, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been working directly with practicing forensic laboratories to assist in developing a number of tools and resources for the community that are focused on various aspects of the analysis chain. In this workshop, an overview of these efforts along with the methods, tools, databases, and other products will be discusses as well as mechanisms for collaborative research to address outstanding questions.

Much of the recent research efforts in this arena have been focused on increasing the analytical capabilities of new, and existing, instrumentation in laboratories. Given the need for more rapid, and information-rich screening approaches, NIST has developed a number of resources for  implementation of ambient ionization mass spectrometry (AI-MS) such as direct analysis in real  time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) and rapid chromatographic techniques. These include  validation packages, spectral databases, and AI-MS specific search algorithms and search tools. The use of information-rich screening tools allows laboratories to develop new approaches for  confirmation. These could include the use of class-specific gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) methods to enhance compound separation, or the use of replicate measurements – both areas where recent efforts have been focused and will be discussed. Tools to assist in the identification of unknown compounds, and adaptations of existing instrumentation to enable new sampling approaches will also be highlighted.

In addition to the analysis protocols, safe sample handling is another area that has been heavily researched. Efforts to understand transport of powder material through a laboratory space, and protocols to minimize this spread, will be discussed. Studies of effective cleaning protocols will also be highlighted.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

PM 12-4: Drug Chemistry – VA DFS

Demonstration of THC Isomer Production Methods
Jessica Belton, Virginia Department of Forensic Science

As states begin to decriminalize marijuana use, electronic vape cartridges filled with delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) distillate are one of the most dominant forms of marijuana consumption available to the public. To meet state regulations regarding marijuana distillates, concentrates must be free of pesticides, hazardous substances such as residual butane or ethanol, and possess a Certificate of Analysis from an approved testing laboratory. Manufacturing companies have turned to techniques used in other industries in order to further refine the  concentrate. One such technique is the use of activated clays to remove pesticides. However, an unintentional consequence of activated clay use is the production of THC isomers such as delta-8-THC, delta-10-THC, and delta-6a(10a)-THC. Upon realization of this phenomenon, manufacturers are now purposely altering the THC isomer compositions of the distillates in attempts to  revolutionize the cannabis industry. Using simple path distillation and two widely used activated clays (T-5 and T-41), delta-9-THC isomerization to the other THC isomers is demonstrated. In addition, a simple reaction of Cannabidiol with sulfuric and acetic acids to produce delta-8-THC is also demonstrated. Lastly, THC-O-acetate and THCP, two of the most recent emerging THC analogues, will be discussed. To end, the analytical challenges associated with isomer identification will be reviewed. With more states following in the footsteps of marijuana decriminalization, the marijuana distillate market will continually alter the profile of concentrates as a form of competition.