Hair analysis in the laboratory

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Today I decided to try something new in a forensic science student lab, taking small videos (Vines), creating a video lab script, see below.

The students had seen a lab script before hand, but this is a dry description of the steps they need to complete. I have decided to capture a small clip of the main stages of the practical class so the future students will be able to see what they need to complete before going into the class room. During the lab the students extract urine and hair samples to look for traces of diazepam and metabolites.

Here are the main steps they have completed:


1. Cutting up and weighing the hair samples


2. Sample and solution preparation


3. Incubating the hair in an oven for 2 hours

 4. Injecting some standards onto the HPLC…

5. Extracting drugs from soaked hair

6. Drying the solvent down under nitrogen

7. Last step before HPLC. Adding mobile phase to the dry sample then sonication to ensure all of the drug is in solution


8. Post HPLC data analysis



That’s it! Today was a trial run, but I think it could be a really useful roll to show our students next year.
Any thoughts? Thanks for reading/viewing and feel free to comment

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About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. Dr B is currently a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. And yes... he watches CSI.