Dr. Mark L. Miller to Speak at Joint CSW/WCDG Meeting in November

On November 17, Dr. Mark L. Miller, Research Chemist at the FBI Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit, will speak at a joint meeting of the Chemical Society of Washington, and the Washington Chromatography Discussion Group. Meeting logistics can be found on the next page.

Abstract: Challenges in Forensic Separations

The popularity of forensic science on TV shows and movies has glamorized forensic scientists and their work for the last couple of decades. But can you really inject a DNA sample in your GC and instantly obtain the name and address for the criminal? Can your arsenal of instruments perform an analysis and find a chemical database for every reference material related to the evidence? While practicing chemists recognize that this is not the case in real life, we can be thankful that these TV shows inspire many young people to seek careers in science. Research in forensics manifests many challenges as new and unusual samples present themselves in casework. One of the first tasks of a researcher is to determine the relevant target molecule(s) and the matrix one must analyze. Often in casework these are common matrices such as biological material (e.g. blood, urine, etc.) or an environmental sample (e.g. soil, water, etc.).  But many times there is a twist to the complexities of getting the right results. For example, who could have foreseen that one day we would need to or be able to detect drugs in bugs or hair? Forensic chemistry research deals with these challenges by developing new methods that require both a separation of a complex mixture and a detection technique. The evolving threats mean that both small and large, organic and inorganic chemicals must be separated and analyzed for evidence examinations. GC and LC are the most useful tools for the separation of complex mixtures for everything from hydrogen peroxide to ricin. One of the tricks to effective use of chromatography is to have adequate retention of your analyte on the separation column, which from review of the literature is not always present in forensic practice. This talk will provide real examples of improved and new methods developed for different types of evidence for application in toxicology and explosives casework.


Bio: Dr. Mark L. Miller

Mark L Miller is a Research Chemist at the FBI Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit in Quantico, Virginia. He has been working on various chromatographic and mass spectrometric applications in forensic science since joining the FBI in 1992. His research interests include trace analysis in toxicology, drugs, explosives, chemicals, and materials. Prior to working at the FBI, he was a Senior Research Chemist for Monsanto Chemical Company in the R&D group. Dr. Miller received a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was under the direction of Professors Richard Linton and James Jorgenson. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University in Bloomington and did research in Professor Milos Novotny’s lab. He is an avid Tarheel fan and from a family of UNC graduates or impending graduates.

Joint CSW/WCDG Meeting Logistics

Date: Thursday, November 17

Time: 6:00 p.m. social hour, 7:00 p.m. Presentation

Location: ACS Headquarters, Marvel Hall, 1155 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC

Menu:  Kabobs of beef, chicken, and vegetables with saffron scented rice and tzatziki sauce, Cyprus salad, hummus with pita chips, traditional and chocolate dipped baklava. Vegetarian option: Paella Peppers (bell peppers filled with saffron rice, sweet peas and roasted onions and tomatoes), black bean salad, kale salad, sun-dried sour cherry tiger cookies

RSVP by noon Tuesday, November 15 – [email protected] or by phone (messages only: 202-659-2650).

Please provide the names in your party when you RSVP.  The public is invited to attend.

You may attend the talk only, but reservations are appreciated.

If you need any further information or would like to make a reservation, please contact the CSW office by email at [email protected] or by voicemail at 202.659.2650

Parking:  Parking is available in nearby commercial parking garages. Please be aware that garage closing times vary. Parking is also available on the street after 6:30 pm, but be aware that most parking meters are in effect until 10:00 pm and may be limited to 2 hours. You should check the individual meters for details and payment methods as some are no longer coin-operated.

Metro: Blue/Orange/Silver Line: McPherson Square or Farragut West. Red Line: Farragut North.