The following are the current LTG Committee members.
Mark Parkin undertook his undergraduate sandwich year placement at the Medical Toxicology Laboratory at New Cross where he continued to work part-time following the completion of his chemistry degree. Mark then undertook a PhD in electrochemistry and biosensors, following this up with a 2-year post-doctoral position at the University of Michigan where he obtained his training in mass spectrometry. A return to both King’s College London (KCL) and analytical toxicology was achieved by working as a research fellow in the Drug Control Centre were he went on to obtain a lectureship in Analytical Science. Together with Dr. Andrew Kicman he helped develop, and in recent years run, the MSc. Analytical Toxicology programme at KCL. The commercial sector beckoned and Mark now works as a Senior Examiner for the Toxicology Department at the newly formed Eurofins Forensic Services. He has a visiting lectureship with KCL and still contributes to the MSc programme. Mark’s research interests have focused on the development of highly sensitive hyphenated mass spectrometry methodologies for the detection of drugs and their metabolites in alternative matrices such as hair and saliva. Mark has been a member of LTG for over ten years and has presented his research to the group on numerous occasions.
Peter Maskell started his career as a Pharmacologist graduating with BSs (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Portsmouth in 1996. Following graduation he worked at Wyeth Laboratories as Quality Control Analyst until starting a PhD investigating GABAA receptors at Oxford Brookes University in 1997. He was awarded his PhD in 2001. This was followed by postdoctoral research as a KTP associate at Oxford Brookes University (in collaboration with Vernalis) and the University of Birmingham.
In 2005 he was appointed as a Pharmacology Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol. In 2009 he became a Lecturer in Forensic Toxicology/ Reporting Forensic Toxicologist at the University of Dundee. As part of his remit he was responsible for quality management of the forensic toxicology laboratory that provided analysis of various post-mortem samples for the Central, Tayside and Fife regions of Scotland under contract from the Scottish Crown Office for unexplained death cases. In 2013 Dr Peter Maskell moved to the University of Huddersfield to take up the position of Senior Lecturer in Forensic Toxicology. In 2017 he moved to Abertay University in Dundee. His research is focussed on uncertainty of measurement (particularly in alcohol calculations), post-mortem drug redistribution, novel psychoactive substances and interpretation in forensic toxicology. Apart from LTG, he is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, UKIAFT and TIAFT.
Out Going Chair
Following her degree Claire gained an MSc in Toxicology and then a PhD from The University of Birmingham. She started her career in the public sector where she qualified as a registered Clinical Scientist. During this time she also gained registration as a toxicologist, and is currently recognised as a EuroTox Registered Toxicologist. Claire has over 14 years experience in drug testing including clinical and forensic toxicology and workplace drug testing in both the public and private sector.
Claire holds a visiting Lectureship at Kings College London and also lecturers on the MSc Toxicology course run by The University of Birmingham. She was Secretary to the LTG for 11 years before being elected to the role of Vice Chairman. She also served as a board member of the European Workplace Drug testing Society (EWDTS) for 6 years. During her time on the Board of the EWDTS she contributed to the development of peer reviewed guidelines for drug testing in oral fluid. Claire is also a past council member of the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology and a member of The International Association of Forensic Toxicology.
Susannah Davies possesses an MSc in forensic science and has been employed as a forensic toxicologist for Analytical Services International, ASI Ltd (formerly The Analytical Unit) at St George's, University of London, under the supervision of Prof David Holt and Prof Atholl Johnston, since 2004. Susannah's main area of practice is the toxicological analysis of biological samples submitted on behalf of coroners, police, clinicians and other health professionals. She is also involved in case reporting and interpretation of analytical results. ASI Ltd is a GLP/GCP compliant laboratory and Susannah's additional role of Facility Quality Co-ordinator ensures the laboratory maintains its compliance.
She frequently attends LTG (formerly London Toxicology Group) meetings and presents regularly at these and other meetings on the subject of newly-introduced designer drugs. She has been involved in researching designer drugs in collaboration with Mr John Ramsey, TICTAC Communications at St George's, since she completed her MSc project with him in 2004. This work involves characterising tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders associated with the dance scene. She has now attended four Glastonbury Music festivals and advised Avon and Somerset police in the identification of recreational drugs on site.
Susannah has published 21 peer-reviewed original papers in leading journals (5 first author). She has also presented 18 posters at international conferences such as The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) and the International Association for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT), for which she is a member of the Young Scientists Committee. She was recently included in the UK Register of Toxicologists as an European Registered Toxicologist (ERT).
Susannah has been involved in teaching for several years, conveying routine case work, research and structured reading to others. She has been involved in assisting in the training of students from the MSc Analytical Toxicology course (Queen Mary, University of London). She also lectures regularly on MBBS, BSc and MSc courses for other Colleges and Universities.
Professor Johnston is Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, visiting Professor of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology at St George’s University of London, and the Director of the laboratory of Analytical Services International Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, the British Pharmacological Society, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Royal Statistical Society. He is a Chartered Scientist, a European Registered Toxicologist, and a state registered Clinical Scientist.
Professor Johnston has more than 40 years’ experience in the measurement of drugs as a guide to therapy. He has published over two hundred and sixty articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of issues relating to pharmacokinetics and dynamics, drug quality and patient outcomes. His research interests are in drug quality, clinical trial design and statistical data analysis, modelling pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and in the optimal use of drugs with particular reference to immunosuppresive, cardiovascular, analgesic and anti-cancer drugs.
Professor Johnston is a member of the Hong Kong Pharmacy and Poisons Board and he has contributed to, and written, expert reports for submission to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, the European Medicine Evaluation Agency (EMA), the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Health Canada, the South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) and other international drug regulatory authorities. His evidence to Health Canada, the Danish Medicines Control Agency, and the EMA regarding the short comings of bioequivalence assessment has contributed to the revision of the Canadian and European regulatory guidance on this matter.
He maintains his interest and practice in forensic toxicology and has given evidence in many criminal trials and at the inquests into many high profile deaths including those of Alexander McQueen, Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed. He was a member of the panel of experts that advised the Department of Transport and the Home Office on the revision of the drug-driving laws in England and Wales.
Corporate Liaison Officer
Peter began his career in Analytical Toxicology at Cardiff Bioanalytical Services in 1994, carrying out analysis of clinical trials samples for CBS and hair samples for the then fledgling Tricho-Tech business. He then worked for 9 years for the Health and Safety Laboratory. As part of his role there he was involved in the development and use of analytical techniques for monitoring workers exposure to chemicals. He carried out novel research into chemical exposure, and also contributed to the advice given to government to support their policies. It was also here that he began a long association with the analysis of drugs of abuse in oral fluid. This continued when he joined Cozart (now Alere Toxicology) in 2005, where he had overall responsibility for the oral fluid testing laboratory for many years. In this role he oversaw the provision of a drug testing services to the workplace, drug addiction treatment and criminal justice sectors in particular. As Senior Toxicologist he is now focussed on providing toxicological advice and support to the analytical service users, technical training to analytical staff and provision of specialist training to groups such as Medical Review Officers.
Peter has been a member of the LTG for over 12 years as well as The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) for 8 years. He has published peer reviewed papers and given oral presentations at international conferences and to the LTG. Additionally, he was a member of the forum that developed the UK guidelines for legally defensible workplace drug testing in oral fluid.
Having completed the PGCAPHE he contributes widely to teaching in the Department of Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences including acting as Module Lead for two MSc courses. Within wider university life, he is a representative on the faculty Research Staff Network committee and co-led the establishment of the Waterloo Research Society for researchers. He published multiple publications in the field of analytical toxicology, has written two book chapters and also been involved in several STEM outreach programmes.
Current research interests include the use of gonadotropins to detect steroid administration, the analysis of seized steroid material and its implications to anti-doping, the use of alternative matrices for anti-doping analysis, and novel methods of sample preparation.
Lewis Couchman is currently the Facility Director at Analytical Services International, based at St Georges, University of London. His current role involves overseeing the development, implementation, and routine analysis of biological samples for TDM, forensic and clinical toxicology, and for the support of clinical trials. Lewis completed his BSc degree at Loughborough University, his MSc and Clinical Scientist Training courses at Queen Mary University of London and King’s College Hospital, and his PhD at the University of Leicester. Additionally, Lewis is a committee member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Separation Science Group, a committee member of the London Toxicology Group, and a member of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists and the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology.
Jeffery Hackett, MSc PhD F-ABFT CSci CChem FRSC
Born, raised and educated in Liverpool, UK, Dr. Hackett received his first degree from the Royal Society of Chemistry (Grad.RSC). The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) also awarded him Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci) status. He holds a MSc degree in Instrumental Chemical Analysis, and a PhD in Forensic Analytical Toxicology from Liverpool John Moores University. Dr. Hackett is a member of LTG, SOFT, TIAFT, and a Fellow of AAFS and as well as a Fellow of the RSC. After leaving Liverpool in 2002, (where he worked for over 17 years reporting to several of HM Coroners on Merseyside) he took up the post of Supervising Toxicologist at the Center for Forensic Sciences where he worked with the Chief Medical Examiner, Director of Laboratories, and the District Attorney for Onondaga County. In this position he also testified in the Syracuse judicial area from 2003-2007. He relocated to Pennsylvania to take up research posts at NTR, and latterly UCT Inc. In 2014, was awarded Diplomate status of American Board of Forensic Toxicology (D-ABFT later Fellow (F-ABFT)). Dr. Hackett has been a long time member of Syracuse University Project Advance having been on board since its inception, working with Prof. James Spencer on the Forensic Toxicology aspect of the workshops. In 2015-2016, Dr. Hackett held the position of Forensic Toxicology Supervisor at Office of Chief Medical Examiner in San Francisco, USA where he was certified as Forensic Blood Alcohol Supervisor by California Department of Public Health (Title 17) and testified in California courts. Dr. Hackett’s research interests lie in the area of Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) of drugs /poisons from difficult matrices such as post mortem fluids/tissues and analysis by chromatographic systems coupled to mass spectrometers. He is a contributing author, presenter and reviewer for in journals such as Forensic Science International, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Drug Testing and Analysis, Journal of Chromatographic Sciences and conferences such as AAFS/ SOFT and TIAFT annual meetings.
Alex Lawson is a Consultant Clinical Scientist and Forensic Toxicologist at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham. After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a 1 st class degree in Biochemistry he then undertook a PhD centred on the study of the structure/function relationship of the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11βHSD1). Following on from his PhD he then began training as a Clinical Scientist in Clinical Biochemistry at the Heart of England Foundation Trust.
In 2013, together with Dr Steve George, Alex founded the Toxicology Laboratory at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital. This department offers a comprehensive analytical and interpretive service for the investigation of acute poisoning and health monitoring. This work is performed for both clinical and forensic purposes. In this role Alex developed a large number of UKAS accredited assays for drug screening and quantitation using a number of chromatographic techniques with and without mass spectrometry. He also has extensive experience in the analysis of trace elements in biological fluids. Recent research has been focused on screening for drug adherence in chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and HIV and on using high resolution mass spectrometry to identify novel psychoactive substances.
Apart from LTG, Alex is a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath), a member of the chartered society of forensic sciences (MCSFS), a member of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and is on the UK Register of Toxicologists.
Jay Schlesinger is currently working as a GLP Study Director / LC-MS Scientist at ABS Laboratories. His position covers the supervision and conduct of method validation and regulated bioanalysis as well as study and IT management within the laboratory.
Jay finished his BSc (Hons) degree in Forensic Sciences at Abertay University, his MSc degree in Analytical Toxicology at King’s College London and also attended the Diploma in Forensic Medical Sciences course at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to ABS Laboratories, Jay worked in the Toxicology Team at LGC Forensics and in the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences Group at The James Hutton Institute.
Besides the LTG, Jay is also a member of The Royal Society of Chemistry, The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and The Research Quality Association.
Paul Smith has been a Consultant Clinical Scientist and Forensic Toxicologist at the University of Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust since 2012, and has worked in the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory at Leicester Royal Infirmary for over 14 years. He is the lead for Specialist Chemistry at UHL which includes the clinical and forensic toxicology services. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Medicinal Chemistry, a Master of Science in Applied Biochemistry, a Master of Science in Clinical Biochemistry and a Doctor of Philosophy in Medicinal Chemistry. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Scientist.
He has extensive experience in the field of clinical and forensic toxicology and has written over 15,000 forensic toxicology reports. He is also an Honorary Principal Lecturer in Forensic Chemical Pathology and Toxicology at De Montfort University and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester. He has published original scientific literature, review articles and a book chapter on both clinical biochemistry and forensic toxicology. In addition to LTG, he is a member of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Royal Society of Chemistry, and the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists (UKIAFT). He has a particular interest in the recent emergence of new psychoactive substances working closely with HM Coroners, drug rehabilitation centres and the police; a number of his publications are in this area.
Rob Tunbridge is an independent consultant specialising in driver impairment due to alcohol, drugs and fatigue. He is a member of the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety, an Assistant Editor of the international journal “Addiction”, and a member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Legal and Forensic Medicine. He is also member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) and the London Toxicology Group (LTG). Rob is an Associate Lecturer at Cranfield University.
Until 2004 Rob was Head of Impairment Studies at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). Previously he was Research Programme Manager in the Road Safety Division at the Department for Transport (DfT) and was responsible for the research programme into drink driving, drug driving and driver fatigue. Rob was a member of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on ‘Sensible Drinking’, which established the current recommended daily alcohol consumption limits for men and women.
Rob has acted as a consultant to both the Automobile Association (AA) and the RAC Foundation on drug driving and currently have that role for PACTS. He has been actively involved with most of the recent research in the UK and Europe on drugs and driving. This has included the initial evaluation of national police training in recognising drug-impaired drivers.
Rob is a regular peer reviewer for several traffic safety journals and has a broad experience in expert witness work, having provided a considerable number of forensic reports to police, solicitors and consultants. Rob is recognised both nationally and internationally as an expert in this area.