Industry News: Waters’ Centers of Innovation Program Recognizes Forensic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Copenhagen

Laboratory applies analytical chemistry to solve drug-related crimes

11 Mar 2016


At a ceremony at the University of Copenhagen, Waters Corporation officially welcomed the University’s Forensic Chemistry Laboratory within the Department of Forensic Medicine into the Waters Centers of Innovation Program.

The laboratory, headed by Professor Kristian Linnet, provides essential drug analysis services to law enforcement and medical examiners who are investigating suicides, suspicious deaths caused by drug overdoses or poisonings, and drug-related crimes. Test results obtained on samples collected at a crime scene or from autopsies - blood, urine, tissue, saliva and hair – are crucial in solving crimes or the causes of accidental or deliberate death. 

“We expect a fruitful collaboration on developing new forensic methods based on mass spectrometry which is an exciting, rapidly developing field,” said Niels Morling, Professor, MD, DMSc, Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dr. Petur Weihe Dalsgaard is a research scientist in the Forensic Chemistry Laboratory. He and his fellow scientists are experts in the development of new analytical methods based on mass spectrometry. In his remarks complimenting the work of Dr. Dalsgaard and his colleagues, Eric Fotheringham, Director - Waters Centers of Innovation Program said, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have the University of Copenhagen and Dr. Dalsgaard participate in our program. Due to popular television series like Making a Murderer and CSI, forensic science is very much in the public eye today. It’s a fascinating science and one that skilled scientists like Petur and his team bring to crime scene investigations every day.”

On a global scale, the social and economic costs of illegal drug use and addiction are hard to come by. Estimates vary, but one thing is for certain: despite hundreds of billions of euros and dollars spent annually in lost productivity and for healthcare and drug enforcement costs, the problem remains.

“The illegal drug trade imposes tremendous costs on society. Lives are ruined and the financial cost to society is enormous. We see the effects every day,” Dr. Dalsgaard said. “Our mission is to quickly provide law enforcement with the best available expertise, along with accurate and unassailable test results that answer some very tough questions.”

For his work Dr. Dalsgaard employs the Waters® ACQUITY® UltraPerformance LC® combined with Xevo® quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometers to measure as many as 3,000 individual compounds in a single analysis. These include individual drug compounds from a number of categories including amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, cocaine, methadone and opiates. 

In a ceremony held on campus, Waters officially saluted the work of Dr. Dalsgaard and the Section of Forensic Chemistry with a forensic science symposium organized in part and sponsored by the Waters Centers of Innovation Program.