We are a multidisciplinary laboratory supporting research, service, and teaching and training activities. We conduct research and method development for the chemical analysis of drugs, environmental pollutants, natural products and other toxicants of interest in biological specimens and nonbiological samples.

A student wears gloves, goggles, and a lab coat while working with forensic analysis equipment in a laboratory.

Cannabis Biomarkers Study 

Are you 18+ years old and have you smoked/vaped cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes? If so, you may qualify for this confidential study on cannabis use patterns. Eligible participants who complete the study will receive a $50 cash payment.

  • Study details

    Cannabis contains more than 100 natural “cannabinoid” compounds. This project will focus on observing the type and levels of various natural cannabinoids present in easily collected specimens, including exhaled breath condensate (EBC), saliva, and urine after smoking or vaping marijuana products, in different type of users. The project will also focus on identifying levels of oxidative stress biomarkers present in EBC.

    Qualified participants will be required to meet at the FIU MMC Campus to provide urine, saliva, and EBC samples and to fill out a survey about cannabis/cigarette use. The collection of samples is non-invasive and will consist of simple procedures:

    • Urine: participants will pee in a cup, in private.
    • Saliva: a swab will be placed in the mouth for up to 5 minutes.
    • EBC: participants will breathe normally into a chilled tube for 10 minutes.

    The entire process will take about one hour. This will be a one-time meet; there will be no follow up of any sort. All information collected is confidential and will not be used for any other purposes. Participants will receive cash compensation of $50.

    For additional questions or more information email: cannabis.study.fiu@gmail.com.

  • Participation form
  • Analytical Services

    Our facility may accept contracts for analytical services from academic, commercial and government customers. All contract requests will be considered for feasibility by the facility staff and faculty. Please contact the laboratory manager, Anamary Tarifa, with any questions regarding analytical services in the facility. 

    • Analytical and toxicological testing and validation services for target drugs using state of the art chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques
    • A library of more than 1500 analytical standards for licit and illicit drugs, including NPS and metabolites
    • Screening, qualitative and quantitative analysis of therapeutic and pain management drugs and illicit substances in both biological and non-biological matrices
  • Instrumentation

    Our facility operates state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation applicable to research, training, routine and specialized analytical work and forensic case work. This instrumentation provides the facility with capabilities in robust and reliable ultra-trace analysis of drugs, analysis of toxicologic biomarkers, environmental pollutants, and natural products, in addition to the ability to conduct blood ethanol and volatiles analysis for forensic casework.

    Mass Spectrometers and Chromatographic systems

    Agilent 6530 LC-QTOF MS/MS Mass Spectrometer with 1290 Infinity UHPLC

    Jet Stream ESI technology, and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization capabilities. General unknown screening and confirmation of licit and illicit drugs and other xenobiotics in seized materials and human specimens; metabolite analysis; analysis of peptides and proteins.

    Agilent 6460 and 6470 LC-QQQ MS/MS Mass Spectrometers with 1290 Infinity UHPLC

    Jet Stream ESI technology; both instruments equipped for online SPE. Screening, confirmatory, and quantitative analysis of licit and illicit drugs, including novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and other xenobiotics, in seized materials and human specimens for academic and private sector clients.

    Agilent 7890/5975 GC/MS System with 7693 Automatic Liquid Sampler

    Split/splitless injection port, electron impact (EI) ionization capability and equipped with 150 sample vial tray. Customized method development for private sector and academic research laboratories, including forensic and analytical toxicology screening and quantitative analysis.

    Agilent 7890 Dual-Column GC Equipped with Dual 7683 Autosamplers and Dual µECDs

    Analysis of chlorinated pesticides, PCBs, and other halogenated xenobiotics in human specimens and biota.

    Affiliated instrumentation

    • Laminar flow biohazard hood
    • Labconco RapidVap N2 sample concentrator
    • Paragon kiln for glassware cleaning
    • Pierce sample derivatization station
    • Beckman TL-100 benchtop ultracentrifuge
    • SPE vacuum extraction station
    • Eppendorf Speed-Vac centrifuge
    • Fisher benchtop UV/visible spectrophotometer
    • Tekmar tissue homogenizer
    • Bio-Rad electrophoresis equipment (large gels, mini gels, Western blot apparatus, gel dryer).
  • Rates

    Our facility has established a basic pricing structure for FIU faculty and staff who need to use the equipment in this facility. These are minimum fees required to keep the equipment running properly throughout the year. A separate rate structure applies to external users of the Facility.

    Academic Fee

    InstrumentRate
    LC/MS QQQwith operator $78/hour; w/o operator $37/hour
    LC/MS High Res. (QTOF)with operator $93/hour; w/o operator $70/hour
    GC/MSDwith operator $13/hour; w/o operator $16/hour
    Sample Preparation (LLE,SPE) and Data Analysis$43 per hour
    Method Development$71 per hour
    Training and Laboratory Demos$93 per hour

     Commercial Fee

    InstrumentRate
    LC/MS QQQwith operator $115/hour; w/o operator $55/hour
    LC/MS High Res. (QTOF)with operator $207/ hour; w/o operator $131/hour
    GC/MSDwith operator $20/hour; w/o operator $23/hour
    Sample Preparation (LLE,SPE) and Data Analysis$64 per hour
    Method Development$104 per hour
    Training and Laboratory Demos$156 per hour
  • Facility Research

    Driven by the FIU and International Forensic Research Institute's research mission, our facility plays a key role in assisting faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students to conduct relevant research using state-of-the-art instrumentation and approaches.

    Strong educational support for the law enforcement agencies, academia and forensic laboratories is also provided in our facility. Workshops on modern forensic toxicology techniques, analytical instrumentation, data interpretation and customized method development strategies are offered per request.

    Research projects conducted at the facility under the direction of Dr. DeCaprio are focused on the development and application of analytical methods to enhance the value of scientific evidence in analytical and forensic toxicology. These projects have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice, private sector clients and other funding sources. Examples of past and ongoing research projects in the facility include:

    • Development of ultra-trace LC-QQQ-MS/MS and LC-QTOF-MS/MS methods for the comprehensive screening and confirmation of NPS, including phenethylamines, piperazines, tryptamines, and synthetic cannabinoids, in human specimen matrices such as blood, urine, hair, and oral fluid.
    • Systematic examination of the cross-reactivities of NPS with existing immunoassay screening platforms.
    • Application of in vitro drug metabolism assays to model in vivo metabolism of important drugs of abuse.
    • Development of new technologies for long term monitoring of human exposure to drugs of abuse and chemical warfare agents based on chemical modification of blood proteins.
    • Ultra-trace analysis of polychlorinated biphenyl and other persistent pollutant metabolites by dual-column GC and ECD.
    • Optimization of GC-EI-MS and GC-NCI-MS separation and analysis of abused prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines, hydrocodone and oxycodone, and their metabolites, in human hair and other biological matrices.
    • Evaluation of headspace GC with simultaneous FID and MS detection in blood alcohol and volatiles analysis.
    • Detection of nicotine and metabolites in the extracted blood of hookah smokers by online SPE and LC-QQQ-MS analysis.
    • Detection of organic compounds characteristic of gunshot residues by DART-MS.
    • Method development and analysis of methylphenidate and metabolites in oral fluid by LC-QQQ-MS.
  • Advisory Board
    • Dr. Anthony P. DeCaprio, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry 
    • Dr. Jose R. Almirall, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
    • Dr. Madhavan Nair, Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Immunology, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
    • Dr. Diane M. Boland, Director, Toxicology Laboratory, Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department

Contact Us

Anthony DeCaprio

Anthony Paul DeCaprio

Associate Professor; Director of the Forensic and Analytical Toxicology Facility (FATF); Director of the Forensic Science Certificate Program

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Office: OE 116B

Phone: 305-348-2195; 305-348-2611

Email: adecapr@fiu.edu

Anamary Tarifa

Anamary Tarifa

Postdoctoral Associate

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Office: OE 107, OE 107A, OE 324

Phone: 305-348-0117

Email: atarifa@fiu.edu