December 14, 2022

Bench scientists and student researchers are often under-represented at forensic science conferences due to budgetary constraints. To encourage the participation of young researchers, the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) supports three prestigious awards: the Young Scientist Meeting Award, the Master Level Educational Research Award, and the Doctorate Level Educational Research Award. This year, NIJ-funded researchers earned recognition for their exceptional work in each of the three categories....

The awards are presented annually to assist with conference-related travel expenses. Three awardees, Tyson Baird, Bailey Jones, and Laerissa Reveil, hailed from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where they completed research in Dr. Michelle Peace’s Laboratory for Forensic Toxicology Research (LFTR). Dr. Peace’s lab focuses on developing analytical methods for understanding novel psychoactive substances, legal drugs, and over-the-counter medications. Her current NIJ grant supports the study of electronic cigarettes as an illicit drug delivery system and the impacts of vaping ethanol.

The fourth recipient, Sara Walton, performed her research at the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation’s Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) where she worked as a forensic toxicology mentor in the Forensic Science Mentoring Institute. Her research has focused on developing a quantitative method for novel synthetic opioids. 

The Young Scientist Meeting Award celebrates outstanding bench-level research by scientists with five years or less experience working in the field of toxicology. First awarded in 2003, the award was presented to two scientists this year.

Read the Full Arcticle on the Forensic Toxicologists Taking the Top Awards for NIJ-Funded Reseach