Researcher Profiles


Olaf Drummer 300 x 200

Professor Olaf H. Drummer, Dr.h.c.(Antwerp), FFSC, FRCPA, FACBS, CChem, PhD (Melb), BAppSc(RMIT) is a forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist. He is Deputy Director (Academic Programs) at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Drummer completed his PhD from Melbourne University in 1980, and also has an honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the university of Antwerp (2016).  He has been involved in the analysis of drugs and poisons, and the interpretation of their biological effects, for over 40 years. He has published extensively in the fields of forensic pharmacology and analytical toxicology, including in over 250 peer reviewed scientific papers in journals, chapters, and has written 3 books.  He has acted as an expert forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist in hundreds of cases in Australia and in other parts of the world.

He is a past President of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) and is the inaugural and current President of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia (FACTA inc). He is also a member of a number of national and international associations. He is the editor for toxicology and drug manuscripts for Forensic Science International, and sits on editorial boards of a number of journals.  He is also a honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA), a founding fellow of the Faculty of Science within the RCPA; and a fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists (ACBS).

His research interests are impact of drugs in road trauma, interpretation of toxicology data in forensic medicine, and adverse effects of drugs.



Prof Joseph Ibrahim webJoseph is the Head of the Health Law and Ageing Research UnitDepartment of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and contributes to the research and teaching activities of the Centre of Research Excellence in Patient Safety, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Joseph is also an Adjunct Professor, Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Joseph has extensive clinical experience and continues an active role as a practising Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine and is the Clinical Director of the Subacute Services at the Ballarat Health Service.

In the early 2002, Joseph started researching the role of medico-legal death investigations for improving workplace, patient and resident safety and continues with a several projects examining quality of clinical care, quality of aged care, promoting dignity of risk, patient safety and human factors, performance indicators and effects of extreme heat on health in older persons. Currently, Joseph and the team is funded by the Commonwealth for Capacity Building of Aged Care Services to Deliver High Quality Care-Activity 4-Z3PAUP–Injury prevention for residents living in aged care services.

Doctoral candidates with the Unit are investigation preventable deaths from suicide and resident-to-resident aggression; deaths from choking and; barriers to implementing dignity of risk in aged care services. In 2016-17 we anticipate commencing research investigating health care related premature deaths investigated by the coroner in Australia over the past decade.

He is the current editor of the Residential Aged Care Communiqué, the consultant editor for the Clinical Communiqué and a former regional editor for the International Journal for Quality in Health Care (2000-2004). Joseph continues to publish widely in international peer-reviewed journals and received mass media attention for research into premature deaths of nursing home residents and promoting risk taking for enhancing quality of life. Joseph has a personal website to promote discussion with the general public on issues we face with a growing ageing population (see web site

Joseph has a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1994), obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Epidemiology and Health Services Research (1999 Monash investigating the relationship between quality of care and performance indicators), Fellowship of the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (2000) and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (2001 Monash).



Joan Ozanne-Smith

Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith MBBS, MA (prelim), MPH, MD, FAFPHM is a Research Professor at the Monash University Department of Forensic Medicine located at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. She heads the Prevention Research Unit focusing principally on injury prevention research and data systems. Joan has qualifications in medicine, public health and sociology, a research Doctorate in injury epidemiology and a Fellowship of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Her injury prevention research is multidisciplinary, interfacing the methods of epidemiology and public health with those of other disciplines. Her current research interests include injury prevention in low and middle income countries, safe design, drowning prevention and injury data systems.  Other interests include translation of research to prevention and building intellectual capacity in injury prevention. Joan’s research is recognized widely through publications, awards and international invitations for consultancies and keynote presentations. She is a co-editor of the 2008 WHO/UNICEF World Report on Child Injury Prevention and the 2014 WHO Global Report on Drowning and was a Principal Investigator on the ARC Discovery Grant led by Assoc Prof Jane Freemantle: A mortality profile of Victoria’s Aboriginal (and non-Aboriginal) children 1998-2008 using an innovative method and research process




Dr Jennifer Pilgrim

Dr Pilgrim is a forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist. She currently head the Drug Harm Prevention Unit at VIFM. Her key research areas include the involvement of alcohol, prescription medications and illicit drugs in sudden and unexpected death, with a particular focus on adverse drug reactions, inappropriate prescribing and pharmacogenetics.

Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Pharmacology (2006) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Forensic Medicine (2011) from Monash University. She is a Victoria Fellow (2013) and recipient of the 2013 award by the Australian French Association for Science & Technology. She is also Principle Investigator (Australia) of the “Toxicolist” project, a multi-national research venture in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Dr Pilgrim is a member of numerous professional societies and holds executive committee roles in the Australian French Association for Science & Technology and the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct Early Medical Career Researchers group, in addition to editorial and media roles within the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association.

She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and is co-author on a book chapter in The Handbook of Forensic Medicine. Dr Pilgrim currently supervises 3 PhD students and acts as a peer reviewer for over 10 journals. She is Chair of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Research Forum and regularly presents her work to academic and community audiences. Dr Pilgrim has a national media profile, having appeared on television, radio and in the print media.


  • Adverse drug reactions, pharmacogenetics and inappropriate prescribing
  • Prescription opioids and amphetamine-type stimulants
  • Pharmaceutical drug misuse and abuse


  • Trends and patterns in drug related deaths in Australia
  • Road trauma in Victoria: the impact of alcohol, drugs and recidivist offending
  • Pharmaceutical drug-related deaths in Australia: doctor shopping and misuse of prescription drugs
  • Drug-related death in medical practitioners and health professionals
  • Clinical vs. forensic toxicology across the globe: a collaborative study with INSERM, France
  • “Toxicolist”: building the world’s first evidence-based reference database for toxic drug concentrations, in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute and National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden



Dr Richard Bassed

Richard is the Head of Teaching and Training, as well as Senior Forensic Odontologist and coordinator of Identification Services, at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Melbourne, Australia. He has a Bachelors degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from the department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. Richard is a Fellow of the Faculty of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology within the RCPA, and is the course coordinator for the Monash University Masters of Forensic Medicine. Richard has extensive experience in disaster victim identification, both nationally and internationally, regularly presenting at international conferences and publishing in the forensic medical literature.

Richard’s research interests include; forensic dental aspects of post-mortem dual energy CT interpretation, development of new population specific age estimation protocols to assist with the determination of the legal status of unknown age asylum seekers, craniofacial superimposition for identification, mass disaster victim identification, and evidential aspects of bite-mark analysis.





Soren Blau

Dr Soren Blau is the Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. She is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, Founding Fellow Faculty of Science, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australiasia and a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship (2013) and an Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Research Fellowship (2014). Soren is also currently the Chair of the Medical Sciences Scientific Advisory Group (MS-SAG) and a member of the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Anthropology Sub-Group (part of the INTERPOL Pathology Working Group).

In addition to publishing peer reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters, Soren co-edited the Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (2009) (which is being revised for a second edition in 2016), and is currently co-authoring an Atlas of Skeletal Trauma in Medico-Legal Contexts (Elsevier). Soren currently supervises one PhD student and acts as a peer reviewer for a number of osteology, forensic science and medicine, and transitional justice journals.

Soren’s research interests include:

  • the use of forensic anthropology evidence in the investigation of human rights abuses;
  • aspects of human identification including the development of Australian population specific forensic anthropology data;
  • the use of CT data in trauma evidence presentation at court, and
  • the detection and investigation of mass graves.



Dimitri Gerostamoulos 2 - 300 x 200Dr Dimitri Gerostamoulos is currently Head of Forensic Science and Chief Toxicologist, at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. He is a Toxicologist and Pharmacologist and holds a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine) in the field of Forensic Toxicology and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree, both from Monash University. He is an approved analyst under Section 57B of the Road Safety Act of Victoria and has published numerous scientific papers and chapters in books and is a board member of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT).

He is also a member the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), Society of Hair Testing (SOHT) and the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australasia (FACTA Inc). Dr Gerostamoulos is also an approved assessor for the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) in Forensic Science.

Dr Gerostamoulos has given evidence in cases in Supreme court, County court, Committal proceedings at Magistrates Court and at Coronial Inquests in the field of forensic toxicology and pharmacology and have provided opinions on a number of other cases around Australia in relation to the pharmacology of drugs, effects of drugs in drivers, and analytical and toxicological issues in relation to drugs in hair, blood, urine and other matrices.




Dr Dadna HartmanDr Dadna Hartman is the Manager of the Molecular Biology Laboratory, and Chief Molecular Biologist, at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Dadna is a science professional with a PhD (majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology) and over twenty years of laboratory, administrative, and research experience.  Following the completion of her post-graduate studies on mammalian molecular chaperones, she began her postdoctoral career as a Howard Hughes Associate at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the USA, working with Professor Joseph Sambrook.  Upon returning to Australia, she briefly joined the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne, before moving to the Department of Primary Industries where she enjoyed a long tenure working on molecular vaccines.

In 2008, she joined the VIFM as Manager of the Molecular Biology Laboratory, leading the team through the 2009 Victorian Bushfires DVI response, and enjoying the challenges posed by human identification (particularly challenging cases).  Since her appointment at the VIFM, Dadna has been a member of the Biology Special Advisory Group (BSAG) to SMANZFL (Senior Managers Australia and New Zealand Forensic Laboratories), and is also an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University.  Dadna works closely with Victorian Police on Missing Persons and Cold Case investigations, and maintains the Victorian Missing Persons DNA Database.  During her tenure at VIFM, Dadna has successfully lead a number of research projects, with current areas of interest including:

  • The validation of novel sample types (such as bladder swabs and toenail clippings) as sources of DNA for human identification in difficult cases;
  • The evaluation of MPS platforms for SNP analysis of markers of disease diagnosis for postmortem examination (molecular autopsy); and
  • The evaluation of MPS platforms for mitochondrial DNA profiling to assist in coronial investigations


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