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 web

Joseph is a Professor and Head, Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. This appointment followed Joseph establishing the Health Services Research Unit at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University in 1999 after completing a Doctorate of Philosophy examining the epidemiological principles of performance measurement and quality in health care. Joseph’s principal areas of research expertise include quality of clinical care, performance measurement and patient safety, he is a past member of the editorial committee for the International Journal for Quality in Health Care and is a former director on the Board, Aged Care Standards And Accreditation Agency (2002-2012).

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. Joseph is the Clinical Director of Sub-Acute Services and a practicing consultant physician in Aged Care Medicine Ballarat Health Service (2007) providing care for patients in hospital and community settings, Adjunct Professor, Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University, Faculty Of Health Sciences. He was the founding Professor/Director of Aged Care Medicine at Peninsula Health, Monash University (2004-07], this appointment followed the position of Clinical Service Director for Aged Care at the Williamstown Hospital, Western Health.

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).

Joseph was an inaugural and founding member of the Clinical Liaison Service (2002-2009) and the Work Related Investigation Service (2005-2009) at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine assisting the State Coroner’s Office investigating the system failures associated with health care and work related deaths respectively. Joseph’s ongoing research is investigating approaches to reducing harm to older persons living in Residential Aged Care and improving quality of life. Currently supervising PhD scholars who are examining prevention of suicide in nursing homes; prevention of death from choking; prevention of elder abuse related deaths in the community and; barriers and facilitators to implementing dignity of risk in nursing homes.

Joseph is a peer reviewer for over 17 different academic journals including the leading international publications for geriatric medicine (Journal American Geriatric Society; Journal of Aging and Health), injury (Injury Prevention), general medicine (Medical Journal of Australia) and patient safety (Quality and Safety in Health Care; International Journal for Quality in Health Care). Peer reviewer for competitive grants and fellowships in Australia (NHMRC and ARC) and New Zealand (Health Research Council: Public Health).

Joseph served as an examiner for higher degree students internally at Monash University and externally for Deakin University confirmation of candidature PhD, examiner at University of Melbourne for MD and PhD thesis and for the Australian Faculty of Public Health Trainees’ Workplace Reports.

Joseph has led the concept, development, implementation, teaching and co-ordination of Masters in Public Health and Masters of Health Service Management Units including MPH5312 – Advances in managing patient care processes (2016) MPH 5311 Safety and quality in health care (2015), MPH 5042 Climate Change and Public Health (2012) MPH 5285 Human Factors in Health Care (2009), MPH 5286 Applied Patient Safety and Quality Improvement in Health Care (2009), MPH 2060 Preventive Medicine – Policy and Strategies (2000), MPH 5267 Principles of Health Care Quality Improvement (1999). Also, contributed to developing, writing the course content, implementation and teaching of short courses on safety for health care and residential aged care.

Joseph supervision of research includes two completed PhD, 18 Masters students research projects, seven medical practitioners college projects, one Honours student at University of Notre Dame, eight undergraduate Bachelor of Health Science or Biomedical Science placement or RMIT Justice and Legal Internship students. Supervising three PhD students. Continues lecturing undergraduates and postgraduates at Deakin University, University of Melbourne in topics pertaining to the ageing, chronic disease and, legal aspects of ageing.

Joseph has received multiple awards for teaching excellence including the Monash University’s Purple Letter for Teaching Excellence in MPA 5312 Advances in Managing Patient Care Processes (2016), MPH 5042 Climate Change and Public Health (2015), nominated for “Best PhD Supervisor (2016) and nominated for the University of Melbourne Rural Clinical School “Teaching Excellence” Award (2010).

Over the past twenty years Joseph has led or been a co-investigator on fifty research grants and contracts on aged care, healthcare quality and safety projects in excess of $16.2 million, with $4.9 million obtained since 2013. The World Bank, the Commonwealth and State Health Department, NHMRC and VMIA commissioned the majority of these projects.  In 2000, Joseph participated as a consultant for the World Bank Project assisting the development of a system for hospital accreditation in Lebanon and by the Asian Development Bank to co-ordinate courses for Health Care Quality in Indonesia. In March 2001, Joseph completed a three week visit in his capacity as the regional editor of International Journal for Quality in Health Care to the Centre for Quality of Care Research and Education, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston MA, one of the premier international centres researching performance measurement in health care. Other international study visits include to the Human Rights Commission Northern Ireland [2006] Veterans Affairs National Centre for Patient Safety, Michigan USA [2006] and University of Tokyo [2006].

Joseph’s research has been the subject of four national commercial and public television interviews or feature news stories, 29 national and state commercial and public broadcast radio interviews and 60 international and national print or on-line media articles. The most recent research into premature deaths of nursing home residents was broadcasts and distributed through media publications in June 2017 reaching over 5.7 million people in Australia equivalent to one in every five people in the country.

Joseph continues to publish in national and international journals. Joseph has a proven ability to establish, lead and manage large research, education and clinical projects that require contribution and co-ordination of multi-disciplinary teams with broad industry input at national and international levels in the field of aged care, patient safety and quality of health care.

Joseph has published over 200 papers including 114 articles in peer review journals, 20 in other academic journals and conference papers, 13 books, monographs and book chapters, 23 reports (nine are commercial in confidence), and over 90 issues of printed educational materials. Invited to speak at 209 conferences, seminar or workshops including 30 international and 87 national occasions, with another 33 oral presentations and 67 published abstracts and posters at national and international conferences. Joseph has led or contributed as a conference, seminar organiser or convenor on 13 occasions.

Joseph has authored eight articles published in the popular press “The Conversation” an independent source of web based open access news and views and as 28 Sep 2017 these had 157,323 readers and 510 comments. Professor Ibrahim is also a producer, co-writer and narrator of three short films about ethical issues in persons with dementia and ageing including Dignity of Risk (2017), Not for resuscitation and dementia (2015), Driving and dementia (2013). These have widespread viewership on YouTube and are used in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in medical and nursing schools.

The film Dignity of Risk was won multiple awards including ‘Best Narrative Film’ at Global Impact Film Festival (Washington DC Aug 2017) and is the official selection with laurels for five other festivals including the Awareness Festival (Los Angeles Oct 2017), Atlantic City Festival (New Jersey Oct 2017), United Nations Association Film Festival (San Francisco Oct 2017), American Association Public Health (Atlanta Nov 2017).

Joseph is the inaugural and continuing editor of Residential Aged Care Communiqué (established 2006, 5564 subscribers and 43 issues) and the Future Leaders Communiqué (2016, 2493 subscribers, 4 issues) and the consulting editor of the Clinical Communiqué (2003, 6724 subscribers, 43 issues) these are published quarterly. He co-conceived, developed, established and distributed these innovative professional educational materials to make better use of existing medico-legal death investigations from the Coroners Court to improve resident and patient safety. The results of multiple formal evaluations include publication in BMJ Open, JAGS, AHR indicate over half the subscribers report a change in their practice.



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 Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, Founding Fellow Faculty of Science, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia and a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship (2013) and an Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Research Fellowship (2014). Soren is also the current Chair of the Medical Sciences Scientific Advisory Group (MS-SAG) and a member of the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Pathology and Anthropology Sub 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; 2016) and co-authored an Atlas of Skeletal Trauma in Medico-Legal Contexts (2018). 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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