The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) provides a premium forensic analytical toxicology and molecular testing biology service. Our forensic science laboratories provide specialist analyses and expert opinions, and evidence-based interpretation in a wide range of medico-legal investigations.
The VIFM screens a variety of specimens, illicit drugs and a large range of over- the-counter and prescription drugs. Testing conducted for the police and the courts underpins our understanding of alcohol and drug use in the community and we are able to provide accurate drug data for sporting organisations, compliance authorities and regulatory bodies that have a need for a reliable drug testing service. Our laboratory provides a number of other specialist services:
Our comprehensive hair testing drug service offers retrospective and long-term drug use analysis. Unlike blood or urine tests which only detect recent drug use, hair testing can reveal long-term exposure to a drug. This produces evidence in situations where establishing a pattern of drug use is relevant.
The VIFM provides a complete service from hair sample collection to analysis and reporting.
Once samples are received, our laboratory can provide analytical data on the presence or absence of 63 drugs
A report will be generated within five working days from receipt of sample. The range of drugs includes an extended panel of prescription and illicit drugs, common synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones
If required, our forensic experts can also appear in court to attest to the validity and accuracy of our laboratory test results.
Comprehensive toxicology service
Our laboratory provides comprehensive analytical drug testing services for drugs and poisons in a variety of specimens, including blood, urine, hair as well as a range of post mortem specimens. Currently we can provide a rapid service for approximately 327 drugs in blood.
The VIFM forensic laboratories are ISO-accredited and meet the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation standards. In addition to meeting national forensic science standards, all our laboratory tests are validated and fully documented.
How can I access toxicology testing services?
Accurate interpretation of drugs in hair requires the right expertise. Our teams are led by world-renowned experts in this field. Having an ISO-17025 accredited forensic laboratory undertaking this specialised analysis – along with the option of onsite sample collection – guarantees the highest quality throughout every step of the analytical process.
Based in Victoria, our laboratory can service other Australian states and neighbouring countries. In addition to analytical services, our consultancy services include expert opinions, interpretation and court testimony.
Please provide us with your name and contact details and a short description of the service you are seeking. A member of our staff will contact you directly to discuss the matter and request any further documentation that is required.
DNA analysis entails the recovery of DNA from a sample with the objective of generating a DNA profile for comparison or information purposes. Our Molecular Biology Laboratory is NATA accredited to perform DNA analysis using nuclear DNA (nDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profiling techniques. Samples submitted for analysis are processed using robust, validated methodology, with the reported finding submissible as evidence in courts.
As part of our core functions, we establish the identity of deceased individuals who are reported to the Coroners Court of Victoria. We have a purpose built laboratory to assist in the identification of deceased persons, through the provision of nDNA and mtDNA analysis for kinship or direct matching.
In partnership with Victoria Police, the VIFM also provides DNA services to assist with cold case and missing persons investigations. In particular, the use of mtDNA profiling to assist with the analysis of compromised samples (such as hairs or skeletal remains). Additionally we support organisations in the investigation of a range of matters including criminal, missing persons, sample mix-up or tampering, as well as civil disputes.
Our Specialist Services
The VIFM only engages with organisations such as police jurisdictions, hospitals and other professional agencies; as well as medical or legal representatives for civil matters. We are unable to deal directly with clients who are the subject of the DNA analysis and we do not provide DNA services for paternity testing for Family Law Act matters.
Kinship comparisons - using nuclear DNA analysis
Due to its unique nature and mode of inheritance, nDNA analysis can be used to establish biological relationships (such as parentage or sibship) from samples analysed.
We undertake kinship comparisons using nDNA analysis by investigating 24 regions of the DNA (including sex determination) to yield DNA profiles for kinship comparison. The likelihood (or probability) of the relationship in question is then investigated. The findings are provided in a written report and presented in court (as needed).
We have extensive experience in the recovery and analysis of nDNA, in particular, from challenging samples such as skeletal remains.
Through the application of mtDNA profiling, the laboratory has assisted in a number of high profile missing persons and cold case investigations across Australia.
Direct comparisons - using nuclear DNA analysis
As nDNA is unique to individuals (except for identical twins), nDNA profiling can be used to determine if a sample of interest has originated from the known or suspected donor; with the likelihood (or probability) of a match reported. Hence, nDNA profiling can be used to verify the identity of a sample if the sample's origin or chain-of-custody is in question. The findings are provided in a written report and presented in court (as needed).
The VIFM has extensive experience in the recovery and analysis of nDNA, in particular, from compromised samples such as histology slides, fixed tissue blocks or urine.
The VIFM forensic laboratories are ISO-accredited and meet the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation standards. In addition to meeting national forensic science standards, all our laboratory tests are validated, and fully documented.
The laboratory is accredited for compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 (Accreditation #13171) for DNA testing under the scope of DNA typing, kinship testing and analysis of mitochondrial DNA.
Direct comparisons - using mitochondrial DNA profiling
The sensitivity of mtDNA analysis makes it particularly useful in criminal or forensic investigations, often recovered from samples from which nDNA cannot be obtained for conventional STR typing. The samples suitable for mtDNA analysis include human hair shafts, skeletal remains (bones and teeth), or any other biological samples (such as blood stains or tissue blocks). A direct comparison of mtDNA profiles can be used to include or exclude a sample from having originated from a person of interest (or a maternal relative) – with the frequency of the mtDNA profile(s) reported.
Contact Commercial Services
Please provide us with your name and contact details and a short description of the service you are seeking. A member of our staff will contact you directly and can answer any questions you may have regarding sample suitability for analysis, transportation and chain-of-custody, as well as time frames and costs.