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Forensic Toxicology Unit

The Forensic Toxicology Unit was established by Bronwen Davies in 2015. This Unit is a collaborative entity between Forensic Pathology Services and UCT and serves as a Service, Research and Teaching laboratory in forensic toxicology.

The Unit strives to be at the forefront of Forensic Toxicology research and development in South Africa, particularly within post-mortem toxicology. With a newly refurbished laboratory and equipment, including GC-MS and LC-MS/MS technology, the unit provides a strong platform for training current and future scientists in the field of forensic toxicology. Research within the unit is geared towards post-mortem toxicological investigations, drug-facilitated crimes and epidemiological investigations.


  • Post-mortem toxicology:

    • Role of drugs in violent fatalities
    • Detection of genetically-altered drug metabolism in toxicology-related fatalities
    • Drugs and alcohol in road-traffic fatalities
    • Paediatric toxicology
    • Toxicity in fire-related fatalities
    • Pesticide-related fatalities
  • Drug-facilitated crimes:

    • Investigating drug-facilitated sexual assault in dedicated forensic units
  • Analytical toxicology:

    • Method development and validation in various biological specimens using chromatography and mass spectrometry
  • Other topics:

    • Entomotoxicology
    • Drug-related death scene investigation