Announcements & News

August 2013

Marshall University Forensic Science spring graduate wins scholarship from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Sciences

David Eckre, a spring graduate of the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program, received a $1,000 scholarship award from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Sciences at its annual meeting in May.

At the meeting, Eckre presented the results of his research on synthetic cannabinoids during an internship with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory (USACIL) in Atlanta, Ga., last summer. His presentation was titled "Thermal Degradation of Cyclopropyl Synthetic Cannabinoids." Co-authors on the research paper were Dr. J. Graham Rankin, a forensic chemistry professor in the Forensic Science Graduate Program, and Dr. John Krsenansky, former professor and director of Medicinal Chemistry with Marshall's School of Pharmacy.

The USACIL Drug Chemistry Laboratory processes suspected drug samples confiscated from military personnel including cannabinomimics, the new legal term for synthetic cannabinoids.

Cannabinomimics are synthetic compounds which have many of the effects of the active ingredients in marijuana when smoked. These compounds are added to inert plant material and sold through head shops and convenience stores as "herbal incense" under brand names such as "Spice" and "K2."

Eckre's internship involved work on an unidentified component of drug samples which included bongs (smoking devices) and other smoking materials which seemed to contain two components. One of the components already had been identified by USACIL. Eckre's research identified the unknown component and proved it was a product of decomposition that occurs when the identified compound is heated.

In addition to the scholarship, MAAFS awarded Eckre free registration and hotel accommodations at the meeting in Roanoke, Va.

Eckre graduated May 11 with a Master of Science degree in Forensic Science.

MAAFS awarded scholarships to three recipients. They were from Marshall, Virginia Commonwealth University and George Washington University. Rankin and Dr. Lauren Waugh, an assistant professor of Marshall's Forensic Science Graduate Program, presented research related to emerging drug issues at the conference.

Rankin presented a workshop titled "Legal Issues and Analytical Challenges with Emerging Drug 'Analogs.' " Waugh's presentation was titled "A Wide Range of Circumstances Observed in MDPV-Related Deaths." MDPV is a common controlled substance found in so-called "bath salts" products which have been very prominent in the news media lately.

Rankin served as Chair of the Criminalistics Section of MAAFS and moderated the Criminalistics Sessions.

  • Mary Thomasson
  • Public Information Officer

  • Marshall University
    Forensic Science Center
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  • Huntington, WV 25701

Photo: David Eckre, a spring graduate of the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program, receives a $1,000 scholarship award and plaque from Dr. Tracie Cruz, president of MAAFS, at its annual meeting held this year in Roanoke, Va.