FACTA 2022
Sunday 10 April – Wednesday 13 April 2022
The Calile Brisbane, Queensland

Keynote Speakers

Associate Professor Shaun Greene

  • Medical Director Victorian Poisons Information Centre
  • Emergency Medicine Physician and Clinical Toxicologist Austin Health
  • Honorary Clinical Toxicologist, Monash Health
  • Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Clinical Toxicology Department, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom

Shaun’s Keynote Topics

Illicit drug Early Warning Systems (EWS) contribute to timely public health warnings that are designed to limit harm within communities. A key component of illicit drug EWS is intelligence related to Emergency Department illicit drug toxicity presentations. Physiological derangements and organ injury provide a real-time objective measure of illicit drug harm, however many EWS rely on user reports rather than comprehensive biological fluid forensic analysis to identify exposures. The Emerging Drug Network of Australia Vic (EDNAV) has combined the collection of comprehensive clinical and forensic data as part of an EWS within Victoria. The EDNAV project has identified a number of novel psychoactive substances including illicit benzodiazepines, opioids, cathinones, hallucinogens and synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. EDNAV has high-lighted significant discrepancies between user reports and analytical findings, suggesting under-reporting, substitution and adulteration and high-lighting the key role of forensic analytical services in providing accurate intelligence to EWS.

Associate Professor Shaun Greene is a clinical toxicologist and emergency physician. He is current medical director of the Victorian Poisons Information Centre in Melbourne. Shaun trained as a clinical toxicologist in London, where he developed a keen professional interest in novel psychoactive substances. Shaun’s research interests also include opioid analgesic related harm management of acute drug overdose.

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Professor Thomas Kraemer

  • Professor for Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Head of Department of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine (ZIFM)
  • Deputy Director of the ZIFM
  • Over 25 years of experience in clinical, experimental and forensic toxicology

Thomas’ Keynote Topics

To be announced early 2022

Thomas Kraemer is Professor for Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich. He is Deputy Director of the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine and head of the Department of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology (FPT). He has its main research focus on development and validation of new bioanalytical methods (e.g. new screening strategies using novel MSall techniques e.g. SWATH acquisition); high-resolution MS; MALDI-MSI), metabolism studies, interaction studies, postmortem toxicology, elucidation of incorporation mechanisms of xenobiotics in alternative matrices such as hair or nails and use of metabolomics and proteomics in forensics. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) including Machine Learning and Deep Learning approaches in forensic toxicology complete his field of expertise.

Read Dr Huestis’ full CV here.

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Professor Olaf H. Drummer AO

  • Forensic Toxicology Consultant Specialist, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (part time)
  • Emeritus Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University
  • Past and Inaugural President of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia (FACTA inc; 2010-2016)

Olaf’s Keynote Topics

Prof Olaf’s presentation will be an overview the evidence of impairment caused by relevant cannabinoids and the distinction between illicit use and prescribed medicinal cannabis preparations. The presentation will also discuss possible changes associated with use of roadside oral fluid screening devices and what reporting thresholds are most reasonable in an attempt to differentiate illicit cannabis from legitimate medicinal cannabis users.

Read Prof Olaf’s full Keynote topic here.

Professor Olaf H. Drummer, Dr.h.c.(Antwerp), PhD (Melb), BAppSc(RMIT), FRCPA, FFSC, FFFLM, FACBS, CChem, is a forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist. He retired as Deputy Director (Academic Programs) at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, and is now a part time forensic toxicology consultant specialist for the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine as well as Emeritus Professor at Monash University.

He completed his Applied Chemistry Degree at completed Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1973 and his PhD a few years later from Melbourne University. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit at the University of Melbourne’s Austin Hospital precinct becoming a NH&MRC research fellow in 1986. In 1989 he took up a position as an Assistant Director at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to form Victoria’s new forensic toxicology laboratories as well as manage other laboratory and research activities within the Institute.

He has received a number of awards besides the Alan Curry award in 2016 from the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT); Jean Servais Stas award from the German Society of Toxicology and Forensic Chemistry (GTFCh) (2013); Excellence in Higher Degree supervision, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (2013); Irving Sunshine award from the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) for Excellence in Clinical Toxicology (2005) and the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) award for Excellence in Alcohol and Drug Research (2000). He has also received an honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the University of Antwerp (2016). He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2019 Australia Day honours list.

He has published extensively in the fields of forensic pharmacology and analytical toxicology, including in over 300 scientific papers, and has written or co-written 3 books. He has functioned, and continues to function, as an expert forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist in hundreds of court cases in Australia and in other parts of the world including some prominent murder trials. His more recent research interests have focused on public health issues and prevention of harms associated with drug use, including drug-associated road trauma.

He is a past President (2008-2011) of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) as well as having served as treasurer (1998-2005), and is the past and inaugural President of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia (FACTA inc; 2010-2016). 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 a number of editorial boards of several journals. He is also an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA), a founding fellow of the Faculty of Science within the RCPA; a fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists (ACBS) and an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of London (UK).

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Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM

MBBS, FACNEM, FASLM, Awarded Honorary Fellowship of the RACGP

  • Adjunct Associate Professor & Research Committee Member, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University
  • Respected general practitioner with over 30 years of clinical experience
  • Australia's first Authorised GP prescriber in May 2018
  • Published over 100 articles with Medical Observer and AUS DOC
  • Auditor and Performance Assessor for AHPRA

Vicki’s Keynote Topics

Dr Kotsirilos has a particular interest in the judicious use of Medicinal Cannabis (MC) and believes it can play an important role in the management of patients for a number of health conditions when all other treatments have failed. Dr Kotsirilos has been prescribing MC since 2016 and became Australia's first Authorised GP prescriber of MC in May 2018. Dr Kotsirilos believes it is not the magic bullet for the treatment of many conditions. She will share her clinical experiences how MC may be helpful for difficult to treat chronic health conditions such as cancer pain using case examples. Dr Kotsirilos will also discuss the challenges faced by doctors prescribing MC, the obstacles patient’s face to access to MC, and future movements in this rapidly evolving area.

Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM is a respected general practitioner with over 30 years of clinical experience who emphasises the importance of lifestyle and preventative medicine with her patients. A/Prof Kotsirilos has a particular interest in the judicious use of Medicinal Cannabis and believes it plays an important role in the management of patients for a number of health conditions when all other treatments have failed. She was Australia's first Authorised GP prescriber in May 2018.

A/Prof Kotsirilos plays an active role within the RACGP who she highly values and respects. She has published well over 100 articles with Medical Observer and AUS DOC, and in a wide range of medical journals such as the Medical Journal of Australia, and public magazines. She is widely quoted in the media such as radio and television on issues related to general health care matters, Nutrition, the Environment and Medicinal Cannabis. Dr Kotsirilos lectures regularly to doctors and has spoken at numerous medical and public conferences.

A/Prof Kotsirilos has a wide range of interests and keeps up to date with the research on Medicinal Cannabis, Lifestyle, Prevention, Air Pollution, Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. She was also a regular writer for Medical Observer, publishing a monthly column on Integrative Perspectives from 1998 till 2019 that was widely circulated to over 30,000 Australian doctors.

A/Prof Kotsirilos holds an adjunct associate professorial position with NICM, Western Sydney University, and formerly with La Trobe University's, Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences and as an Adjunct senior lecturer and Adjunct Associate Professor with Monash University, Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine. She has served on many state and federal government committees, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Complementary Medicine Evaluation Committee (eight years) and as the GP member on the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (five years). In addition, A/Prof Kotsirilos served on the Victorian Council of the AMA and for several years worked closely with the Medical Panels, Victorian WorkCover. A/Prof Kotsirilos is proud to continue to work for regulatory federal government bodies such as AHPRA as an Auditor and Performance Assessor, and writing medico-legal reports for the Health Services Commissioners.

Read A/Prof Vicki's full CV here.

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Dr Samuel Banister

  • Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry, Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Founding member of the Psychoactive Surveillance Consortium and Analysis Network (PSCAN)
  • Postdoctoral researcher and staff scientist with ChEM-H at Stanford University

Sam’s Keynote Topics

  • Cannabinoid medicinal chemistry – molecules and mechanisms
  • Pharmacologically profiling synthetic cannabinoid new psychoactive substances (NPS)
  • Prophetic libraries and proactive forensic toxicology

Dr Samuel Banister is a Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at the Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney. His research involves the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, with a focus on the endocannabinoid system. In addition to extensive experience in therapeutic drug development he also studies new psychoactive substances (NPS), particularly the chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs).

Dr Banister is a founding member of the Psychoactive Surveillance Consortium and Analysis Network (PSCAN) headed by Prof Roy Gerona at UCSF and has systematically prepared and characterised a library of emergent and anticipated SCRAs—so-called “prophetic” NPS—and their metabolites. By working closely with collaborating hospitals and government agencies, the proactive generation of this reference standard library has facilitated the rapid resolution of several mass casualty events in the United States, and enabled the detection of several new NPS, including MMB-4CN-BUTINACA, AB-4CN-BUTICA, and ADB-P7AICA.

Dr Banister obtained his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from The University of Sydney, and then moved to Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher where he undertook training in radiochemistry and development of positron emission tomography (PET) tracers for imaging cancer and neuroinflammation. He continued at Stanford as a staff scientist with ChEM-H where he was involved in the development of a new class of drugs for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These drugs were licensed to a biotech start-up and are undergoing clinical trials this year.

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Dr Marilyn Huestis

  • President, Huestis & Smith Toxicology
  • Senior Fellow, Institute for Emerging Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University

Marilyn’s Keynote Topics

  • Medicinal cannabis – Pros and Cons
  • Cannabis and Driving – evidence for impairment and current approaches
  • Legalisation of Cannabis in the USA – lessons for Australia/New Zealand

Chief of the Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) since 1998, Dr Marilyn Huestis is a toxicologist studying the effects of illicit drugs on the body, brain and in utero. Her doctoral research focused on cannabis (marijuana) and she went on to study a wide range of illicit drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and heroin. Her recent work includes an initiative to develop new diagnostic tests for designer drugs, which current drug tests cannot detect. She is motivated to see how her research improves people’s lives by reducing deaths from drugged driving or reducing the effects on children when mothers use drugs during pregnancy. She thoroughly enjoys mentoring students in toxicology, having overseen the doctoral or post-doctoral research of more than a dozen investigators.

Dr Huestis began working in a toxicology lab in 1969 as an undergraduate. She married, earned an M.S. in clinical chemistry, held a variety of jobs and raised a family, returning to school to earn her doctorate in toxicology in 1992 from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine. In the late 1990s she started one of the few human clinical research labs in the world to test illicit drugs in humans.

Dr Huestis is a past-president of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, past chair of the Toxicology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the first woman president of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists.

Read Dr Huestis’ full CV here.

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