Published on: 01-10-2023

Dear TIAFT members,

I have recently returned home after a very successful annual meeting held in Rome. Our hosts, Simona Pichini and Francesco Paolo Busardò, and their colleagues, held a terrific meeting in the heart of Rome.  Whilst it was hot, we were kept cool in the auditorium with a huge screen and an excellent scientific program curated by the scientific chairs Marilyn Huestis, Pascal Kintz and Nik Lemos.  With over eight hundred registered delegates this was always going to be a large TIAFT meeting and a true challenge for our hosts. I must thank them for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to ensuring all of us had a memorable conference experience in the “Eternal City”. 

A full meeting report will be included in the forthcoming TIAFT Bulletin, however the highlight for me was the opening ceremony and the amazing presentation given by Professor Francesco Botré (this year’s Youngchan Yoo Memorial Lecture). His lecture “From forensic toxicology to doping analysis and back: new matrices, new markers, new methods” was informative, thought provoking and in parts humorous, and one of best lectures I have ever heard.  This was followed by two amazing opera singers - Tenor Massimiliano Drapello and Soprano Rafaella Pelella. The program concluded with a tribute to music by Italian composer Ennio Morricone by the Foundation Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci Orchestra; a truly memorable cultural experience.

In Rome, we had a two-day Board Meeting prior to the commencement of the Annual Meeting, an in-person Regional Representatives Meeting, a record number of attendees at the Young Scientist Symposium and a full scientific program of oral, live and traditional posters. There were many vendor workshops; we thank and acknowledge their valuable support for our annual meeting in Rome. The annual Business Meeting on the final day of the conference was a long affair with two rounds of voting required to determine the successful host for the 2027 meeting. Most members will know by now that the host for 2027 will be Serap Annette Akgur in Kuşadasi, Türkiye in November (exact dates to be confirmed – congratulations to Serap and her team) – it was the third time that Serap had bid to host a meeting. Our other applicants, Brazil and UAE should also consider applying again – colleagues from both countries put forward excellent bids and TIAFT also needs to return to South America and have a first ever meeting in the Middle East. Hosting a TIAFT meeting takes considerable effort, time, resources, and commitment over a long period.  We recognise that because our membership spans more than 60 countries it will always be difficult to select a meeting host. To future members considering hosting a meeting please follow our guidebook on the members website - it provides essential information on how to bid, operate and host a successful TIAFT meeting. It may be that more than one or two bids are needed to secure a future meeting - but don’t give up – Serap has shown us that perseverance can result in a successful outcome.

We also acknowledge all our award winners from Rome, most notably our Alan Curry Award recipient Ilkka Ojanperä.  Many of us have met and know of the high-quality scientific work produced by Ilkka and some may remember that he was one of the pioneers of LC-MS/MS drug screening, a technique we use every day now for our work.  He was also TIAFT Treasurer from 1993-1996 and TIAFT Secretary from 1996-1999. Ilkka was the co-host of the 38th International TIAFT Meeting in Helsinki, Finland (2000) and was also awarded the TIAFT Achievement Award 2006.  He is a very worthy addition to the long list of distinguished toxicologists who have been awarded the highest TIAFT accolade.

Francesco Paolo Busardò is a very diligent toxicologist who has produced a significant number of scientific works in his career so far, and this is reflected by having bestowed upon him the TIAFT Achievement Award for 2023. Francesco has a strong publication record and was also the co-host of this year’s wonderful meeting.

Proposals requiring Constitutional Change

Proposal #1

In recent years, the TIAFT Board has discussed an ongoing challenge with timely payment of dues by new members. TIAFT traditionally receives a surge of new applicants in the months prior to our annual or regional meetings. Newly admitted members are afforded reduced registration fees to attend these meetings. Currently, new Standard Members are asked to pay these dues within 2 weeks of their acceptance into TIAFT; however, a significant number fail to make this payment by the deadline and are then sent multiple reminders to do so.

After thorough discussion over a variety of options, the Board is proposing to change the process on when NEW candidates are asked to submit their first year’s payment to our association.

The proposal for consideration is that all new candidates seeking TIAFT membership, will submit an application fee equal to the current year’s dues payment with their application.  This will then serve as that year’s dues. The benefit of this proposal is that it is a more useful and efficient use of the Secretary’s time and ensures that individuals wishing to join TIAFT are committed to being a member of our association. 

Proposal #2

The DCF Membership category of TIAFT was developed to expand the membership of the organization and enable individuals from less developed countries to become members. For more than 25 years, DCF members have enjoyed a complimentary membership, significantly reduced registration fees to all meetings, access to travel grants, online access to the TIAFT Bulletin, free education webinars, access to free scientific texts, free analytical program developments, and more recently the annual Bryan S. Finkle Visiting Scientist Grants. TIAFT membership also allows its DCF members easy access to the world’s forensic toxicologist network.

The costs of maintaining our membership database, our website, our meetings, and other associated expenditures of a 2000+ membership association (all run by volunteers) has been a topic of discussion of the last few TIAFT Boards.  As such, it has now necessitated a change in DCF membership. More than 50% of DCF members are not routinely maintaining their current membership by annually logging into the TIAFT membership site and verifying their personal information (e.g., email address) remains current. This is to be done by April 1st of each calendar year and an email is sent early in the year as a reminder. Those that do not complete this simple task by the deadline obligate unnecessary work for the TIAFT secretary and Regional Representatives, in that they send numerous emails to these members to remind them of this responsibility. Those that fail to fulfill this requirement by the end of the year must be manually removed from the TIAFT membership. It is important to recognize that these are not insignificant tasks; hundreds if not thousands of reminder emails are sent to ensure that members maintain their membership. And each year, hundreds of members are dropped from TIAFT membership for their inactivity.

Therefore, the Board is proposing to initiate a membership fee for all DCF members. These annual dues will be a reduced amount of that charged to Standard Members, but will also include an added benefit for DCF members: online access to the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. The DCF annual dues fee will be set at a rate that is no more than 50% of the dues charged to Standard Members and will attempt to neutralize the added expenses for their online journal access. It is proposed that from January 1, 2025, that DCF membership will be initially set at $20 USD per year.  The benefit of this proposal is that it will require DCF members to annually enter into their account to pay annual dues, help the organization ensure that contact information is current for all members, provide an added DCF member benefit of online access to the TIAFT official journal, and reduce some of the administrative burden on the TIAFT Secretary and Regional Representatives from DCF countries. For the viability, longevity, and continued success of our association we are seeking constitutional change for this proposal to be effective.

Proposal #3

As part of our strategic objectives for 2022-24, one of the decisions that was made during the Rome 2023 Board meeting was to expand the TIAFT Board to ensure better representation of members from around the world.  TIAFT has now surpassed 2000 members and a greater worldwide representation for the Board is in keeping with our expanding association.

It is proposed that the 5 Executive positions (President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Past President) will be open to candidates from any part of the world, however the ordinary board positions - currently 3, will be expanded to 6 positions from the designated continents/geographical regions (listed below).

These elected positions must be candidates (members in good standing) from the continents/geographical regions as defined by the United Nations (

  1. Africa
  2. Asia (includes Central, Eastern Southern and Western Asia)
  3. Europe
  4. Oceania 
  5. North America
  6. Latin America and the Caribbean (includes South America)

One candidate per continent will be selected by eligible voting members. All voting will be conducted electronically via the members website. This is a significant improvement to our structure and whilst there are some cost implications – these are insignificant given the overall benefits for our association. It is expected that Board Members be able to attend at least one of the annual in-person Board Meetings and attend all monthly Board Meetings (via video). Note that we currently meet as a Board twice a year in person, all other meetings are held via video conferencing. The following table provides a summary of the new positions:

Executive Position

Continent/geographical region

Ordinary board member position

Continent/geographical region


From anywhere in the world

Board member x 1



From anywhere in the world

Board member x 1

Asia (includes Central, Eastern Southern and Western Asia)


From anywhere in the world

Board member x 1



From anywhere in the world

Board member x 1


Past President

From anywhere in the world

Board member x 1

North America



Board member x 1

Latin America and the Caribbean (includes South America). 

All three proposals will require constitutional change and approval by voting by all members – we will announce this shortly via email.

Other News

In further updates I am also pleased to announce that TIAFT members Stephen Trobbiani (Australia) and Supranee Pantatan (Thailand) have been selected as the 2023 Bryan S. Finkle Visiting Scientist Grant (BFVSG) Awardees. Stephen will be travelling to Thailand for 3 weeks to provide intensive training to the toxicology group at the Forensic Chemistry Section, Division of Forensic Science Investigation at the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS). A number of training initiatives has been organised including method development and validation and High-Resolution Mass spectrometry (HRMS)-based drug screening and quantification methodology. This is an exciting training opportunity which will build capacity in Thailand.  We will shortly be announcing the next round of the BFVSG for 2024, so please apply when you see this announcement. Competition is healthy with over twenty-five applicants for the last training opportunity – so plan early if you are intending on delivering or receiving training.

I recently attended the 15th Asian Forensic Sciences Network meeting in Kuala Lumpur, delivering a number of talks and taking part in a workshop as part of the Toxicology Program ( This meeting was well attended with over 450 delegates from various Asian countries. TIAFT member, Toxicology Program Coordinator and representative from Health Sciences Authority (Singapore) Hooi Yan Moy should be commended for a well-run Toxicology Program. There were over 50 toxicologists at this meeting and quite a few either became new TIAFT members or renewed their memberships. As part of our commitment to improving our member numbers in Asia a few Board Members will also attend the 16th AFSN meeting in Thailand next year – just before the annual TIAFT meeting in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

And now that I have mentioned St. Gallen – registrations are now open! Jochen Beyer has enabled early registration and bookings to occur – please visit the dedicated website from the link provided at

Until next time,

Dimitri Gerostamoulos, TIAFT President