November 2021 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

Classification of Novel Psychoactive Substances using Multivariate Statistical Procedures

Featuring Dr. Amanda Burkhart,
Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee at Martin

Thursday, November 18th 

Dinner @ 6:00 pm
Business @ 7:00 pm
(Including Awards and Election Results)

Join Virtually via Zoom (Meeting ID TBA)
Attend Live at Bethel University

Dinner: Deli Sandwich Buffet
Dinner Price is $10 (Students $5)

Abstract: The identification of novel psychoactive substances is challenging for forensic drug analysts due to the lack of available reference standards. A typical controlled substance identification is made by comparing the mass spectrum of an unknown to that of a reference standard. In the case of newly emerging synthetic designer drugs, there is no reference standard available for comparison. To overcome this, synthetic designer drugs can be classified according to class and subclass using multivariate statistical procedures, such as linear discriminant analysis (LDA).

In the work presented here, compounds from both the tryptamine and phenethylamine classes of synthetic designer drugs were analyzed via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Variable selection was performed on the mass spectral data and LDA models were defined for the specified subclasses of drugs. A test set was then introduced to the model to determine the classification success rate. This presentation will demonstrate the applicability of classification models for synthetic designer drugs where a standard method of comparison to a known reference material is not feasible.

Bio: Dr. Amanda Burkhart received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Mount Union in 2014. She then went on to Michigan State University in a dual degree program where she obtained her Master of Science in Forensic Science and Ph.D. in Chemistry. Her master’s thesis focused on the classification of novel psychoactive substances using multivariate statistics while her Ph.D. explored a kinetic-based mathematical model used for the identification of ignitable liquids in forensic fire debris. She moved to Tennessee this summer with her husband and two dogs to start her career at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

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