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WCDG meets monthly September to May on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Meetings are public and include a light dinner & social hour followed by a speaker. To join our mailing list, email Follow us on Twitter
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November Meeting
Thursday, November 17, 2016

ACS Headquarters, 1155 16th St NW, Washington, DC
Joint meeting with Chemical Society of Washington (CSW)
6:00PM social hour, 6:30PM dinner, 7:15PM presentation
Free event. RSVP by November 14 to and indicate preference of vegetarian or meat entree. An RSVP is not required, but is appreciated to provide adequate number of meals.

Speaker: Mark L. Miller, FBI Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit, Quantico, VA
Title: Challenges in Forensic Separations

Abstract: The popularity of forensic science on TV shows and movies has glamorized forensic scientists and their work for the last couple of decades. But can you really inject a DNA sample in your GC and instantly obtain the name and address for the criminal? Can your arsenal of instruments perform an analysis and find a chemical database for every reference material related to the evidence? While practicing chemists recognize that this is not the case in real life, we can be thankful that these TV shows inspire many young people to seek careers in science. Research in forensics manifests many challenges as new and unusual samples present themselves in casework. One of the first tasks of a researcher is to determine what is the relevant target molecule(s) and what is the matrix one must analyze? Often in casework these are common matrices such as biological material (e.g. blood, urine, etc.) or an environmental sample (e.g. soil, water, etc.).  But many times there is a twist to the complexities of getting the right results. For example, who could have foreseen that one day we would need to or be able to detect drugs in bugs or hair? Forensic chemistry research deals with these challenges by developing new methods that require both a separation of a complex mixture and a detection technique. The evolving threats mean that both small and large, organic and inorganic chemicals must be separated and analyzed for evidence examinations. GC and LC are the most useful tools for the separation of complex mixtures for everything from hydrogen peroxide to ricin. One of the tricks to effective use of chromatography is to have adequate retention of your analyte on the separation column, which from review of the literature is not always present in forensic practice. This talk will provide real examples of improved and new methods developed for different types of evidence for application in toxicology and explosives casework.

Bio: Mark L. Miller is a Research Chemist at the FBI Laboratory's Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit in Quantico, Virginia. He has been working on various chromatographic and mass spectrometric applications in forensic science since joining the FBI in 1992. His research interests include trace analysis in toxicology, drugs, explosives, chemicals and materials. Prior to working at the FBI, he was a Senior Research Chemist for Monsanto Chemical Company in the R&D group. Dr. Miller received a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was under the direction of Professors Richard Linton and James Jorgenson. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University in Bloomington and did research in Professor Milos Novotny's lab. He is an avid Tarheel fan and from a family of UNC graduates or impending graduates.



Past Events


2016 Open House & Poster Session

September 22, 2016 at Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center

Congratulations to Sam Choi, our 2016 winner of the Georges Guiochon travel award for best student poster at the WCDG Open House & Poster Session on September 21!
Sam Choi from George Washington University won the award for his outstanding poster on "CE-nanoESI-MS for Untargeted Proteomic Characterization of Single Embryonic Cells and Small Neuron Populations". He will receive complementary travel to a separations-related conference of his choice. Congratulations, Sam!

We also want to acknowledge our Honorable Mentions, Erika Portero and Rosemary Onjiko from George Washington University, and thank all of our poster presenters, vendors, and attendees for making this year's event a success! Download 2016 Program


3rd Annual Chromatography & Separations Community Mixer

March 10, 2015 at Generations Hall New Orleans


2014 Open House & Poster Session

Rockville, MD


2014 Chromatography Community Mixer

Chicago, IL