Nele Samyn has won the Emerging Forensic Scientist Award 2003.



Nele Samyn (born 29-11-1968) graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1991. She became a research collaborator in various laboratories at the University of Ghent: first at the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and the Emergency Toxicology Laboratory and later at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Laboratories of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy. In 1997 she joined the section Toxicology of the Belgian National Institute of Forensic Sciences (NICC) as a research assistant. In 2003 she received her Ph.D. degree in Medical Sciences from Ghent University on a thesis “The use of saliva and sweat for the detection of abused drugs in drivers”. This interesting thesis focuses on a current and relevant problem in our society: the use of drugs of abuse and driving. Her work is original and does contribute to the subject of alternative matrices for detection of abused drugs. The results of the study will have practical implications for future legal procedures concerning drugs and driving, and for other applications of drug abuse detection in conventional and alternative matrices.


Nele Samyn has made a strong positive contribution to the scientific literature on this topic. The scientific value is reflected in the numerous publications in journals with peer review, and an additional number of papers recently submitted with emphasis on more specific questions raised during the course of the project. The international collaboration that has been established in the different study parts was outstanding.

The main research interests of Nele Samyn include:

  • diagnostic applications of alternative specimens (saliva, sweat, hair, larvae) analyses for target drug testing
  • driving under the influence of drugs
  • investigation of on-site screening assays for different body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat)

She has been a member of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT), the Toxicological Society of Belgium and Luxembourg and the Société Française de Toxicologie Analytique (SFTA) for several years.


Key publications

  • Samyn N., Verstraete A., van Haeren C. and Kintz P. Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in saliva. Forensic Science Review 11: 1-19 (1999)
  • Samyn N. and van Haeren C. On-site testing of saliva and sweat with Drugwipe, and determination of concentrations of drugs of abuse in saliva, plasma and urine of suspected users. International Journal of Legal Medicine 113(3): 150-54 (2000)
  • Samyn N., De Boeck G. and Verstraete A. The use of oral fluid and sweat wipes for the detection of drugs of abuse in drivers. Journal of Forensic Sciences 47(6): 1380-7 (2002)
  • Samyn N., De Boeck G., Wood M., Lamers C.T.J., De Waard D., Brookhuis K.A., Verstraete A.G., and Riedel W.J. Plasma, oral fluid and sweat wipe ecstasy concentrations in controlled and real life conditions. Forensic Science International 128(1-2): 90-7 (2002)
  • Samyn N., De Boeck G., Cirimele V., Verstraete A., and Kintz P. Detection of flunitrazepam and 7-aminoflunitrazepam in oral fluid after controlled administration of Rohypnol. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 26(4): 211-15 (2002)