Loyola University Chicago

Forensic Science Program

Upcoming Seminars

The Forensic Science Program at Loyola aims to introduce students to a broad range of forensic-related topics and prepare them for careers in a variety of settings.  We host a Forensic Expert Seminar Series to expand student exposure beyond coursework.  Speakers are experts in their respective forensic disciplines and related fields.  Topics range from forensic research to case studies, from expert witness testimony to opioid death and other current events.  See our archived seminars page for previous speakers and topics.  

We enthusiastically invite interested students, faculty, and staff to join us for these events.

Please email Wendy Gruhl for additional information.  


Forensic Experts Seminar Series - Spring 2023


Current Trends in Clandestine Drug Laboratory Investigations: Challenges for Forensic Chemists and Special Agents

Fredericka M. Laux

Senior Forensic Chemist

Drug Enforcement Administration, North Central Laboratory | Chicago IL 

Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 6:00pm - Cuneo Hall 116

Circular logo for DEA

Speaker Biography

Ms. Laux began her professional career as a forensic chemist with the Indiana State Police in 1985 and was assigned to the Evansville Regional Laboratory as a controlled drug analyst.  She primarily analyzed controlled substances and testified in Indiana State courts in association with the analyses that she performed. 

In 1995 Ms. Laux accepted a position as Criminalist IV with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  She was responsible for selecting instrumentation and supplies for a new laboratory to be located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Once the lab was staffed, she also acted as the primary back-up to the laboratory manager. 

Fredericka moved to the DEA North Central Lab in 1997 as a Forensic Chemist and later was promoted to Senior Forensic Chemist.  As a federal chemist, Ms. Laux has analyzed thousands of samples for the presence of controlled substances.  She is also an experienced clandestine lab analyst and has obtained a Level A High hazard certification. Throughout her career she has processed a wide variety of clandestine labs including methamphetamine, MDMA, DMT and opium.

Ms. Laux has testified over 180 time in many State and Federal Courts and is highly regarded for her ability to convey complex instrumentation and analysis techniques in her testimony.

Fredericka is currently a member of the American Chemical Society, the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists, and the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Society.



An Overview of Mass Spectrometry-based Metabolomics for the Gut Microbiome

Mary McMillin

Research Specialist

University of Chicago | DFI Host-Microbe Metabolomics Facility | Chicago, IL

Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 6:00pm - Flanner Hall 007

Circular logo, burgundy on white

Speaker Biography

Mary received her BS in Forensic Science from Loyola University of Chicago in 2013. Since then, she has worked as a forensic toxicologist with the Cook County Medical examiner performing routine drug and alcohol tests on biological specimens utilizing GC-MS, LC-MS, HS-MS, and Elisa techniques to assist the Medical Examiner in determining the cause of death during autopsies. Mary then shifted gears to work in a clinical setting in the Mass Spectrometry Lab at Lurie Children’s Hospital here in Chicago. It was there where she performed therapeutic drug monitoring via different Mass Spec techniques and trained in the Biochemical Genetics Lab which analyzed amino and organic acid levels for the diagnosis of and monitoring of patients with inborn errors of intermediary metabolism. During the beginning stages of the Covid pandemic, Mary was asked to help the Lurie Children’s Special Infectious Diseases lab in performing PCR Covid testing for Lurie patients, staff, and members of the community.

In her spare time, Mary worked in Loyola’s Forensic Science Mass Spectrometry facility conducting research and method development in pursuit of a “point of care” analytical assay for the biomarker Phosphatidylethanol (PEth).  Her contributions in the development of a GC-MS method for the analysis of PEth from a dried blood spot card directly contributed to a US Patent in 2021. For a short period of time, Mary worked in Indiana performing routine drug analysis via LC/MS for Pain Management Clinics in addition to PCR testing on Covid samples but is happy to be back in Chicago as a U of C researcher in Mass Spectrometry.


Criminal Investigations and Mission Support

Jeff Tarr 

Special Agent

US Secret Service | Chicago Field Office | Chicago, IL

Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 6:00pm - Flanner Hall 007

The U.S. Secret Service has a long and storied history of [redacted] and [redacted] from criminal exploitation. The agency was created in [redacted] to combat the [redacted]  following the [redacted] War. As the U.S. financial system has evolved - from paper currency to plastic credit cards to, now, digital information - so too have [redacted]. Today, Secret Service agents, professionals, and specialists work in [redacted], which are [redacted]. These investigations continue to address [redacted, which still undermines confidence in the [redacted], but it is [redacted] and other [redacted], that have become the focus of much of the Secret Service investigative work.




 *Updated 27 Feb 2023