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World turns to Northumbria expert during Russian spy poisoning saga

18th April 2018

A Northumbria University academic has been the worldwide authority on toxicology during the Russian spy poisoning saga that has dominated the news in recent weeks.

Dr Michelle Carlin, who is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry, has been interviewed by news channels across the world in response to the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury.

An expert toxicologist, Dr Carlin has provided the media with her chemical knowledge of the nerve agent, Novichock, which was used in liquid form to poison the Skripals, who were found unconscious on a bench on 4th March 2018.

She was able to discuss the effects of Novichock on the human body after someone has been exposed to the nerve agent.

Dr Carlin has given interviews to news channels including Sky News, BBC World, ITV, France 24, TRT World and Fox News among others.

In print media, she has led discussions in the likes of The Guardian, The Independent, the Times and New York Times.

Dr Carlin said: “The level of media requests for a toxicologist after the poisoning of the Skripal’s with nerve agents was unexpected, however it resulted in a lot of TV and radio coverage for me personally and for the University globally.

“It was really different from my usual job but it all began on International Women’s Day - a good day to be a woman in science.”

Dr Carlin joined Northumbria University in 2009 where she carries out research in analytical toxicology and the role of toxicology in death investigation.

Prior experience includes a research project in the toxicology department of the Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale (IRCGN) in Paris, using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS).

After this, Michelle became the manager of a workplace drug testing laboratory in the North East, before becoming a lecturer.

For more information visit Northumbria University’s Forensic Science course page

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