Key research areas:
- Molecular methods for age estimation
- Posttranslational protein modifications
- Domestic violence
- Post mortem diagnosis of myocardial infarctions
- Fitness to drive of intoxicated cyclists
- Effects illegal drugs and adulterant
Forensic Medicine deals with medical questions arising from jurisprudence. Its probably most well-known task is the postmortem examination of unnatural deaths, in particular in cases of homicide. Less noted, but of highest practical importance is the field of Clinical Forensic Medicine. The main task in that field is the examination of living victims of violence which has to include an extensive documentation and interpretation of all injuries as well as the securing of traces, all under consideration of the relevant legal questions. After examination, the victims are mediated to other institutions, if psychosocial or other assistance is needed. Additionally, further tasks from the entire field of forensic medicine, of forensic toxiclogy and forensic genetics are processed.
The accomplishment of this broad spectrum of tasks is achieved by the employment of modern scientific methods and a closely co-operating team of scientists of different disciplines such as medicine, chemistry, pharmacy and biology.
The institute comprises the sections Forensic Pathology, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Genetics, and the Ambulance for Victims of Violence. In the field of Forensic Pathology, the range of services offered includes postmortem examinations, autopsies, histological examinations and expertises. In the toxicological lab, samples from deceased and living persons are analysed for alcohol and drugs. Their effects are evaluated under different aspects, for example with regard to the cause of death or to solve questions in the field of traffic medicine. The section Forensic Genetics deals with paternity tests and the analysis of biological traces. In our Ambulance for Victims of Violence the sequels of violence are documented; if required, biological traces are secured. The documentation can be used as legal evidence, e.g. regarding the interpretation of injuries or questions of reconstruction. Apart from that, expert opinions regarding other fields of Clinical Forensic Medicine like age estimation or photoidentification are given.
The services offered by the institute may not only be employed by police and the justice system, but also by other clients such as hospitals and private persons. Victims of violence may contact us via the police or directly. In the latter case, police or authorities are informed only if the victim agrees. The services of the institute are also available to the patients of the University Clinic Düsseldorf, e.g. for documentation of injuries as a result of violence, and for diagnostics in cases of intoxication.