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Anthony Paul DeCaprio

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, FIU; Director of the Forensic and Analytical Toxicology Facility (FATF)

Phone: 305-348-2195


Fax: 305-348-4485


Anthony P. DeCaprio is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida International University. Dr. DeCaprio also directs the Forensic & Analytical Toxicology Facility (FATF) at FIU, a university recharge facility that provides research support and services to FIU and other investigators in the area of analytical/clinical/forensic toxicology. He also directs the FEPAC-accredited undergraduate Forensic Science Certificate program at FIU. Dr. DeCaprio is a toxicologist with extensive research experience in neurotoxicology and the chemical analysis of drugs, environmental contaminants, and other xenobiotics in human specimens using MS-based techniques. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters in addition to editing the book “Toxicologic Biomarkers” and has made over 100 presentations at research conferences. Dr. DeCaprio received a B.S. in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Toxicology from Albany Medical College. He previously worked as a Research Scientist with the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratories and served in academic positions at UAlbany and UMass Amherst. Currently, his research program is concentrated in the area of human exposure assessment with the following specific projects underway: 1) Development and validation of methods for comprehensive mass spectrometric based analysis of xenobiotics (i.e., drugs of abuse, pharmaceuticals, and environmental pollutants) in human specimens and the application of such methods in forensic, clinical, and epidemiological studies 2) Study of covalent interactions of reactive drugs and metabolites with biological proteins and their potential application as longer-term biomarkers of drug exposure, and 3) Development of synthetic antibody technologies for rapid preparation of drug specific probes for immunoassays. In particular, Dr. DeCaprio’s research at FIU has focused on the chemistry and analysis of “novel psychoactive substances”. He has been PI on grants from NIEHS, NCI, NIOSH, ATSDR, and the National Institute of Justice, in addition to developing major collaborations with industry partners. 

General Research Areas

Dr. DeCaprio’s areas of research interest include the use of biomonitoring and biomarkers in forensic toxicology and human exposure assessment, methods for ultra-trace analysis of drugs, pollutants, and their metabolites, and investigation of protein adducts as exposure/risk biomarkers and as mediators of the mechanism of toxicity of pollutants and drugs.

CARFS Funded Projects

  • Systematic Comparison of Analytical Parameters in Forensic Hair Analysis: Blood and urine are the most commonly tested biological matrices for detecting exposure to drugs and other compounds of interest in forensic toxicology. Alternatively, forensic analysis of hair allows for retrospective biomonitoring of drug use or exposure. While clearly useful for this purpose, hair analysis does have technical and interpretive challenges. As a complex solid sample matrix, hair requires specialized pretreatment measures, including washing, cutting and/or pulverization, and some type of extraction procedure to remove the drug from the hair matrix components to allow for analysis. Pretreatment steps in the analysis of drugs in human hair include decontamination, segmentation, extraction, and purification. Optimizing pretreatment/extraction is essential to accurately identify and quantify drugs present in a hair sample. The Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) has made general recommendations on protocols for analysis, although they provide only general guidelines for analysis. While numerous methods and a large literature database exists for forensic hair analysis, such methods have not been systematically compared with regard to performance. The major goal of this project is to conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of drug recovery from hair with different extraction methods. Optimized method(s) will be determined based on these results and will be applied to a set of 20 authentic hair specimens obtained from individuals in addiction rehabilitation programs.