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Bruce McCord

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, FIU

Phone: 305-348-7543


Fax: 305-348-3772


Bruce R. McCord is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida International University. He received his BS with Honors from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Prior to entering academia, he worked briefly as an industrial chemist and then 9 years as a Research Chemist at the FBI Laboratory’s Forensic Science Research and Training Center.  Since then he has held academic positions at Ohio University and his current professorship at FIU.   Dr. McCord has published over 100 peer reviewed publications and 13 book chapters in forensic genetics, toxicology and explosives detection.  His recent research interests include applications of microfluidics and nanotechnology in forensic science.   He has given numerous presentations, workshops and webinars in the USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.   He has mentored 20 post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists, 22 PhD and 15 MS students in forensic science related projects. His research group has filed five patents from technology developed at FIU and has received over 5.7 million dollars in research funding from federal agencies such as the NIJ, NSF, NIH, DHS, and TSWG, as well as various industrial sources. Prof. McCord is the Deputy Editor of the Journal Electrophoresis, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and the Journal of Forensic Chemistry.  He is a current member of the Biological Methods subcommittees of the OSAC, and a member of the AAFS Opioid Committee.  He has held positions as a member of the Forensic Science Advisory Board of North Carolina, the Forensic Science Programs Accreditation Commission of the AAFS, the Scientific Committee of the Latin American Symposium on Capillary Electrophoresis, and the Green Mountain DNA Conference. In 2008 he was presented with the Paul Kirk Award of the AAFS in recognition of his scientific contributions to the field of criminalistics.  Dr. McCord is married with 3 children, 2 of whom are graduate students in chemistry.  He is an avid jazz musician and windsurfer.

General Research Areas

Analytical/Forensic Chemistry, Studies in the application of chromatographic techniques in the analytical and forensic sciences. Examples include the development of novel methods for DNA analysis using capillary electrophoresis (CE) with soluble polymers and laser-induced fluorescence. Other work involves applications of PCR and CE in the study of degraded DNA. In the area of toxicological analysis, we use of microfluidic and other nano-techniques in the trace detection of drugs in biological fluids. We also have applied these tools for fundamental studies of DNA conductivity. Lastly, we utilize capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry in the analysis and detection of explosives residue.

CARFS Funded Projects

  • The Development of Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy as a Method for Toxicological Screening of Opioids: The current opioid crisis is taking a terrible toll with yearly increases in deaths due to overdose. However, these compounds can be difficult to detect. One problem in the analysis of these compounds is the continuing efforts of clandestine laboratories to modify the chemical composition of these drugs. Another problem is that the most common screening procedure, immunoassays, suffer from nonspecificity, often resulting in false negatives or poor sensitivity to drug analogs. Thus, better screening procedures are needed for the analysis of these compounds. We propose surface enhanced Raman detection as an alternative. In our process, the drug extract is mixed with a solution of nanoparticles and aggregating agents. The result is a rapid and specific determination of ng/mL levels of drugs. In this new project, we propose to develop an optimized methodology for the determination opioid analogs in urine and oral fluids. We believe this procedure will provide a quick screening tool that can detect multiple drug analogs and will provide structural information that is complementary to mass spectrometric detection.