Mayssa Hachem joined Khalifa University as Assistant Professor in January 2021. She graduated from National Institute of Applied Sciences ‘INSA’, Lyon, France with a PhD in Biochemistry and a distinction Award for higher education in Biochemistry. During her doctoral studies, she conducted research at the Cardiovascular, Metabolism, Diabetology and Nutrition ‘CarMeN’ research unit within the Engineering and Function of Lipids and Lipoproteins ‘InFoLiP’ team. She also served as a lecturer at the Biotechnology and Biochemistry Department at INSA. After her PhD, she undertook postdoctoral work at Sorbonne University, University of Technology of Compiegne ‘UTC’, France within the Enzymatic and Cellular Engineering research center ‘GEC’ Royallieu. She joined Amity University Dubai in 2017 as an Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in the Forensic Science Department where she was extensively involved in the development of the Forensic Science undergraduate program. In 2020, she joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Higher College of Technology, UAE before moving to KU.
During her academic career, she has supervised a number of Bsc, Msc and PhD research projects and served on various academic and professional committees. Her main research interests concern lipid biochemistry, drug targeting and forensic science.
Faculty Start Up- FSU 8474000365
Title: Production of Labeled LysoPhospholipids with Docosahexaenoic Acid and study of their cerebral bioavailability
Bachelor Final Year Project (CHEM 497- CHEM 498)
Title: Forensic chemical investigation of acetylsalicylic acid-Aspirin
According to Paracelsus (1495-1541) Swiss physician and chemist, “All substances are poisons. There is none which is not. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy.”
In post-mortem investigations, suspected drug overdoses are clear circumstances where toxicology is essential to identify if an excessive consumption of the drug occurred and, if so, whether this lead to death. On the other hand, toxicology testing can exclude the likelihood of a drug overdose if concentrations are not able of causing death, taking into consideration all other aspects. Several drugs are included in routine post-mortem toxicology such as analgesics (acetylsalicylic acid, acetaminophen), antidepressants, cannabis, cocaine, narcotic analgesics, etc. Forensic toxicologists employ numerous analytical techniques to determine the drugs or poisons significant to a death case investigation.
The objective of the present study is to develop several approaches to the quantitative determination of acetylsalicylic acid commonly known as Aspirin. Usually, Aspirin is used as analgesic agents for the treatment of mild to moderate pain and an antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of soft tissue and joint inflammation. Fatal cases of oral aspirin overdose were identified in suicide or homicide cases in children and adolescents.
In the proposed project, Aspirin will be identified and quantified with the use of numerous analytical techniques including Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) method for analysis of some inorganic elements or impurities such as aluminium, etc. Upon availability in chemistry laboratories, we will look for the isotopic profile or “signature” of Aspirin using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) to provide unique insights into the origin of drugs and growing conditions which could helpful in forensic investigations.
For all mentioned experiments, Aspirin produced in several countries will be tested to confirm whether they have the same profile or not.
Altogether, these optimized approaches can be applied for the analysis of Aspirin in biological tissues (for example: hair) and fluids (blood, urine) in forensic post-mortem investigation. Since biological samples containing drugs/toxins cannot be injected directly into the analysing system without sample preparation, sample preparation prior to chromatographic/spectroscopic separation should be implemented to dissolve or dilute the analyte in an appropriate solvent, eliminating the interfering substances and pre-concentrating the analyte. In our experiments, we may use simulated blood trying to mimic the real biological fluids.