Forensic toxicologist, researcher
Who are you, and what do you do?
I'm Sabra R. Botch-Jones, a rogue forensic toxicologist, researcher/writer and owner of fTox Consulting. I provide consulting services for issues related to forensic toxicology including scientific writing, data analysis, quality control and legal case reviews.
What hardware do you use?
When it comes to consulting and writing my lifeline to the world is my MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone. The ability to have all my devices synced and access documents with ease is essential for my work. I use Apple's Magic Mouse with my MacBook, I love how it works on a variety of surfaces. As a mom of a 7 month old, I find myself working in the oddest places. A QNAP TS-212-US NAS server with two 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 hard drives houses some of my data and eventually it will house more, but I utilize Dropbox for the bulk of my data.
As a forensic toxicologist it's all about the hardware. I could write pages about the instrumentation that we use. To begin testing a biological sample for the presence of alcohol and other drugs we conduct a preliminary screen on a relatively sensitive, yet not always specific instrument. This includes running prepared biological samples, primarily blood and urine but also tissue samples, on a number of types of instrumentation. The samples are run on a Thermo Scientific ITQ Series Gas Chromatograph Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer for basic and neutral compounds. For acidic compounds, samples are run on a PerkinElmer Flexar Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (UHPLC) with an ultraviolet (UV)/Visible Spectrophotometer detector. Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is also conducted. ELISA is operated by the Tecan EVO 75/2 Workstation. Alcohol analysis is conducted on a PerkinElmer TurboMatrix Head Space-Clarus GC. Quantitation and confirmation is conducted on either a Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum Access MAX Triple Stage Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer or an AB SCIEX 4000 QTRAP LC/MS/MS System with a Shimadzu UPLC. Windows-based computers are used to run these instruments, but type is not important other than plenty of space to house the data.
And what software?
The fTox Consulting website and blog were created by my husband Bryan W. Jones using WordPress. In addition, web developer Jody Goodwin was consulted for some of the graphics and CSS optimization in the existing website.
Consulting requires that I seamlessly share data. I am trying to embrace all of the MacBook Air's provided software along with Apple products. I use TextEdit and Google Docs most of the time. I love how easily it is to share documents via Google Drive. One of the most frustrating things about not using Microsoft Word is interacting with others who use a PC and losing formatting between programs. I am trying to embrace Keynote for my presentations which I give on a fairly regular basis, but at times I am at the mercy of the organization and their software packages. At those times I revert back to Powerpoint for presentations. When it comes to freelance writing, I use Adobe InCopy to keep the editors happy.
Thermo Scientific's LCQUAN supports LC/MS/MS data management, and Xcalibur software is a Windows-based data system that provides instrument control and data analysis for the mass spectrometers. Data obtained on PerkinElmer Instruments is managed through the TotalChrom Workstations. ELISA data is managed through NaviTrak. AB SCIEX Analyst, DiscoveryQuant and MultiQuant are used for data acquisition and analysis on the 4000 QTRAP.
Professionally I use LinkedIn to keep connected to colleagues and take advantage of their groups function for specific areas of interest. I am beginning to use Twitter (@sabraruvera) as my resistance to using it is waning. GoToMeeting pops up in my life on a regular basis now, as I consult and interact with people all over the globe.
What would be your dream setup?
The dream: a massive room with floor to ceiling bookshelves housing every book I have ever wanted to own, including those stupidly expensive textbooks that are great resources. I would have multiple large monitors for my computer and unlimited processing power with amazing internet speed (Google Fiber, I’m looking at you!).
I am not a very "techie" person other than talking about instrumentation, but I constantly run out of storage on my devices. For my website and blog, I would have Jody design my website from scratch for more personalization and options. My own private island (with a fully functional analytical chemistry lab) would be nice too.