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Jennifer Pilgrim

Senior research fellow, Monash University

Jennifer Pilgrim is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Drug Harm Prevention Unit in Monash University's Department of Forensic Medicine. Jennifer is a forensic pharmacologist and a toxicologist, with experience in the post-mortem analysis of drugs and poisons and the interpretation of their biological effects. Her research interests include the involvement of psychiatric medications, illicit stimulants and pharmaceutical opioids in sudden and unexpected death, with a particular focus on adverse drug reactions, inappropriate prescribing and pharmacogenetics. She is also interested in alcohol-related violence.

Jennifer has presented on these subjects at numerous national and international meetings and is an active member of a number of professional societies. Her research has been published in journals including Forensic Science International, Current Drug Metabolism, Medical Journal of Australia, and Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Jennifer has published opinion pieces in The Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs.

Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Pharmacology (2006) and a PhD in Forensic Medicine (2011) from Monash University. She is the recipient of the 2013 Victoria Fellowship and the 2013 Australian French Association for Science and Technology award.


  • 2011–present
    Research Fellow, Monash University
  • 2009–2011
    Forensic Toxicologist, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine


  • 2011 
    Monash University, PhD (Med)
  • 2006 
    Monash University, BSc(Hons)


  • 2014
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “King hit" fatalities in Australia, 2000-2012: The role of alcohol and other drugs
  • 2014
    Forensic Science International, The prevalence of duloxetine in medico-legal death investigations in Victoria, Australia (2009-2012)
  • 2014
    Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology, An update on oxycodone: lessons for death investigators in Australia
  • 2013
    Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology, The toxicology and comorbidities of fatal cases involving quetiapine
  • 2013
    Medical Journal of Australia, Letter to the Editor: Fatal use of codeine-ibuprofen analgesics in Victoria, Australia
  • 2013
    Forensic Science International, A review of methadone deaths between 2001-2005 in Victoria, Australia
  • 2013
    Drug and Alcohol Review, Trends in fentanyl prescriptions and fentanyl-related mortality in Australia
  • 2012
    Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology, The role of toxicology interpretations in death investigations
  • 2012
    Forensic Science International, Cocaine in sudden and unexpected death: a review of 49 post-mortem cases
  • 2012
    Current Drug Metabolism, Characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms of Cytochrome P450 in an Australian deceased population
  • 2011
    Forensic Science International, Serotonin toxicity involving MDMA (Ecstasy) and moclobemide
  • 2011
    Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Deaths involving MDMA (Ecstasy) and the concomitant use of pharmaceutical drugs
  • 2010
    International Journal of Legal Medicine, Deaths involving contraindicated and inappropriate combinations of serotonergic drugs
  • 2010
    Forensic Science International, Deaths involving serotonergic drugs
  • 2010
    Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology, Review: Pharmacogenetic aspects of the effect of Cytochrome P450 polymorphisms on serotonergic drug metabolism, response, interactions, and adverse effects
  • 2009
    Journal of Forensic Sciences, Involvement of amphetamines in sudden and unexpected death

Professional Memberships

  • Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association (FACTA)
  • Australian French Association for Science & Technology (AFAS)
  • Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)
  • International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT)
  • Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS)