Présentation de l'entité Prestations de l'entité


Outre les domaines spécialisés du SHIFT comme l’anthropologie / archéologie, la génétique (humaine, environnementale, animale et végétale) ou encore l’entomologie, les collaborateurs du SHIFT développent des compétences dans de nombreux autres domaines, notamment à travers des partenariats de recherche financés : toxicologie forensique, imagerie forensique, catastrophes humanitaires, etc.

Quelques projets de toxicologie axés notamment sur l’analyse des gaz et composés volatils postmortem :

Diagnosis and Interpretation of Vascular Embolism gas composition in Scuba Diving 

(FNS : 99 400 CHF, PI : Dr Vincent Varlet)

This project aims to validate the intracardiac gaseous CO2 concentration as a reliable indicator to support the fatal scenario hypothesized from diving profiles examinations and autopsy findings. A working network has been developed among several Mediterranean forensic centers (France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy) in order to sample intracadaveric gases in case of scuba diving fatality. Sampling is planned to be done under laser guidance if CT-Scanner access is possible. Gaseous compositions are planned to be analysed immediately or shortly after sampling by portable gas chromatography-thermal conductivity detection (GC-TCD). The forensic diagnoses improvements in case of scuba diving fatalities are not only essential for scuba diving fatality management but also very important to better understand the physiological mechanisms implied in fatal gas embolism in general, also in clinical medicine. It will be helpful to prepare and improve resuscitation procedures. Gas physiology and methodological protocols are also of strong interest for baromedical medicine. Numerous treatments implied baromedical approaches such as oxygen therapies, carbon monoxide poisoning, enhancement of healing, skin grafts, ulcers and thermal burns, etc.










Carbon monoxide poisonings: exploring new approaches for quantification and evaluating measurement errors from an analytical and epidemiological point of view

(Gas Safety Trust : 218 000 CHF, PI :  Dr Vincent Varlet, PhD : Stefania Oliverio)
Thousands of deaths and hospital admissions worldwide are reported every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning. However, current biomarkers of exposure and quantification devices employed for detection and diagnosis lack sufficient specificity and accuracy, leading to frequent errors. This results in an underestimation of the true disease burden attributable to CO exposure, making it a topic of concern for the clinical and public health communities. The aim of this research was to investigate some of the factors leading to underestimation of the health risks associated with CO exposure and evaluate their margins of error, in order to propose improvements from an analytical and epidemiologic perspective. The quantification of Total Blood CO (TBCO) via Airtight gas Syringe-Gas Chromtography - Mass Spectrometry (AGS-GC-MS) was identified as more accurate, specific and less errorprone than current biomarker carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) and proposed as alternative biomarker for CO exposure. The method was validated for clinical and forensic applications and tested on real cases in both fields. Results for the comparison between the two biomarkers in the different settings (e.g. different storage conditions in clinical and postmortem cases) confirmed TBCO as more appropriate biomarker for CO exposure and highlighted the limitations of COHb.
Thesis manuscript


Quelques projets de recherche concernant les catastrophes humanitaires :
Virtual Re-association of Fragmented Human Remains (FHR) 
Management of fragmented human remains - Improving the protocols for Disaster Victim Identification (PhD direction : Pre Silke Grabherr, PhD supervisors :  Dre Negahnaz Moghaddam and Dr Vincent Varlet, PhD - UNIGE: Lise Malfroy Camine)
The research aims to build a global protocol for a better management of fragmented human remains, especially in DVI situation (Disaster Victim Identification). Innovative technologies for segmentation and virtual re-association of fitting fragments will enhance their identification, and reduce DNA analysis and time needed for their anthropological analysis. This pluridisciplinary project is supported by DVI Switzerland, INTERPOL and ICRC, and implies scientific collaboration with the School of Criminal Sciences (UNIL), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and Materialise NV.


Co-construire une réponse funéraire en contexte de pandémie du Covid-19 (France, Suisse, Italie) (Expert Comité Scientifique : Dr Vincent Varlet)
No Lonely Deaths - Answering the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Funeral Sector and on Bereaved Families (FNS)

Ce programme de recherche étudie les effets de la pandémie de la Covid-19 en matière funéraire. Il porte sur la France, la Suisse et l’Italie. L’objectif est d’analyser et de comparer au niveau international les ajustements réalisés par les professionnel-le-s du funéraire, des chambres mortuaires et funéraires, ou en charge de la gestion de l’état civil, des crématoriums et des cimetières durant la période de confinement et à la suite de celle-ci. Il s’agit également, en recueillant le témoignage de personnes en deuil, de constater l’impact de cette crise sanitaire sur leur vécu.

(ANR France, FNS Suisse) : Full description