Alain Verstraete studied medicine at Ghent University, and specialised in Laboratory Medicine and in vitro Nuclear Medicine at Ghent University Hospital. Since 1987 he is responsible for the Toxicology Laboratory of Ghent University Hospital. Since 2002, he is a part-time professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health sciences of Ghent University. Since 2006 he is part-time full professor and since 2012 part-time senior full professor.
He has been active in the research of driving under the influence since 1994. He was the co-ordinator for the laboratories in the Belgian Toxicology and Trauma Study (BTTS) and was scientific advisor to Secretary of State Jan Peeters for the preparation of the Belgian legislation on drugs and driving. He is president of the working group on alcohol, drugs, medicines and driving of Directorate General MOVE of the European Commission.
He was the coordinator for the EU-funded Rosita (1999-2000) and Rosita-2 (2003-2005) studies on roadside drug testing and played an important role in different tasks of the EU-funded DRUID project (2006-2011).
He is active in several scientific societies: president of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT; 2011 - 2014) after having been Secretary (2002-2008) and president-elect (2008-2011), vice-president of the Belgian Society of Clinical Biology, Vice-President of the Toxicological Society of Belgium and Luxembourg, since 1999 webmaster of the International Association for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) and founding board member of the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS).
He received several scientific awards: 2002 TIAFT award for excellence, 2002 ICADTS Haddon Award, 2002 AACC outstanding speaker award and 2005 Grand Prix de la SFTA (French association of analytical toxicologists).
He is member of the editorial or advisory board of Drug Testing and Analysis, Acta Clinica Belgica, Annales de Toxicologie Analytique, Ciencia Forense Latinoamericana, Egyptian Journal of Forensic Science, Forensic Toxicology, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, and associate editor for pharmacology and toxicology of Traffic Injury Prevention.