Mass Spectrometry

Our team are bioanalytical chemists with expertise in developing bespoke targeted small molecule methods and Mass Spectrometry Imaging methods.

We have a suite of analytical instruments that allow us to apply chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis to answer clinical and biological questions. 

We have a growing list of developed and validated quantitative assays for steroid hormones, steroid drugs, amino acids and pharmaceuticals. We can also use our expertise to develop novel analytical methods to answer a huge range of research questions.

Our Mass Spectrometry core offers:

  • A Complete Service - sample receipt and storage, sample preparation, instrument analysis, data interpretation and reporting.
  • Analytical Research - Training in Chromatography and MS technology. Assay Development for novel methods
  • Open Access - Independent use of instrumentation following Training or competency demonstration of prior knowledge
Research Technical Professional standing beside Mass Spectrometer

The Clinical Research Facility Mass Spectrometry Core in CVS, QMRI, BioQuarter

We have a range of instrumentation, equipment and software and lots of knowledge and expertise. We are open to work with students and researchers in University of Edinburgh, other universities and institutes across the UK and internationally and have experience with industry too.

Dr Natalie Homer

Scott Denham

Dr Jo Simpson

Dr Chike Azike

Dr Shazia Khan

Prof Ruth Andrew – Core Director

8 Mass Spectrometrists at a conference in Roslin

Authorship, acknowledgements and publications

Recognition of the work we do is important for our sustainability as a facility. For success in equipment grant we must demonstrate a track record of publications and contributions to research. The CMVM Fair Publication Policy sets out the requirement to recognise the contributions of technical staff to research in all instances of publications and presentations, which includes posters.  The policy applies across the College and is key to delivering the Technician Commitment aims.  Please get in touch with Core Manager Dr Natalie Homer ( if you have any queries about this.

Please follow the links below to access the CMVM Fair Publication Policy and recent publications from our team in the Mass Spectrometry Core facility.

Targeted Mass Spectrometry

Sample preparation equipment

  • Solid Phase Extraction vacuum manifolds
  • Omni Bead Ruptor Elite Homogeniser and Elite Cryo Cooling unit
  • High-throughput sample preparation equipment including 96-well evaporator, 96-well vacuum manifold and a Biotage Extrahera liquid handling robot

Targeted Mass Spectrometry and chromatography instrumentation:

  • ThermoFisher Exploris 240 high resolution mass spectrometer with Vanquish Duo uHPLC system
  • Sciex QTrap 6500 LC-MS/MS (Sciex) with ESI and APCI sources and interfaced to an Acquity I-Class UPLC (Waters)
  • ThermoFisher TSQ 9000 Trace 1300 GC TriPlus RSH Autosampler GC-MS/MS with split/splitless, PTV and headspace injector and EI, PCI and NCI sources
  • Waters Xevo TQ-S tandem mass spectrometer with Waters I-Class UPLC and TUV detector
  • Waters M-class with ionkey (microflow system)
  • Advion TriVersa Nanomate for liquid extraction surface analysis

Established targeted mass spectrometry methods we offer

  • Broad and targeted steroid profiling for steroids in plasma, saliva and tissue – we are registered with NEQAS for measurement of 9 steroid hormones; cortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, aldosterone, 17b-estradiol, testosterone and androstenedione
  • Glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids (cortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, 11-dehydrocorticosterone, 17a-hydroxyprogesterone, 11-deoxycortisol, 11-deoxycorticosterone, aldosterone)
  • Androgens (testosterone, 5a-dihydrotestosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, androstenedione)
  • Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, 16a-hydroxyestradiol and 2 and 4-hydroxyestrogens, 2 and 4-methoxyestrogens)
  • Urinary Steroid profiles: Glucocorticoid metabolites and Androgen Metabolites
  • Synthetic Steroids: Mifepristone (RU38486), dexamethasone, 11-dehydrodexamethasone, 6-hydroxy-dexamethasone, alfaxalone, canrenone, spironolactone
  • Diuretics: Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ),trichlormethiazide (TCZ)
  • Anti-diabetic agents: metformin, glyburide, gliclazide
  • Statins (e.g., simvastatin, atorvastatin)
  • Anti-depressants - sertraline
  • Paracetamol and Phase I and Phase II metabolites (Acetaminophen), Phenacetin, Paracetamol phase I and II metabolites (mercapturate-acetaminophen, glutathione-acetaminophen, acetaminophen-sulphate, 3-cysteinyl-acetaminophen, acetaminophen-glucuronide)
  • Tryptophan and Kynurenine metabolites (3-Hydroxy Kynurenine, 3-hydroxyanthranilic Acid, Anthranilic Acid, Xanthurenic Acid, Kynurenic Acid, Quinolinic Acid, Tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptophan)
  • Vitamin D (VitDAL) – we are registered with DEQAS for 25-OHD3, 25-OHD2 Endocannabinoids: Anandamide, 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG)
  • Bile Acids  - cholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid, deoxycholic acid, glycocholic acid, glycochenodeoxycholic acid, glycodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, taurochenodeoxycholic acid, ursodeoxycholic acid
  • Short Chain Fatty Acids – acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, isobutyric acid, valeric acid and isovaleric acid
  • Anti-cancer therapies – 5-fluoruracil, fluoroacetate
  • Prostatic therapies: 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (finasteride, dutasteride), tamsulosin
  • Pharmacological agents: e.g., Rocuronium, Lidocaine, Isoflurane
  • Stable isotope tracers of metabolism: isotopically labelled fatty acids (13C-palmitate), D2-glucose, D5-glycerol and glucocorticoids; D4-cortisol, D8-corticosterone
  • Microsomal Stability assays - including lidocaine, propranolol, verapamil and diclofenac

We are always developing novel mass spectrometry methods to answer clinical and biological questions

We are able to develop novel analytical quantitative methods and adapt existing published methods to suit our instrumentation and equipment. Analysis can be conducted in a wide range of biomatrices supporting both clinical and preclinical studies.

Mass Spectrometry Imaging

  • Waters Synapt G2-Si mass spectrometer with DESI and MALDI capability
  • HTX Sprayer for spraying of matrix on tissue surfaces
  • HTX M5 Sprayer for spraying of matrix on tissue surfaces
  • ThermoFisher Cryostat
A research technical professional and a student in lab coats talking in a Mass Spectrometry facility

Celebrating the widespread use of Mass Spectrometry