BMSC logo HR

The Biological Mass Spectrometry Centre (BMSC) is a state of the art research centre which is housed in bespoke laboratories at the UCL Institute of Child Health and headed by Dr Kevin Mills.  The Centre has both the capability to perform biomarker discovery type experiments and develop any of these diagnostic molecules into accredited, translational tests that can be used by the NHS and industry. If you would like more information regarding what instrumentation we have then please follow the link to the technology section.  If you would like to use mass spectrometry in your research then please spend 5 minutes reading the Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us.

About the Biological Mass Spectrometry Centre

The Biological Mass Spectrometry Centre at the UCL Institute of Child Health is a specialised patient-focused, translational research centre and performs analyses using cutting edge mass spectral technology. The centre has over £6 million worth of mass spectrometry equipment including MALDI/tissue imaging, proteomics (2D DiGE and label free mass spectrometry), metabolomics, lipidomics, glycomics and targeted proteomics MRM based translational test development. The BMSC is staffed by over 20 full-time researchers and has over £6 million in grant funding. Our group works very closely with the BRC at Great Ormond Street Hospital and National Hospital for Neurology in both elucidating disease mechanisms involved in genetic metabolic disease and neurodegenerative conditions.

Our Translational  Research

The BMSC is a unique, state of the art environment where both clinical and non-clinical researchers work side by side using proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics to elucidate disease mechanisms in rare and neurodegenerative diseases. The group also specialise in biomarker discovery and translational test development for the NHS and industry, creating new, more specific and accurate tests.  These tests are of direct patient benefit and allow us to diagnose diseases much more accurately and quicker than ever before. In addition these bespoke assays are translated into the accredited chemical pathology department at GOSH where they are used to diagnose and monitor therapy or drug trials.

Incubator pic

The BMSC has a history of developing specialised clinical assays which we still provide as diagnostic services. We were the first centre to develop and offer  the assay for urine Gb3 which is a marker used for diagnosis and monitoring of Fabry disease. This assay is now used around the world and we are a main centre for the assay for clinical trials.
We have also been providing a service for the analysis of urinary bile acids since 1984 that has helped diagnose many patients with inborn errors of metabolism.

Creation of New Tests using Targeted Proteomics on Triple Quadrupole (tandem) Mass Spectrometers.

Much of the bottleneck in biomarker research is in translating new biomarkers into a clinical service. Traditionally new metabolite and lipid biomarkers can be translated into triple quadruple or gas chromatography platforms that are present in many large NHS hospitals. However, the development of protein based biomarker tests often require the development of immunochemistry based assays such as radioimmunoassay and/or ELISA which requires the input of an industrial partner to create a Kite marked ‘Kit’ .To circumvent this problem the BMSC have utilised their expertise in metabolite/lipid targeted test development using triple quadruple mass spectrometry based systems to develop quantitative assays of proteins onto this platform. The advantages of developing peptide based targeted proteomics assays  are;  

  1.   More accuracy
  2.   lower variation
  3.   more specificity
  4.   Can be directly translated into NHS labs

Therefore the centre has the capability to utilise the full omic technologies at UCL to both find new biomarkers of disease and also turn them into rapid multiplexed tests, capable of analysing multiple proteins/lipids/metabolites in a single run and of around 10 minutes. Furthermore, the BMSC works ‘hand in glove’ with the Chemical Pathology Department at GOSH to translate these tests into an accredited environment for analyses to industry and NHS standards.  The BMSC is always open to collaborations and if you would like more information on the centre or would like to work with us please follow the link to our FAQs regarding the BMSC's terms of agreement before applying for any grant. Although the Biological Research Centre is mainly research grant focused, we do have a small and charge-based service platform for researchers requiring some basic mass spectral analyses.  However, these tests are very limited so please read the list of tests available before sending samples or writing grants.

Page last modified on 15 sep 14 10:27