UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Biological Mass Spectrometry Centre


The Mills Research Group is based at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and headed by Dr Kevin Mills. The Translational Mass Spectrometry Research Group is not a core facility but is a bespoke translational research group that brings together cutting edge technology with precision and stratified medicine for the benefit of patients. We specialise in using extreme deep phenotyping (proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics) to find new drug targets, elucidate disease mechanisms, identify new biomarkers and develop new tests for the NHS and industrial drug trials. Our approach is to work closely with our medical colleagues to firstly deep phenotype smaller cohorts of well-defined clinical samples to identify pathways and critical proteins, metabolites and lipids for further study. These pathways and molecules are then validated statistically by their development into multiplexed and high throughput analyses that are capable of analysing large cohorts of samples i.e. deep phenotyping on smaller well clinically defined patients followed by validation on large sample cohorts. The advantage of this streamlined strategy is that potential disease mechanisms and altered pathways are confirmed quicker and more efficiently as being therapeutic targets worthy of further evaluation. In addition, the development of any targeted proteomic, metabolomic or lipid mass spectral assays to confirm any findings are translated to triple quadrupole based mass spectrometers and are performed to NHS/ Industrial standards. Therefore, these tests can seamlessly be translated into the clinical service at GOSH/NHNN who have the same platform of mass spectrometers as our research based technology.

The TMSRG has a history of developing specialised clinical assays that we have been providing for diagnostic services since 1984 with specialist analyses of urinary bile acids for inborn errors of metabolism. We were the first centre to develop the mass spectral screening method for the diagnosis and monitoring of Fabry disease. This assay is now used around the world in diagnostics and clinical trials and we are the main centre for Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 analyses in the UK through Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Our research group is focused on translational research and has both the capability and expertise in performing biomarker discovery and developing potential diagnostic molecules into, targeted translational tests that can be applied to clinical trials with NHS and industry. Our group works very closely with the BRCs at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Cardiovascular Sciences and National Hospital for Neurology in both elucidating disease mechanisms involved in genetic metabolic disease and neurodegenerative conditions. It is a unique, state of the art environment where both clinical and non-clinical researcher's work side by side using mass spectrometry based omics and targeted analyses.

Please contact us before applying for any grant if you wish to collaborate with my group because we are inundated with projects and BRC research projects so there is little spare capacity because.  Please note, we are not a core facility and thus we require you to contact us before applying for any funding. Unfortunately, if we haven't been contacted prior to a grant being submitted and/or been included in discussions regarding costings of an application, then we won't be able to take your project on.  Priority has to be given to our own grant funded applications. 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 (see below point 3) before contacting us.

UCL TMSRG logo kindly designed and provided by Adele Heywood