UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Information for Collaborations and Frequently Asked Questions

Mass spectrometry is probably the most powerful and translational of all analytical techniques available to researchers at the moment but unfortunately also the most complicated.  Fortunately, the TMSRG has over 30 years' expertise in mass spectrometry and is open to collaboration to all researchers throughout UCL, both clinical and non-clinical. Please contact us if you would like to know more or have ideas for projects. We have constructed some common questions and answers we get routinely (see above), unfortunately due to limited time and resources we have to prioritise projects and have also had to state some strict rules and conditions for collaborations. 

If you would like to apply for a grant to use mass spectrometry you must contact us first.  All decisions regarding work to be undertaken in our laboratories, collaborations and grant applications have to be assessed and costed. Please keep this in mind when writing grant applications as it could hold up the process. 

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. 

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.

Terms and Conditions


If you're planning to perform biomarker discovery, or any in depth sample analysis on a large number of samples then a joint grant application with the TMSRG is required. This ensures overheads and appropriate costings are allocated towards the running of the TMSRG and ensures our specialist expertise is guaranteed for your project. In addition, £5000 per year contribution towards the running of the mass spectrometry equipment is required. This is not a pro-rata payment. These funds must be paid immediately on activation of the grant and regardless how much work is undertaken in our laboratories.  Please note, we are not obliged to honour or perform any work from any grant application that plans to use our labs equipment without a member of the TMSRG on the application.


If the work involved has required a significant amount of time and expertise of one or more of the TMSRG researchers and is the main aspect of the publication then a joint senior authorship is required.  

Please contact the laboratory before applying for any research funding as we retain the right to refuse access to our laboratories if these conditions are not met.


Can I have a collaboration letter please?

A    Please contact us first detailing your proposed project so it can be reviewed monthly by a TMSRG committee. We will then decide if we have capacity to take on your project and the complexity of the work you are proposing

I want to apply for a grant and I want to include mass spectrometry, what is the procedure?

A      Talk to us first, before putting pen to paper, as this depends on many things and the TMSRG Grant committee will decide if we need to be included on the grant or whether we can accommodate your research.   However, a general guide is listed below:

· For a few simple and routine analyses like protein identifications from gel bands, co-immunoprecipitations etc. then no, we don't need to go on your grant, just contact us to cost it correctly for you and acknowledge us in any publications 

· For large scale proteomic, metabolomics, lipidomics studies, characterising post-translational modifications of proteins or development of targeted MRM-based analyses then we must be contacted first and be co-authors on any application.  If you have applied for a grant without notifying us or including us, then you will be refused access to our department. Please, please, please don't put us in the position of saying no or trying to negotiate around this.

· Note: All mass spec grants must be budgeted correctly as it costs >£125K per year to run the mass spectrometry equipment.

Why are there fees to work in the TMSRG? 
  • Mass spectrometers are extremely expensive to run and maintain. Service contracts which are vital to keep the machines running 24/7, 365 days of the year and required for accreditation and cost in the region of £16,000-£50,000 per year per instrument (£125K per year).
  • Mass spectrometers also require and consume vast amounts of high quality nitrogen therefore the fee includes the provision and service charge for a nitrogen generator.  It also includes provision for  hypergrade Nobel gases (Argon, Helium).
  • Then there are general mass spec consumables which include columns/vials/enzymes/reagents.
  • Then there are project specific consumables not included in the fee such as peptides and heavy labelled internal standards which themselves can cost up to £500 per biomarker or target. None of this includes a technician to actually maintain the instruments and run this is provided at our own cost.
I like the sound of wanting to develop a targeted and multiplexed MRM-based assay, what are the requirements?

Please contact us beforehand. This is becoming a more and more common request and an extremely complex procedure to develop that will require us to be co-author on any grant and any papers arising from the development of the method (not stratifying your data which we probably don't understand, just the method development paper).  If you are getting us to develop a method for you, using all our expertise, technology and resources, we insist on going last author on any methods developed in our laboratory. Using the test to stratify your patient or experimental data is your paper, method development is our area.

I have got some funding for a spare research fellow, PhD student etc., and would like to put them in your lab as a spare pair of hands to develop a method

Unfortunately no. Unless they have mass spectrometry experience in our technology then your fast learning, intelligent intern or protégé, who is almost certainly lovely, but to us they will take considerable time to train and supervise  to learn how to operate a mass spectrometer.

I have a researcher who wishes to apply for a fellowship that will include some mass spectrometry, what is the procedure.

Please contact us first so we can decide whether we have the capacity to take your researcher on. 

I am interested in doing a PhD in 'omic' technology, do you have PhD studentships available?

Yes of course, we have lots of PhD students, we love PhD students, PhD students are the life blood of research and we have funded studentships from time to time so if you are interested in working with us then please drop us a line or check the ICH PhD website.  

We also take a few self-funding PhD studentships but please contact us first regarding the project, if you have ideas for PhDs please contact us as it needs to fit into our scheme of research. 

I know you are a research centre but do you offer any services?
Do you offer help with the bioinformatics?