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Metabolomics core facility

Metabolomics, or metabonomics, refers to the measurement of metabolites (compounds with a molecular mass < 1000 daltons) in biological materials such as blood, urine, cells. 

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In the Faculty we are able to perform both untargeted and targeted metabolomics. Untargeted metabolomics, also referred to as global metabolite profiling, is used to identify metabolic pathways that can be linked to biological mechanisms or clinical outcomes. Targeted metabolomics focuses on specific compounds (or pathways) and is usually more quantitative than untargeted metabolomics. 

The FHMS metabolomics facility contains 2 liquid chromatography mass spectrometers (LC-MS) and one gas chromatography MS (GC-MS).

We routinely use targeted LC-MS metabolomics  to investigate 24 h rhythms, circadian and sleep/wake processing in a range of species, including humans. Our targeted method (AbsoluteIDQ® p180 Kit, Biocrates) measures amino acids, biogenic amines, acylcarnitines, glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids.  


The 5975C is a single quadrupole mass spectrometer coupled to a 7890A Gas Chromatograph. The mass spectrometer is equipped with an Electron Ionisation (EI) source and has a mass range 2-1050 Da with unit mass resolution. The instrument has the capability of performing Synchronous SIM/Scans, it captures SIM data and full scan data in the same acquisition, with no compromise in analytical performance. 

Used for analysing relatively small volatile non-polar compounds.

The LCQ Deca XP Plus is a 3D quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer coupled to a Surveyor HPLC with a Photodiode array detector. The instrument is equipped with Electrospray Ionisation (ESI) and Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation (APCI) sources and has a mass range of 50 – 4,000 Da. The instrument can perform MS, MS/MS and MSnacquisitions.

Used for analysing relatively low molecular weight compounds and for identifying unknown compounds.

The Q-TOF Premier™ is a hybrid quadrupole Time-of-Flight (oaToF) tandem mass spectrometer coupled to a Waters Acquity UPLC system and UV detector. The instrument has both Electrospray ionisation (ESI) and ESCi™ Multi-Mode Ionisation sources. ESCi ™ allows high speed switching between Electrospray ionisation and Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation acquisitions in a single run. The instrument also utilises LockSpray™ technology to ensure good mass accuracy (3 ppm RMS).

Used for metabolite profiling and good for the accurate mass analysis of relatively polar compounds.

The Xevo TQ-S is a tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer coupled to a Waters Acquity binary UPLC and a TUV detector. An optional Acquity H-Class quaternary UPLC is available to be used together with the Acquity binary UPLC to give orthogonal separations (2D-LC). Using a 2D-LC set up has the potential of allowing greater sensitivity and an improved selectivity by allowing orthogonal chromatographic separations.  The mass spectrometer has a multi-mode ionisation probe allowing Electrospray Ionisation (ESI) and Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation (APCI). The mass range of the instrument is 2-2048 m/z and can be used either in full scan or four different MS/MS modes – precursor ion, product ion, Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) or neutral loss mode.

Used for analysing relatively polar low molecular weight compounds. This instrument is particularly good for the analysis of low concentration analytes and for quantitation.


Please contact Dr Dovile Lingaityte regarding analyses ( 


Academic lead

Debra J. Skene profile image

Professor Debra Skene

Professor of Neuroendocrinology; Section Lead Chronobiology

Support staff

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Dr Dovile Lingaityte

Senior Research Technician (LC-MS), Chronobiology

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  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686700
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School of Biosciences and Medicine
University of Surrey