Mass Spectrometry

Mass Spectrometry Group - Overview

The department has a long-established analytical chemistry research group led by Dr Ambrose Furey, with extensive experience and capabilty in the areas of elemental and toxicology analysis using techniques such as seperation chromatography and mass spectrometry. The equipment suite includes HPLC (Ion-trap, ICP) and gas chromatography units with particular expertise in the area of trace element analysis. The group has over 15 years experience in winning research funding from national and international funding bodies, collaborating nationally with bodies such as Teagasc and major international governmental agencies. 

The group has over over 80 peer reviewed publications in scientific journal as well as several contributions to books and other scientific literature. Please see publications page for further detail or checkout the Scopus and Google scholar profiles of Dr Ambrose Furey.

Research Projects

Since 2002 the MS group have secured funding to the value of €3.6 million from National and EU funding agencies. Funding also has been received from HEA PRTLI-2, PRTLI-4 and PRTLI-5, EU/INTERREG IIIB Atlantic Area Programme, EU funds: Wales-Ireland Programme (2014-2020), FIRM 2008 ‘Safe and Healthy Foods, EPA, IRCSET and from SFI. Currently active projects include: 

STREAM (Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aquatic Monitoring)

The STREAM (Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aquatic Monitoring) project will bring together partners on both sides of the Irish Sea to better understand the impact of climate change; lower the cost of marine observation and accelerate the process of data provision. STREAM will develop sensors capable of providing real-time environmental data through web portals, mobile applications and mass-produced sensors for organisations responsible for protecting and improving Welsh and Irish waters. Data collected will be shared locally to keep coastal communities informed about the local impacts of climate change.

Partner Funding (€)
Waterford Institute of Technology €1,690,118
Swansea University €1,726,993
Cork Institute of Technology €911,070


The Mass Spectrometry Group has developed an extensive network of national and international collaborators through its research activities. These include:

Research Team

Research Staff

Current Research Students

  • Daniella Lopez-Henao (Teagasc fellowship): ORNUA 2020 MSc titled “Investigation of non-chlorine cleaning products and disinfectants as a source of alternative residues”. Co-supervisors: Dr David Gleeson, Dr Bernadette O’Brien (Teagasc), Dr Michael McAuliffe (CAPPA) and Dr Fiona O’Halloran (Dept. of Biological Sciences) (Start Date: 1st October 2021). 
  • Lorna Twomey (Teagasc fellowship): FIRM 2020. PhD titled “Evaluation of chlorate development in milk and dairy products with specific focus on milking equipment cleaning protocols and maintenance of milk of high microbiological quality”. Co-supervisors: Dr David Gleeson, Dr Bernadette O’Brien (Teagasc), Dr Michael McAuliffe (CAPPA) and Dr Fiona O’Halloran (Dept. of Biological Sciences) (Start Date: 1st October 2021).
  • Gavin Ring (IRCSET studentship): “Development of a novel elemental point-of-use device for Orthopaedic applications and its validation using High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP- HRMS)” 
  • Aisling Sheehan (CIT RÍSAM Scholar): “Food and Animal Feed Safety - The development of LC-MS/MS methods for the detection of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids and other cereal/plant toxins in food and animal feed”
  • Anna Maria Keaveney: "Investigating the antimicrobial activity, of multi-component products, for synergistic effects, including profiling of product constituents". 

Graduate Students 

  1. Dr Orla Allis: EPA Microcystin project; (PhD) “The Development of LC-MS Methods for the Determination of Microcystins (MC) in Freshwaters, Cyanobacteria and Drinking Water”. Graduation 2007.   
  2. Mr Tony Byrd: MSc thesis ‘Characterisation of Particulate Matter in Urban, Rural and Background Conditions’. Research carried out in collaboration with Cork County Council, Graduation 2008. 
  3. Mr Michael George Cahill: MSc thesis ‘The Application of LC-MS Technologies for the Analysis of Triazine Herbicides in Water’, Graduation 2008
  4. Dr Keith O’Callaghan: SFI/IRCSET funded PhD thesis ‘Application of multiple Mass Spectrometric Techniques in the Isolation, Determination and Characterisation of the Marine Toxins: Azaspiracids. Graduation 2009
  5. Dr Brian Kinsella; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship 2006; Novel Approach to Determine Untested Toxic Residues in Food; Graduation 2010
  6. Dr Michael George Cahill; EPA Strive programme Priority Pollutants (2007-W-LS-1-S1); Novel LC-MS methods for the Determination of Environmental and Food Contaminants incorporating Analyte Confirmation using High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (Start Date: September 2008; Viva: 21st  September 2010, Ratified: 5th October 2011; Graduation: 24th October 2011). Graduation 2010
  7. Dr Michelle Whelan; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship 2007; Development, Validation and Application of UHPLC-MS/MS Methods for the Detection of Veterinary Drug Residues in Food of Animal Origin; Graduation 2011
  8. Dr Merisa Moriarty; Embark IRSCET Awardee; Development of Mass Spectrometric Methods for the Analysis of Serotonin and Related Compounds in Biological Matrices. Graduation 2012
  9. Mrs. Siobhan Ryan: Moorepark Diary Production Research Centre, Teagasc; Investigation of factors influencing Trichloromethane levels in milk and the application of a strategy to reduce these levels. Co-supervisors: Dr Bernadette O’Brien and Dr Kieran Jordan. Graduation 2012
  10. Ms. Laura Keating: Graduate of Limerick Institute of Technology; An Investigation of Potentially Bioactive Compounds in Crataegus Species. Co-supervisors: Dr Siobhan Moane (LIT) and Dr Mary Lehane (CIT). Advisory supervisor and co-author in publications: Dr Ambrose Furey. Graduation 2012
  11. Ms. Eilish Shortle: (2013) Characterisation of Crataegus monogyna fractions and assessment of their functional properties (Start Date: 1st September 2009; Ratified: January 2013; Graduation: 22nd October 2013.
  12. Dr Bebhine Carey; (PRTLI IV Climate Change Project): Novel Liquid Chromatography - Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry and Triple Quadrupole MS Methods for the Determination of Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins. Graduation 2013
  13. Ms. Elizabeth Hobb: Research carried out in collaboration with Pepsico Ireland: Investigation of Environmental Contaminants in Drinking Water using Ion Chromatography. Graduation 2013
  14. Dr Brian Dineen; PRTLI IV Climate Change Project): Novel Liquid Chromatography - Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry and Triple Quadrupole MS Methods for the Determination of Microcystin and Cylindrospermopsin Toxins in Water. Graduation 2014
  15. Dr Clare Power: Teagasc Walsh Fellowship 2010; “Depletion of Veterinary Drug Residues from Milk, their Transfer to Dairy Products”. Graduation 2014
  16. Dr Caroline Griffin; FIRM 2007 ‘Investigation of Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in food stuffs using LC-MS/MS technologies. Graduation 2015
  17. Dr Bríd Brosnan: FIRM 2008 ‘Isolation and characterisation of antifungal compounds from lactic acid bacteria and their application as natural antimicrobials’. Dr A. Coffey, Dept. Biological Sciences as co-supervisor. Graduation 2015
  18. Mr David Mannion: Teagasc Walsh Fellowship 2013, MSc project “Development and validation of gas chromatographic methods for free fatty acid determination in dairy products”. Graduation 2016
  19. Dr Vaishali Bane: Pharmatlantic project “Knowledge Transfer Network for Prevention of Mental Diseases and Cancer in the Atlantic Area” titled “Application of LC-MS technology for the detection of emerging toxins from the European region”. Graduation 2017
  20. Dr. Sarah Tuck: Teagasc walsh Fellowship 2012: “Development of Multi-class analytical methods for Agrochemical Contaminants”. Graduation 2018
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