Research topics

The focus of the explorative research within the Laboratory for Toxicology is situated mainly in the field of forensic toxicology. A common feature of all this research is the bioanalytical investigation of xenobiotics in a great variety of biological matrices such as blood, urine, tissues, hair, vitreous humour or saliva. In that respect, during the past decade an outstanding reputation has been build in the development of analytical applications based on, but certainly not limited to, liquid chromatography [HPLC], gas chromatography [GC], (gas chromatography-) mass spectrometry [(GC-)MS] and more recently LC-MS. In addition, a substantial part of the investigative work is also devoted to different approaches of sample clean-up. More precisely, the present research is concentrated in the following fields:

  • development and application of a solid phase extraction procedure followed by GC-MS analysis of the new generation antidepressants in urine and blood samples.
  • the analysis of pharmaceuticals in water samples by solid-phase extraction followed by LC-MS.
  • analytical procedures for the measurement of chemotherapeutics (taxanes, anthracyclins) in blood and saliva by LC-MS or LC followed by fluorescence detection. 
  • development of a sensitive method for the quantification of various forms of folates in plant food

As can be derived from these research topics and the used techniques, the laboratory has some expertise in the field of liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS). This rapidly developing technique broadens the area of mass spectrometry beyond gas chromatography. In addition low detection limits can be reached and spectral information, utile for identification, is provided. These characteristics make a very powerful tool in toxicology, where one is continuously strained to seek for the unknown. This explains the high interest of the laboratory in LC-MS.

Of course this research is also essential for the Laboratory of Toxicology in view of scientific output (see Publications>articles menu) and because of the fact that newly developed methods can be implemented in the area of forensics.