Areas of Expertise

Mass Spectrometry, Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry (Pharmaceutical, Environmental and Forensic analysis), Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation Design and Technique Development.


Prof A G Brenton

A native of west Wales his mass spectrometry career started as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor John Beynon’s Royal Society Research Unit in the University of Wales Swansea. Industrial experience was obtained with AEI-Kratos (Manchester, UK), first as a scientific engineer then as a product leader of their high-resolution mass spectrometry range. He took up a mass spectrometry position in Swansea in 1982, where he researched into the fundamentals of ion/molecule collision spectroscopy. His research interests are in the area of instrument design and development, analytical chemistry and biomolecular applications.  Since 1984 he has collaborated with professor Dai Games and the biochemistry research group and was promoted to a Personal Chair in Mass Spectrometry in 1996. He is the first recipient of the Curt Brunnée Research Award ‘For significant contributions to the development of instrumentation in mass spectrometry’ which was presented in Budapest at the 13th International MS Conference. He was an Editor of Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry for over 15 years and is on the editorial board of other mass spectrometry journals.  He a a past Chairman of the British Mass Spectrometry Society and has sat on International Mass Spectrometry Society Committee. He is a co-founder of Microptic Ltd which invented and markets an automated Cytogenetic screening system used to identify hazardous chemicals/pharmaceuticals. He is the Director of the EPSRC National Mass Spectrometry Facility, located in Swansea, which analyses complex samples and provides a range of service, including education, training and advice, for the UK university chemistry research community.

He leads the Institute of Mass Spectrometry (IMS) that has been enhanced with two strategic appointments. Recent achievements in mass spectrometry include design and construction of novel time-of-flight mass spectrometers with new ion optics for increased duty cycle and another for ultra high sensitivity for environmental and clinical analysis, developing a mathematical and computational ion optical model to describe collisional broadening effects in sector mass spectrometers, improving MALDI ionisation of inorganic complexes and accurate mass methodologies within the EPSRC NMSF.


Dr A R Godfrey

Dr Godfrey is a Forensic Chemist, completing her BSc in 2004 and a PhD in mass spectrometry (MS) at Swansea in 2008.  Her interest in mass spectrometry (and in particular hyphenated techniques involving chromatography) commenced from working in the pharmaceutical industry within drug development before her PhD studies.  This clinical theme provided the basis of her research during her PhD involving biomarker analysis by MS.  Following completion of her PhD Dr Godfrey continued as a Researcher within the Institute of Mass Spectrometry (IMS) at Swansea working with Professor AG Brenton on projects involving biomolecule elucidation and instrument development.  Throughout this period Dr Godfrey studied for a PG Certificate in Higher Education (PGCtHE) completing in December 2011.  In August 2011 Dr Godfrey became a Lecturer in Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) specialising in pharmaceutical, environmental and forensic analysis, including quality management systems and professional laboratory practice (GxP).  These specialism’s underpin her most recent research involving pharmaceutical analysis and environmental medicine.       

Dr Godfrey’s research is primarily focussed on pharmaceutical analysis (both within the environment and in humans) and development of analytical instrumentation for medical and chemical analysis.  This is reflected in her external collaborators which include both government agencies and industry.  Her most recent research is concerned with environmental medicine and the development of mass spectrometry and sample preparation technologies.  As part of her PGCtHE training she has carried out pedagogic research specifically for mass spectrometry education.  She has successfully received grant funding and supervised a number of postgraduate research students.  Dr Godfrey has also carried out training for staff and external parties in LC-MS.               

Dr Godfrey is a Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci).  She is an active member of the British Mass Spectrometry Society (BMSS), American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).  She supports both the Analytical Methods Committee of the RSC in generating teaching materials and good practice guidelines as the secretary of the Instrumental Analysis Sub-committee.  Dr Godfrey also supports outreach activities of the RSC through voluntary work as a Chemnet Ambassador to promote scientific education to A-level students.  She is the Programme Director and Industrial Liaison Officer for the postgraduate schemes within IMS (MSc, MRes, PG Diploma and PG Certificate) working directly with (multi-)national companies, government agencies and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in supporting postgraduate study and research. 

Research Interests

Research undertaken with NHS trusts includes: endometrial cancer studies, including the role of aromatase and steroid profiling; breast cancer biomarkers discovery, efficacy of kidney dialysis and SNPs analysis with BBSRC, MRC and NHS funding. Analytical collaborations include analysis of natural products (Culltech Ltd), water purity analysis (Environment and Heritage Service, Lisburn, NI) and chromatography separations development.  IMS has strong interests in the development of MS techniques and instrumentation and has designed and built novel types of time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometers (EPSRC and Royal Soc. Paul Fund) and assisting industry to develop ultra-high sensitivity air sampling systems for application to environmental and clinical analysis (Markes Intl, s.Wales), atmospheric pressure matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) TOF. The IMS has recently developed accurate mass measurement, and novel mass calibrants for MALDI and has expert experience in studying large inorganic complexes and polymers by MS, including nano-particle cluster research.

Teaching material

  • Mass spectrometry module notes
  • Chemometrics module notes
  • Physical Chemistry module notes
  • Introductory mathematics for chemical or biological students

Selected Publications

Improvement of the duty cycle of an orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer using ion gates
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry., 21 (2007) 3093-3102.
AG Brenton, T. Krastev, D J Rousell, MA Kennedy, AS Craze and CM Williams

Characterization of Various Analytes Using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry and 2-[(2E)-3-(4-tert-Butylphenyl)-2-methylprop-2-enylidene]malononitrile Matrix.
Anal. Chem., 2006, 78, 199-206.
Wyatt, M. F.; Stein, B. K.; Brenton, A. G.

Investigation into Accurate Mass Capability of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry, with respect to Radical Ion Species.
J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 2006, 17, 672-675.
Wyatt, M. F.; Stein, B. K.; Brenton, A. G.

Calculation of the effect of collisional broadening on high-resolution translational energy loss spectra.
Int. J. Mass Spectrom., 230 (2003) 185-192.
A G Brenton and P Jonathan

Analysis of urinary nucleosides. IV. Identification of urinary purine nucleosides by liquid chromatography/electrospray mass spectrometry.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 18, 2004, 2730-2738.
E Dudley, F Lemiere, W Van Dongen, R Tuytten,  S El-Sharkawi, A. G. Brenton, E L. Esmans and R P. Newton.

Research Students

PhD Students

Andrew Williams "Development of atmospheric pressure ionization techniques using a novel liquid sampling system based on a miniature electrophoretic liquid focussing devices”

Victoria Chislett (EPSRC NMSSC Student placed in Oxford University with Dr Simon Aldridge. The project involves the synthesis of organometallic polymers and the use of a range of techniques, including mass spectrometry, to assess polymer electronic/physical properties and applications e.g. in sensors)

Ray Thomas "Ultra Trace Analysis of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in the Aquatic Environment"

Recent PhD students

Mesfer Al amari - "Applications of accurate mass measurement in mass spectrometry"

Angela Taylor - PhD 2009 "Steroid analysis in cancerous and non-cancerous endometrial tissues using mass spectrometry"

Ruth Godfrey - PhD 2008 "Investigation of Uremic Biomarkers and Development of MALDI Imaging Matrices by Mass Spectrometry"

Clare Smith - PhD 2007 "Analysis of snake venom from the genera Naja, Ophiophagus, Crotalus, Calloselasma and Haemachatus"

Julia Grassl - PhD 2007 "Breast Cancer Serum Proteomics Sample Processing and Protein Profiling by Mass Spectrometry"

Shujing Ding - PhD 2006 "The application of mass spectrometry to Ginkgo biloba analysis and identification of phosphorylated proteins in response to elevated level of cCMP"

S Sangsrichan - PhD 2006 "Derivatives of acids, alcohols and amines for LC-MS"    

Masoud Yousef - PhD 2004 "Analysis of degradation products of drugs and dyes by LC/MS and SFC"

Kendon Graham - PhD 2004 "Application of LC/MS to CYP450 Inhibition Screening and the Measurement of Plasma Free Metanephrines"

CM Williams - PhD 2003 "Development of an orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer : structural and quantitative applications in mass spectrometry"

Claudie Black - PhD 2003 "Development of an Atmospheric Pressure Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation Source for Mass Spectrometry"

David J Rousell - PhD 2002 "Optimisation of the Duty-Cycle of an orthogonal Acceleration Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer for Applications in Separation Sciences"  [partial document]

Mat Kennedy - PhD 2001 "Development of TOFMS and GC/TOFMS instrumentation, with fundamental studies using translational energy spectrometry"

Jonathon P Williams - PhD 2000 Contents list "Ion Structure Determination using Novel Time-of-Flight Techniques and Mass-analysed In Kinetic Energy Spectrometry."

List of PhD thesis authors held in the IMS Archive


  • Professor John White, Staff in Biochemistry - Professor Russ Newton and Dr Ed Dudley.
  • Prof D Mathur (Mumbai) and Dr AR Lee (Melbourne).

Industrial Collaborators

  • Markes Intl

Interesting ions

Do you know that the most energetic molecule in the universe was discovered by mass spectrometry here at Swansea University it is He2++ and is the same as molecular hydrogen (isolectronic molecules) except it has lots more energy 3310 kJ per mole.