Areas of Expertise

Mass Spectrometry, Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation Design and Technique Development.


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 EPRSC 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 recently formed 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 NMSSC.

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.

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

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.