Areas of Expertise

Mass Spectrometry, Medical Proteomics, Metabolomics, Analytical Biochemistry, Lipid Metabolism, Steroids, and Receptor-Ligand Interaction.


Professor William Griffiths studied for his BSc and PhD at University College Cardiff, after which he moved fifty miles west to work as a post doc in John Beynon’s Royal Society Research Unit at Swansea University. At Swansea Professor Griffiths's investigations were centred on the physical chemistry of gas-phase ions. These studies were continued with a short spell at the Physics Department, Uppsala University. Through out the 1990’s he spent his time at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, where he moved into the field of biomedical mass spectrometry working with Jan Sjövall. Professor Griffiths left Karolinska Institute for The School of Pharmacy in spring 2003 and joined the Institute of Mass Spectrometry in Sept 2007.

Outside of Europe, Professor Griffiths spent three years as a lecturer in physical chemistry at the University of the West Indies, Kingston Jamaica.

Research Interests

Professor Griffiths's research group is focussed on mass spectrometric analysis of lipids [Liere P 2004] and proteins [Juntti-Berggren L 2004]. Current projects involve the study of cholesterol metabolism, particularly the formation of oxysterols. New and improved methods for the identification, quantification, and characterization of oxysterols, and other sterols, are being developed [Griffiths WJ 2004]; and the involvement of these molecules in neurodegenerative disease is being investigated. Complementary to this, proteomic techniques are being used to study steroid metabolising enzymes in brain and other tissues [Lane CS 2004]. Protein-lipid interactions are an area of additional interest, with investigations being made using non-denaturing mass spectrometry on receptor-ligand non-covalent complexes [Lengqvist J 2004], and using chemical proteomics methods to identify lipid interacting proteins.

Recent Past PhD Students

  • Sonia Nisar: Nano-scale liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometric identification of cytochrome P450 isoforms in tissues
  • Catherine Susannah Lane: The analysis of cytochrome P450 proteins by mass spectrometry
  • Agneta Tjernberg: Protein mass spectrometry in the drug discovery process
  • Waltteri Hosia: Molecular mechanisms in amyloid fibril formation
  • Johan Lengqvist: Native protein mass spectrometry of nuclear receptor-ligand and enzyme-substrate complexes
  • Dilip K. Rai: The use of mass spectrometry and DNA technology in the investigation of hemoglobin disorders
  • Suya Liu: Nano-electrospray mass spectrometry for the analysis of neurosteroids and related molecules
  • Andreas Jonsson: Mass spectrometry in protein structure analysis


Professor Anne Stephenson, Dr Jasmina Jovanovic, Professor David Thurston, Dr Yuqin Wang

Main External Collaborators

Professor Jan Sjövall (Stockholm); Dr Jurgen Groet and Professor Dean Nizetic (Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry); Dr S D Taylor-Robinson, (Imperial College London); and Professor Brian Davidson and Professor Barry Fuller (University College Medical School).

Industrial Collaborators


Selected Publications

Juntti-Berggren L, Refai E, Appelskog I, Andersson M, Imreh G, Dekki N, Uhles S, Yu L, Griffiths WJ, Zaitsev S, Leibiger I, Yang SN, Olivecrona G, Jornvall H, Berggren PO. Apolipoprotein CIII promotes Ca2+-dependent beta cell death in type 1 diabetes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jul 6;101(27):10090-4.

Lengqvist J, Mata De Urquiza A, Bergman AC, Willson TM, Sjovall J, Perlmann T, Griffiths WJ. Polyunsaturated fatty acids including docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acid bind to the retinoid X receptor alpha ligand-binding domain. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2004 Jul;3(7):692-703.

Lengqvist J, Svensson R, Evergren E, Morgenstern R, Griffiths WJ. Observation of an intact noncovalent homotrimer of detergent-solubilized rat microsomal glutathione transferase-1 by electrospray mass spectrometry. J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 2;279(14):13311-6.

Liu S, Sjovall J, Griffiths WJ. Neurosteroids in rat brain: extraction, isolation, and analysis by nanoscale liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry. Anal Chem. 2003 Nov 1;75(21):5835-46.