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David Barrett

Professor in Analytical Bioscience, Faculty of Science



I obtained a BSc (Hons) in Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of London (1976) and a PhD from the University of Birmingham (1981). After 4 years working in the pharmaceutical industry in drug metabolism/drug analysis research (Glaxo, SK&F) and a 4 year worldwide travelling break, I moved to Nottingham in 1989 as a research fellow. I was appointed to a lectureship at Nottingham in 1992, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1998 and to Associate Professor and Reader in 2004.

I am research leader and founder of the Centre for Analytical Bioscience (CAB) which focuses on the development of innovative analytical methods to measure biological events in complex biological systems. CAB is a multidisciplinary research group involved in a wide range of collaborative projects where challenging or novel approaches to bioanalysis are required.

I received the Nurofen Pain Relief Project Award (1991), a national award sponsored by Boots plc in open competition for the best published paper on pain relief.

Research Summary

My research interests are in bioanalytical science and the use of advanced analytical approaches to investigate complex biological and / or pharmaceutical problems. Much of my research involves the… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

My research interests are in bioanalytical science and the use of advanced analytical approaches to investigate complex biological and / or pharmaceutical problems. Much of my research involves the need to analyse multi-component mixtures of molecules, often present in a complex matrix at very low concentrations. Recent BBSRC JIF (2002) and SRIF (2004, 2006) funding has provided £1.2 m of internationally competitive bioanalytical facilities, including tandem quadrupole LC-MS, LC quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometry, quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry , MALDI-Q-Tof MS, nanoLC, DESI-MS and capillary electrophoresis-laser induced fluorescence (CE-LIF).

Current BBSRC funded research with Paul Williams and colleagues (Institute of Infections Immunity and Inflammation) includes the first application of metabolite profiling methods specially designed for comprehensive screening and identification of families of quinolone, homoserine lactone and autoinducer quorum sensing (QS) molecules, to discover new QS molecules and to investigate the relationship between bacterial central metabolism and quorum sensing.

Well-established collaborations (Wellcome, MRC) with Dave Kendall and Vicky Chapman (Institute of Neuroscience) have developed an improved method for targeted profiling of endocannabinoids and their metabolites in tissue and brain regions. The mechanisms underlying the analgesic effects of endocannabinoids in acute and chronic pain states, including neuropathic pain and osteoarthritis are being investigated with a view to the development of potential therapy using endocannabinoid inhibitors.

Recently, my research has focused on improving metabolic profiling methods for folates, isothiocyanates, flavonoids and lipids which has made an impact in the area of dietary influences on health and disease. These methods underpin plant and human studies in collaboration (BBSRC, EPSRC) with Clare Daykin, Malcolm Bennett (Plant Sciences), Richard Mithen (Institute of Food Research) and Jeremy Pritchard (Birmingham).

Faster, more informative and easy-to-use analytical technologies are being developed (EPSRC, BBSRC, Hiden Analytical, FSS) at an instrument level including matrixless MALDI-Tof MS (SALDI, DIOS) with Mike George (Chemistry) and Morgan Alexander, DESI MS with Martin McCoustra (Heriot- Watt) and metabolite profiling applications of quadrupole linear ion trap (QTRAP) MS. High sensitivity metabolite profiling methods for ultra-low sample volume (nanolitre) bioanalysis include nanoflow LC-MS, CE-LIF and chiral CE for pharmaceuticals (GSK).. I have published over 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers in my academic career, and successfully supervised more than 30 PhD students.

Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies

• Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (Chem, MRSC)• Member of the British Mass Spectrometry Society• Member of The Drug Metabolism Group (UK)• Member of the Metabolomics Society


Biopharmaceutics: membranes, pharmacokinetics (B32D05 module convener)Toxicology: drug metabolism (B33F04 module co-convener)Spectroscopy and Analysis (B32C05)Science of Medicines Manufacture (B31A09)Laboratory Studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology (B32C08)Advanced Drug Delivery: peptides and proteins (B33E01)

I have been external examiner of higher degrees at a number of UK Universities, including London, York, Aston and Bradford.

School of Pharmacy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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