Analytical Unit


The Analytical Unit (AU) offers analytical support in a wide variety of research projects related to the determination of relevant biomolecules with a molecular weight ranging from 50 to 1000 Da in biological matrices obtained from different sort of sources (e.g. cells, tissue, serum and other physiological fluids). Thereby, the AU arises as a potent platform to provide specialized services to internal and external customers, including enterprises focused on the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nutraceutic and biotechnological sector, thus promoting the collaboration in R+D projects with both public and private entities.

The obtaining of the Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) certificate in 2009 ensures that all the offered services are conducted in compliance with rigorous quality standards.  Furthermore, the AU deals with an additional high value-added due to the clinical experience of La Fe Hospital, thus converging both expertise and cutting-edge equipment.



The AU is located in a more than 100 m2 facility, including segregated laboratory space designed for dealing with sample processing, analytical systems management and data analysis. Currently, the analytical platform of the UA involves the following state of the art instruments that combine both chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques: 







Liquid chromatographs coupled to triple quadrupole mass analysers


UPLC-MS (QqQ), Waters Acquity-Xevo TQ-S

UPLC-MS (QqQ), Agilent 1290-6460

HPLC-MS (QqQ), Waters 2795XL-Quattro Micro


Liquid chromatographs coupled to quadrupole-time of flight mass analysers


UPLC-MS (QToF), Waters Acquity-Synapt

HPLC-MS (QToF), Agilent 1100, ABSciex QSTAR Elite


Gas chromatograph coupled to quadrupole-time of flight mass analyser


GC-MS (QToF), Agilent 7890A-7200







Additionally, a liquid chromatography Agilent 2695 with UV-VIS (Agilent DAD 2996) or fluorescent detection (Shimadzu RF535) systems are also available.




The AU has at its disposal the highest range of analytical instruments based on innovative chromatographic systems (i.e., UPLC and GC) coupled to cutting-edge mass spectrometry detectors at present available. These instruments place the AU in a competitive position as technological platform at both the national and international levels.


It is remarkable, that all studies can be performed under a GLP and GLP-like environment offering quality system control and flexibility in the experimental design and sample tracking. 

Services offered


The analytical methodology based on metabolomics is mainly divided into targeted and untargeted approaches. Firstly, the analysis under the targeted approach is focused on the determination of a specific molecule or group of molecules in a specific matrix. It is generally used for the measurement of known variables (e.g., metabolites) under specific conditions. Secondly, the untargeted approach analyses comprehensively the total detectable content of biological samples subjected to different conditions to compare possible changes between the obtained metabolic profiles. Throughout statistical multivariate analysis (e.g., PCA, PLS, PLS-DA) of the generated data, relevant information about sample clustering and correlations between MS data and clinical and laboratory data can be obtained.


Among the different services offered, it is the highlighted interest the following services:


  • Development and validation of LC-MS and GC-MS bioanalytical methods to determine endogenous compounds (i.e., potential biomarkers), drugs and Metabolites in a wide range of biological matrices (cells, tissues, biopsies, serum, and other physiological liquids).
  • Evaluation of the security and stability of new drugs and active compounds for clinical applications.
  • Activity measurements of the enzymes involved in biotransformation processes:
    • Phase I metabolism studies (i.e., CYPs 1A2, 2A6, 2B6, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, 3A4)
    • Phase II metabolism studies (i.e., UGTs, SULPHs, FMOs)
  • Comparison of drug metabolism among different species.




  • Assistance in the experimental design and development of metabolite profiling studies using both LC-MS (ESI+/ESI-) and GC-MS analysis platforms.
  • Discovery of biomarkers by comprehensive metabolic profiling and multivariate analysis.
  • Identification of metabolite structures throughout the analysis of metabolites in biological matrices using high resolution MS.