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Dr Kersti Karu
Dr Kersti Karu profile picture
  • Mass Spectrometry Manager
  • Dept of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I gained MSc in Analytical Chemistry degree from UCL Birkbeck College in 2001 and have started my research career at UCL School of Pharmacy in 2001, as a research mass spectrometrist and I gained my PhD in Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry in 2009.  I was classically trained as a mass spectrometrist, becoming well versed in mass spectrometry analyses of small molecules, proteins, peptides, DNA, RNA and their sample purification steps prior mass spectrometry analysis.During my PhD in UCL School of Pharmacy, I established a methodology for oxysterols analysis. After lipid extraction and purification from biological sample and derivatisation of sterols to enhance mass spectrometric response and intelligent use of multi-stage tandem mass spectrometry to obtain structural information this has led to a powerful method for the characterisation of oxidised sterols from small quantities of brain tissues, fluids, blood, more closely my interest brain oxysterol content. This methodology was used for prenatal diagnosis of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. I joined Imperial College London as a Research Associate in 2009, where I concentrated my efforts on optimising two dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) electrophoresis separation for identifying pain related proteins in a central amygdala of brain and their identification by nano-scale liquid chromatography combined to electrospray tandem mass spectrometry, also using stable isotope labelling for high-throughput quantification pain proteome analysis [1]. My expertise’s are in LC-MS/MS, and proteomics including sample preparation, separation science, and database mining and I was also collaborating with pain consortium researchers. In 2013, I took a mass spectrometry manager position at UCL Chemistry Department, my current position involves the introduction and development of new mass spectrometry technologies (e.g. intact protein/antibody LC-MS analysis, analysis of perfumes, diary products, polymers, gold nanoclusters, estrogens/phytosterols analyses, water analysis of pharmaceutical ingredients, RNA, and novel molecule discovery, metabolomics, also day to day running of the department’s high-throughput mass spectrometry facility, and supervision/training of researches and PhD/MSc students on LC-MS/MS, MALDI and GC-MS. My research is centered on proteomics, and phyto- and sterols analyses.



Research Summary
My main area of interest is proteomics (gel- and mass spectrometry-based) and sterol analyses by mass spectrometry.
Teaching Summary
Each year I have several master students working on various projects such as phytosterol analyses by mass spectrometry, e-cigarettes, perfume trace analyses. 
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