PhD project - “Analysis of residues in food using Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry

Job Description

Project aims:

(1) To develop multi-residue methods for quantitative and confirmatory analysis of drug residues in food using novel chromatographic approaches. (2) To validate methodology to EU standards.


Feed additives and veterinary drugs and are widely used to prevent and treat various infections in food producing animals. Differences in licensing, regulatory limits and technology have huge potential to disrupt trade by causing rejections at border inspection posts (BIPs). These rejections can lead to significant financial penalties and supply chain disruption to food business operators or importers. The use of emerging technologies in food safety has the potential to impact on the economy and food security. Thus the objective of this research project is to improve methodology for quantitative and confirmatory analysis of these two groups of drug residues in food so that trade can be harmonised.

The PhD student recruited in this project will focus on the development, validation and application of methods for the analysis of veterinary drug and pesticide residues in various waste types to be spread on agricultural land. The student will be registered at the Technical University of Dublin and based in the Food Safety Department, at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin 15, Ireland. The analytical chemistry laboratories are based in the Food Safety Department at Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland. The group consists of approximately 15 scientists made up of PhD students, research scientists and technologists. The laboratory is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence for the analysis of chemical contaminants in food and environmental samples. The laboratory participated on several EU and nationally funded research projects. The laboratory also fulfils a role of an Irish National Reference Laboratory for a range of substances including veterinary drugs and pesticides. All of these tests are accredited to ISO17025 and are validated to a high standard. The residues group has six laboratories equipped with state of the art instrumentation including seven LC-MS/MS systems and one ICP-MS. The laboratory also has a range of other equipment such as HPLC and GC systems.

Student Requirements Research Plan

The PhD student will investigate the direct analysis of veterinary drug residues in food using LC-MS/MS. The suitability of different LC-MS/MS platforms will be investigated including more sensitive new instrumentation including ABSciex, Agilent and Waters. The PhD will investigate the suitability of different methodologies for the extraction, isolation and detection of the target analytes. These may include different procedures including dilute and shoot, QuEChERS and solid phase extraction. Methodology developed on the project should be written in ISO17025 format prior to carrying out method validation experiments. All methodology developed on the project will be validated according to COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/808s. The methods will undergo a rigorous validation process to ensure they are fit for purpose. In addition, where possible the suitability of the methodology should be assessed through inter-laboratory studies.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Chemistry, Biochemistry, Food Science). The candidate should have some experience in the area of chromatographic techniques. Knowledge and experience of bionanalytical techniques such as solvent, solid phase extraction and mass spectrometry would be an advantage. Applicants whose first language is not English must show evidence of English proficiency. For details

Award The student will work under the supervision of Dr Martin Danaher and Dr Mary Moloney (Teagasc), Prof Christine O’Connor and Dr Carl Sullivan (TU Dublin). The Scholarship will start as soon as possible after the most suitable candidate is selected.


Student Stipend per annum €19,000

Materials & Travel Budget per annum € 8750

Fees covered by the funding per annum €6,000

Duration of Funding (e.g. 48 months) 48 months

Deadline to submit an application 22/06/2024

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest.–environmental-health-grangegorman/about/

School of Food Science and Environmental Health