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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Indicative Project

High resolution accurate mass screening of urine samples for anti-doping to improved detection of exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids

Background Info

The ASDTL is the only laboratory in the Oceania region accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to carry out doping control analysis in human sport and as such performs virtually all of the sports drug testing carried out in Australia and New Zealand. ASDTL complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and is accredited by NATA. Drug testing is not just carried out at major sporting events but is a year round activity with the analysis of some 8000 samples per year from a range of
amateur and professional sports.

Our research program aims to improve analytical techniques used in our laboratory and to investigate new forms of doping which are currently undetectable. We receive funding from the WADA, the
Department of Health, International Olympic Committee and US Partnership for Clean Competition.​

Project Description

​Traditionally anabolic androgenic steroids have been analysed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS). In order to conduct the analysis by GCMS glucuronide and sulfate groups must first be enzymatically converted back to their original steroid forms (eg testosterone glucuronide back to testosterone). Steroid hormone metabolism includes phase one (addition of hydroxyl groups) and phase two (addition of conjugates such as methyl group, sulfate or glucuronide).

Recent research has demonstrated the improved effectiveness of testing for exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids by the direct detection of the sulfates or glucuronides through liquid
chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry by electrospray ionisation (LCMS).

The project will involve the development of LCMS methodologies include high resolution mass spectrometry to identify steroid conjugates in either in vitro experiments or from excretion studies. The identified metabolites would be added into routine methods to provide a best practice anti-doping testing program to the Australian community.

Examples of Relevant Sudent Courses

Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Measurement Uncertainty, Quality Management, Statistics

Student Level

Honours, Masters, PhD


1-3 years


North Ryde (NSW)


Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory


Catrin Goebel

Email Contact

Interested in this project?

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