Meet the Team


SMAC is led by Dr Angela Taylor and supported by two specialist mass spectrometry technicians, Dr Lorna Gilligan, and Dr Fozia Shaheen. Professor Cedric Shackleton acts as a scientific advisor for SMAC. SMAC is supported by a team of expert clinical endocrinologists: Dr Alessandro Prete, Dr Cristina Ronchi and Dr Jan Idkowiak.

Dr Angela E Taylor

Angela has an analytical chemistry masters degree from Swansea University (2005). In 2009 she received her Ph.D. from Swansea University investigating steroid metabolism in the human endometrium using mass spectrometry. This was followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Birmingham, which cumulated in setting up the SMAC facility in 2016. Angela is interested in the application of well validated analytical mass spectrometry methods to clinical, translational endocrine research.

Dr Angela Taylor

Dr Lorna C Gilligan

Lorna obtained a BMedSci in Physiology (2007) followed by an MBChB (2009) in Glasgow, where she stayed to complete her medical foundation training. Wanting to pursue a research career, she moved to Birmingham, achieving an MRes (2012) and graduating with a Ph.D. in oestrogen metabolism and colorectal cancer in 2017. Lorna joined the SMAC team in 2016 originally running the GC-MS facility and developing novel, high-throughput LC-MS/MS assays.

Lorna Gilligan

Dr Fozia Shaheen

Fozia obtained a BSc in Medical Genetics at the University of Leicester in 2006. She then moved to the University of Warwick where she completed her PhD investigating the interactions between Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) and insulin signalling in muscle in 2010. Fozia is interested in research into ageing, insulin signalling and the metabolic syndrome. Her previous research as a post-doctoral researcher involved the development of high-throughput and sensitive methods for the analysis of disease biomarkers using LC-MS/MS and fluorescence-based assays. She joined the SMAC team in 2017 with the aim to further develop and work on new LC-MS/MS and GC-MS methods for steroid analysis. 

Fozia Shaheen

Dr Joshua T Bain

Joshua obtained a MChem in chemistry from Loughborough university (2019). During this time he developed a passion for analytical chemistry techniques and remained at Loughborough completing a Ph.D where he developed a GC-MS assay for the quantification of prognostic biomarkers in chronic kidney disease (2023). Joshua joined the SMAC team in 2022 and is now a postdoctoral research fellow working on a European funded project looking at steroid panels as part of a multi-omics profile in hypertension patients.

Joshua Bain

Professor Cedric Shackleton

Cedric Shackleton got his PhD in 1968 from the University of Edinburgh with a thesis on Fetal and neo-natal steroid metabolism, an interest which continues to today. In 1968 he was trained in mass spectrometry at the Karoliniska institute in Stockholm. After 10 years at the MRC (Clinical Research Centre, Harrow) he moved to the University of California, Berkeley followed by Children’s hospital, Oakland. He received a DSc from St Andrews in 1988 for his work on mass spectrometry in endocrinology.  In the 90s he ran a resource for the mass spectrometric characterization of variant haemoglobins as well as continuing work on disorders of steroid synthesis and metabolism. In recent  years his focus has been on 7-dehydrocholesterol deficiency (Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) and P450 Oxidoreductase deficiency. Recent studies were on the possibility of gene-transfer for the treatment of SLOS-affected mice. He is currently Emeritus senior scientist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, California as well as Visiting Professor at IMSR, Birmingham. In 2016 the University of Birmingham awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Cedric in recognition of all the excellent work he has completed.

Cedric Shackleton

Steroid Metabolome Anaylsis Core (SMAC) Clinical Team


Dr Cristina Ronchi

Cristina is a clinical scientist with long-standing expertise in adrenal tumours. She completed her medical studies and her specialist training in Endocrinology at the University of Milan (Italy, 2000 and 2005). In 2008 she received her Ph.D. in Endocrinological Sciences at the University of Milan, followed by post-doctoral work at the University Hospital of Wuerzburg (Germany). Since 2018, she is Associate Professor of Endocrine Oncology at IMSR (University of Birmingham) and Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust

Cristina Ronchi

Dr Alessandro Prete

Alessandro Prete is a Clinical Associate Professor of Endocrinology at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, UK. He obtained his PhD from the same University in 2022 and is also a Consultant Endocrinologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, UK. Alessandro's area of research focuses on functioning adrenal tumours, endocrine hypertension, and adrenal insufficiency, combining clinical trials and experimental medicine studies.

Alessandro Prete