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Marco Cirrincione

PhD Student

Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology

Teaching tutor

Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology


Keywords: microsampling miniaturised pretreatment liquid chromatography mass spectrometry drugs of abuse

The main research topics concern the development and validation of original instrumental analytical methods based on liquid chromatography techniques coupled with different types of detection (UV spectrometry, electrochemical detectors, etc.) and / or low- and high-resolution mass spectrometry, for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of classic and new substances of abuse.

In the various methods developed, great attention is paid to the development, optimization and application of innovative micro-sampling strategies, especially with dried micro-samples. These recent technologies allow easy, fast and non-invasive sampling that lead to the formation of small samples for which, through their drying, easy storage and transport conditions are guaranteed. Subsequently, miniaturized sample pretreatment procedures are developed, such as to reduce analysis times, simplify operating procedures, minimize solvent volumes allowing on the one hand to maintain high levels of sample purification and analyte recovery and from the other to obtain fast and environmentally friendly analysis systems.

These methods are developed both for the analysis in samples of biological origin, such as for the analysis of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in hair, saliva or blood micro-samples; and for the detection of illicit substances in non-biological samples, for example in Cannabis-based products seized by the competent authorities.

At the same time, analytical strategies are being developed for the simultaneous monitoring in biological samples of narcotic drugs and drugs active on the CNS, often taken by the patient in combination and used in different therapies, such as methadone used in the treatment of heroin addiction.

Other methods used concern the development, validation and application of strategies that make use of innovative techniques and technologies such as ATR-FTIR. Such methods find space for a wide variety of analytes and samples, bringing numerous advantages, including the high speed of analysis and the lack of need for sample pretreatment steps. This strategy is used for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the cannabinoid content within various Cannabis-based products.

The methodologies developed therefore find application in different fields including forensic and toxicological analyses for the control and monitoring of the use and abuse of illicit substances, both classic and new psychoactive substances; but also, for the monitoring of substances of abuse used as drugs for the treatment of specific and therapies.

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