Anna studied pharmacy at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz in Austria from 2009 – 2014. Having a keen interest in analytical chemistry and pharmacology, she completed internships at checkit! drug checking, Vienna General hospital, and in the quality control department at Kwizda in Linz during her studies. In her final term, she moved to Homburg (Saar) in Germany to study at the Department of Experimental and Clinical Toxicology, Saarland University. Here she worked under the supervision of Prof. Markus R. Meyer and Prof. Hans H. Maurer. The research project investigated the metabolism of the novel psychoactive substance methoxypiperamide. Work on the project included identification of phase I and II metabolites of methoxypiperamide in rat urine using GC-MS and/or LC-HR-MS/MS, identification of CYP isoenzymes responsible for the main metabolic steps, and evaluation of toxicological detectability in GC-MS and LC-MSnstandard urine screening approaches. (Meyer, M.R., Holderbaum, A., Kavanagh, P., Maurer, H.H. (2015). Low-resolution and high-resolution MS for studies on the metabolism and toxicological detection of the new psychoactive substance methoxypiperamide (MeOP). Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 50, 1163–1174)
To further gain experience abroad and improve her research skills, Anna enrolled in a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher fellowship. In May 2015, she began her industrial PhD at Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with the Irish Diagnostic Laboratory Services. Her PhD project focuses on the utilisation of in vitro strategies to rapidly predict metabolism and elimination kinetics of emerging anabolic drugs in sports and food producing animals. One class of emerging anabolic compounds are selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). Due to their anabolic effects, these drugs might be illegally administered to sports animals such as horses and livestock. In this project, tissue fractions are incubated with different SARMs followed by sample preparation and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to elucidate the in vitrometabolism of the drugs in various species. In vitro approaches represent a rapid and cost-effective method to draw initial conclusions about the metabolic fate of a drug and potential target analytes, which helps to strengthen and improve existing control methods.