Laura Cole

Dr Laura Cole BSc, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science


I was appointed to a lecturing post at Sheffield Hallam University having completed a BSc Biomedical Science and a PhD in cancer research at the University. I am Course Leader of the BSc Biomedical Science Course and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My research interests include Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Imaging to investigate tumour progression and treatment resistance mechanisms.


I teach a range of subjects in the Department of Biosciences and Chemistry including Bioanalytical Science, Biomedical Investigative Techniques and Professional and Scientific Practice.


My research has focused on the study of sinusoidal and leaky tumour vasculature, its relationship with an active tumour milieu, stress response mechanisms, vascular endothelial isoforms and the molecular switch back to viable tissue. More specifically, observing protein and lipid induction as a result of anticancer treatments, and studying the multicellular, stem cell like populations within the tumour microenvironment, possibly responsible for drug treatment resistance. I have been able to map specific changes in the molecular pathology of tumour tissue showing inverse correlations between heat shock proteins and structural proteins and those species implicated in tumour progression and metastasis.

These research directions have enabled me to be involved in the validation of anti-cancer drug Fosbretabulin (phase II/III clinical trials) and study the proteomics and lipidomics of a range of diseased clinical tissue. As a member of the Centre for Mass Spectrometry Imaging at Sheffield Hallam University, I have disseminated my research at conferences throughout Europe, America and Canada.

My research-informed teaching encompasses multidisciplinary techniques along with a bioanalytical theme.


Journal articles

Guarnerio, S., Tempest, R., Maani, R., Hunt, S., Cole, L.M., Le Maitre, C.L., ... Peake, N. (2023). Cellular Responses to Extracellular Vesicles as Potential Markers of Colorectal Cancer Progression. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24 (23).

Millar, J., Campbell, S., Duckett, C., Doyle, S., & Cole, L. (2023). MALDI and Trace Metal Analysis in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2688 (2688), 1-13.

Millar, J., Campbell, S., Duckett, C., Doyle, S., & Cole, L. (2023). MALDI and Trace Metal Analysis in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2688 (2688), 1-13.

Millar, J., Gibbons, L., Costa, C., Schneider, E., von Gerichten, J., Bailey, M.J., ... Cole, L. (2023). Multimodal imaging of metals in a retinal degeneration model to inform on ocular disease. Analytica, 4 (3), 264-279.

Russo, C., Wyld, L., Da Costa Aubreu, M., Bury, C.S., Heaton, C., Cole, L.M., & Francese, S. (2023). Non-invasive screening of breast cancer from fingertip smears—a proof of concept study. Scientific Reports, 13 (1).

Clench, M.R., & Cole, L.M. (2023). Perspective: Mass Spectrometry Imaging - The Next 5 Years. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2688, 203-210.

Cole, L.M. (2023). Preface. Methods in Molecular Biology, 2688, v.

Millar, J., Ozaki, E., Campbell, S., Duckett, C., Doyle, S., & Cole, L. (2022). Multiomic Mass Spectrometry Imaging to Advance Future Pathological Understanding of Ocular Disease. Metabolites, 12 (12).

Kennedy, K., Gannicliffe, C., Cole, L., Sealey, M., & Francese, S. (2022). In depth investigation of the capabilities and limitations of combined proteomic-MALDI MS based approach for the forensic detection of blood. Science & Justice, 62 (5), 602-609.

Kennedy, K., Cole, L., Witt, M., Sealey, M., & Francese, S. (2022). Forensic discrimination of differentially sourced animal blood using a bottom-Up proteomics based MALDI MS approach. Molecules, 27 (7).

Bury, C.S., Heaton, C., Cole, L., McColm, R., & Francese, S. (2022). Exploring the problem of determining human age from fingermarks using MALDI MS-machine learning combined approaches. Analytical Methods.

Voloaca, O.M., Clench, M., Koellensperger, G., Cole, L., Haywood-Small, S., & Theiner, S. (2022). Elemental Mapping of Human Malignant Mesothelioma Tissue Samples Using High-Speed LA-ICP-TOFMS Imaging. Analytical Chemistry, 94, 2597-2606.

Cole, L.M., Handley, J., Claude, E., Duckett, C.J., Mudhar, H.S., Sisley, K., & Clench, M.R. (2021). Multi-Modal Mass Spectrometric Imaging of Uveal Melanoma. Metabolites, 11 (8).

Flint, L.E., Hamm, G., Ready, J.D., Ling, S., Duckett, C.J., Cross, N.A., ... Clench, M.R. (2021). Comparison of Osteosarcoma Aggregated Tumour Models with Human Tissue by Multimodal Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Metabolites, 11 (8).

Heaton, C., Witt, M., Cole, L., Eyre, J., Tazzyman, S., McColm, R., & Francese, S. (2021). Detection and mapping of haemoglobin variants in blood fingermarks by MALDI MS for suspect "profiling". Analyst.

Kennedy, K., Benjat, R., Heaton, C., Herman, Y., Oz, C., Elad, M.L., ... Francese, S. (2021). "MALDI-CSI": A proposed method for the tandem detection of human blood and DNA typing from enhanced fingermarks. Forensic Science International.

Spencer, C.E., Flint, L.E., Duckett, C., Cole, L., Cross, N., Smith, D., & Clench, M. (2021). Role of MALDI-MSI in combination with 3D tissue models for early stage efficacy and safety testing of drugs and toxicants. Expert Review of Proteomics, 17 (11-12), 827-841.

Russo, C., Heaton, C., Flint, L., Voloaca, O., Haywood-Small, S., Clench, M., ... Cole, L. (2020). Emerging applications in mass spectrometry imaging; enablers and roadblocks. Journal of Spectral Imaging, 9, 1-21.

Kennedy, K., Heaton, C., Langenburg, G., Cole, L., Clark, T., Clench, M.R., ... Francese, S. (2020). Pre-validation of a MALDI MS proteomics-based method for the reliable detection of blood and blood provenance. Scientific Reports, 10 (1), 17087.

Little, L.D., Carolan, V.A., Allen, K.E., Cole, L.M., & Haywood-Small, S.L. (2020). Headspace analysis of mesothelioma cell lines differentiates biphasic and epithelioid sub-types. Journal of Breath Research, 14 (4), 046011.

Pousinis, P., Ramos, I.R., Woodroofe, M.N., & Cole, L.M. (2020). Lipidomic UPLC-MS/MS Profiles of Normal-Appearing White Matter Differentiate Primary and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Metabolites, 10 (9), e366.

Heaton, C., Bury, C., Patel, E., Bradshaw, R., Wulfert, F., Heeren, R., ... Francese, S. (2020). Investigating sex determination through MALDI MS analysis of peptides and proteins in natural fingermarks through comprehensive statistical modelling. Forensic Chemistry, 20 (100271), 1-12.

Voloaca, O.M., Greenhalgh, C.J., Cole, L., Clench, M.R., Managh, A.J., & Haywood-Small, S. (2020). Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry as a novel clinical imaging tool to detect asbestos fibres in malignant mesothelioma. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 34 (21), e8906.

Flint, L.E., Hamm, G., Ready, J.D., Ling, S., Duckett, C.J., Cross, N.A., ... Clench, M.R. (2020). Characterization of an Aggregated Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Model by Multimodal Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Analytical Chemistry.

Greenhalgh, C.J., Voloaca, O.M., Shaw, P., Donard, A., Cole, L.M., Clench, M.R., ... Haywood-Small, S.L. (2020). Needles in haystacks: using fast-response LA chambers and ICP-TOF-MS to identify asbestos fibres in malignant mesothelioma models. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

Palubeckaitė, I., Crooks, L., Smith, D., Cole, L., Bram, H., Le Maitre, C., ... Cross, N.A. (2019). Mass spectrometry imaging of endogenous metabolites in response to doxorubicin in a novel 3D osteosarcoma cell culture model. Journal of Mass Spectrometry.

Cole, L., Clench, M., & Francese, S. (2019). Sample treatment for tissue proteomics in cancer, toxicology, and forensics. Adv Exp Med Biol, 1073 (1073), 77-123.

Wojakowska, A., Cole, L., Chekan, M., Bednarczyk, K., Maksymiak, M., Oczko-Wojciechowska, M., ... Widlak, P. (2018). Discrimination of papillary thyroid cancer from non-cancerous thyroid tissue based on lipid profiling by mass spectrometry imaging. Endokrynologia Polska, 69 (1), 2-8.

Selvan, A., Cole, L., Spackman, L., & Wright, C. (2017). Hierarchical Cluster Analysis to Aid Diagnostic Image DataVisualization of MS and Other Medical Imaging Modalities. .

Selvan, A., Cole, L., Spackman, L., & Wright, C. (2017). Hierarchical Cluster Analysis to Aid Diagnostic Image DataVisualization of MS and Other Medical Imaging Modalities. .

Harvey, A., Day, R., Cole, L.M., Bartlett, M., Warwick, J., Bojar, R., ... Clench, M.R. (2016). MALDI-MSI for the analysis of a 3D tissue-engineered psoriatic skin model. Proteomics, 16 (11-12), 1718-1725.

Patel, E., Cole, L.M., Bradshaw, R., Batubara, A., Mitchell, C.A., Francese, S., & Clench, M. (2015). MALDI-MS imaging for the study of tissue pharmacodynamics and toxicodynamics. Bioanalysis, 7 (1), 91-101.

Cole, L.M., Selvan, A.N., Partridge, R., Reed, H., Wright, C., & Clench, M.R. (2015). Communication of medical images to diverse audiences using multimodal imaging. Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging, 1 (1).

Cole, L., & Clench, M. (2015). Mass spectrometry imaging for the proteomic study of clinical tissue. PROTEOMICS - Clinical Applications, 9 (3-4), 335-341.

Cole, L.M., & Clench, M.R. (2015). Mass spectrometry imaging tools in oncology. Biomarkers in medicine, 9 (9), 863-868.

Cole, L., Bluff, J.E., Carolan, V., Paley, M.N., Tozer, G.M., & Clench, M. (2014). MALDI-MSI and label-free LC-ESI-MS/MS shotgun proteomics to investigate protein induction in a murine fibrosarcoma model following treatment with a vascular disrupting agent. Proteomics, 14 (7-8), 890-903.

Cole, L.M., Mahmoud, K., Haywood-Small, S., Tozer, G.M., Smith, D.P., & Clench, M.R. (2013). Recombinant "IMS TAG" proteins - A new method for validating bottom-up matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation ion mobility separation mass spectrometry imaging. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 27 (21), 2355-2362.

Mahmoud, K., Cole, L., Newton, J., Mohamed, S., Al-Enazi, M., Qirke, P., & Clench, M. (2013). Detection of the epidermal growth factor receptor, amphiregulin and epiregulin in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded human placenta tissue by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging. European Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 19 (1), 17-28.

Trim, P.J., Djidja, M.-.C., Muharib, T., Cole, L.M., Flinders, B., Carolan, V., ... Clench, M. (2012). Instrumentation and software for mass spectrometry imaging -making the most of what you've got. Journal of Proteomics, 75 (16), 4931-4940.

Cole, L., Djidja, M.-.C., Bluff, J., Claude, E., Carolan, V., Paley, M., ... Clench, M. (2011). Investigation of protein induction in tumour vascular targeted strategies by MALDI MSI. Methods, 54 (4), 442-453.

Trim, P.J., Djidja, M.C., Atkinson, S.J., Oakes, K., Cole, L.M., Anderson, D.M.G., ... Clench, M.R. (2010). Introduction of a 20 kHz Nd:YVO4 laser into a hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer for MALDI-MS imaging. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 397 (8), 3409-3419.

Conference papers

Millar, J., Campbell, S., Duckett, C., Doyle, S.L., & Cole, L. (2022). Multimodal mass spectrometry imaging of key biomarkers to study age-related macular degeneration [Abstract only]. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 63 (7), 471.

Cole, L., Selvan, A., Wright, C., Reed, H., & Clench, M. (2014). Communication of medical images to diverse audiences using multiple imaging modalities'. In BMSS Annual Meeting 2014, Alderley Park Conference Centre, Macclesfield, Cheshire, 1 April 2014 - 2 April 2014.


Thickett-Cole, L., & Clench, M. (Eds.). (2023). Imaging Mass Spectrometry. Methods and Protocol. 2nd edition. New York: Humana Press.

Thickett-Cole, L. (Ed.). (2017). 978-1-4939-7051-3 Published: 18 May 2017(first). Springer.

Theses / Dissertations

Guarnerio, S. (2023). A multi-model study of extracellular vesicles in bowel cancer invasion and metastasis. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Peake, N., Le Maitre, C., & Cole, L.

Little, L.D. (2022). Volatile organic compounds as breathomicviomarkers of malignant mesothelioma. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Haywood-Small, S., Carolan, V., Allen, L., & Cole, L.

Heaton, C.E.G. (2022). Human identification through advanced forensic mass spectrometry of blood and fingermarks. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Francese, S., Cole, L., & McColm, R.

Flint, L.E. (2021). Imaging Three-Dimensional Cell-Culture Models for Pre-Clinical Biopharmaceutical Testing. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Clench, M., Cross, N., Cole, L., & Smith, D.


Wright, C., Reed, H., Partridge, R., Cole, L., Selvan, A., & Clench, M. (2014). Communication of multi-modal imaging:MRI, MSI, and histology. Presented at: BCISMRM, Edinburgh, 2014

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