Experience and Expertise

ASI’s team has acquired significant experience in bioanalytics and toxicology, based on the research initiatives of our founding Professors since the early 1970s (see Publications). Today we cover a wide range of topics, supported by our Study Directors and senior researchers on staff.
We leverage our research work and links to expand our service offering and to benefit our clients with the very latest analytical techniques for detecting the ever increasing number of new drugs and molecules being developed for legitimate and illegal use.

Summary CVs for key members of our scientific team are available as pdf copies upon request.


Professor Atholl Johnston

Professor Atholl Johnston BSc, BA, MSc, PhD, CSci, ERT, FFPM, FBPharmacolS, FRCPath

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London: visiting Professor of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology at St George’s, University of London and Scientific Director for ASI, Atholl is well known for providing scientific leadership and expert insight into drug discovery, designing and analysing drug efficacy studies and trials, advising on drug manufacturing quality and providing Expert contribution into development of legislation for drug use and to police abuse.

Following a first degree in Biochemistry and Toxicology from The University of Surrey and one year’s research in Switzerland with Sandoz AG, Atholl joined Professor David Bowen at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology for two years. Atholl then began research training in clinical pharmacology at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and completed a PHD in pharmacology from the University of London. Atholl holds a degree in Mathematics and Statistics, a Masters degree in Applied Statistics, is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and is currently sitting President for The Clinical Contract Research Association.

Atholl has more than 35 years’ experience in the measurement of drugs as a guide to therapy and has co-organised international laboratory proficiency testing schemes for the measurement of immunosuppressive drugs. Professor Johnston is author of over 250 articles in peer reviewed journals and of many invited contributions and book chapters. With this wealth of experience, Atholl is frequently asked to speak on a variety of issues relating to pharmacokinetics and dynamics, drug quality and patient outcomes. His research focus is in drug use and abuse; drug quality; clinical trial design with statistical data analysis; modelling pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and optimizing the use and benefits of drugs.

Professor Johnston has written Expert Reports on drug use and abuse for submission to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), several national drug regulatory agencies including the MHRA (UK), EMA (EU), FDA (USA), TGA (Aus) and Health Canada. Atholl is requested regularly to present Expert Testimony in Court on the influence of drugs in crime, drugs and alcohol on driving impairment and cause of death for HM Coroners at Inquest hearings.

Professor David W Holt

Professor David W Holt BSc, PhD, DSc (Med), CSci, EurClin Chem, FESC, FBPharmacolS, FRCPath

Emeritus Professor of Bioanalytics at St George’s, University of London, David is a Clinical Biochemist with over 40 years’ experience in bioanalysis of drugs as a guide to therapy. Following original research into the clinical pharmacokinetics of antiarrhythmic agents, David became involved in clinical studies on the immunosuppressant Ciclosporin, which led to a number of clinical and pre-clinical studies into immunosuppressive agents and to him co-organising several global laboratory proficiency testing schemes. David lectures internationally on all aspects of drug development, the impact of manufacturing quality on clinical outcomes and pharmaco-vigilance. He provides expert scientific contribution to ASI’s clinical surveillance and forensic work and is regularly called upon as an Expert in the interpretation of data on the use of prescription and illicit drugs.

David studied for a first degree in Biochemistry at Chelsea College, University of London and then joined The Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital to complete a PhD on the measurement of digoxin. This fostered an interest in the burgeoning field of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and led to his involvement in definitive clinical pharmacokinetic studies of antiarrhythmic and immunosuppressive drugs.

After almost 20 years at The Poisons Unit, David joined Professor Camm’s group in the Department of Cardiological Sciences at St George’s, where he became Director of the Analytical Unit laboratory. For over 20 years at St George’s, David was involved in a number of drug-related clinical studies and branched out into the bioanalytics of endogenous compounds as markers of organ damage and dysfunction, as well as into the field of pharmacogenetics. In addition he was responsible for the Forensic Toxicology Service, supporting HM Coroners, Pathologists and law enforcement agencies with the analysis of illicit and prescription drugs.

After a number of years serving on University committees and working as an examiner for the University and professional bodies, David was appointed Professor of Bioanalytics in 2004. Author of over 350 publications in peer reviewed journals and invited contributions to books, David received the Charles E Pippenger Award in 2005 for Outstanding Contributions to Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, the same year he was elected President of the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology for a two year office.

Professor Holt is a frequent speaker on a broad range of issues relating to bioanalytics and clinical toxicology, and is an active member of several national and international scientific societies involved in organ transplantation and cardiology. Currently he lectures internationally on the clinical problems related to the substandard or falsified manufacture of prescription medicines, primarily in emerging economies.

Lewis Couchman

Lewis Couchman BSc MSc MRSC

Lewis completed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry with Forensic Analysis at Loughborough University in 2005, during which time he undertook a placement year working at The Poisons Unit at Guys Hospital. He returned to work at The Unit before completing the formal clinical scientist training scheme in Analytical Toxicology in 2009, which included an MSc in Analytical Toxicology from Queen Mary University of London. Since completing the training scheme, Lewis has worked as a clinical scientist in the Departments of Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry at King's College Hospital. In 2015, Lewis was appointed as Research and Development Lead Scientist. In 2016, Lewis completed his PhD on the bioanalytical aspects of assessing vitamin D status.

Lewis has a particular interest in the development and application of novel analytical techniques, in particular those involving chromatography, mass spectrometry, and automated and high-throughput sample preparation. More recently, he has also gained experience in the analysis of peptides and proteins using mass spectrometry.

Lewis has published extensively on newly developed methods, has written a number of scientific reviews and regularly presents at national and international scientific meetings. Lewis is on the Young Scientist Committee of the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology, is a commuter member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Separation Science Group, and member of The International Association of Forensic Toxicology, The Association of Clinical Biochemistry and The London Toxicology Group.

Lewis lectures regularly for undergraduate courses at Kingston and Loughborough universities and joined ASI in 2017.

Malgorzata Puchnarewicz

Malgorzata Puchnarewicz MPharm, ERT

Originally trained as a Pharmacist, Maggie has applied her knowledge and experience of drugs to the study of forensic toxicology, having successfully completed a post-graduate course in Forensic Medical Sciences in 2004.

Maggie joined the company in 2004 as Technician and is now the head of Toxicology and is involved in developing new analytical test methods, interpreting results and reporting on toxicological investigations. Maggie is co-author of ten papers on a variety of different drugs and their illicit use, specifically several new psychoactive substances (NPS, so called ‘Legal-Highs’).

Committed to continued professional development, Maggie is an active member of TIAFT (The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists) and LTG (London Toxicology Group).

John Slaughter

John Slaughter BSc (Hons) , MCSFS

John started work at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (MPFSL) in 1974 to examine drug exhibits and road traffic alcohol samples and later joined the Drugs Section of MPFSL before transferring to their Toxicology Section where he developed as a Forensic Toxicologist over a 30 year period..

John is Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Science and UKIAFT (United Kingdom & Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists) and regularly attends The Medico-Legal Society, the Royal Society of Medicine, The British Academy of Forensic Sciences and the London Toxicology Group.

John joined ASI in 2014 as Senior Forensic Toxicologist.

Verity Bainbridge

Verity Bainbridge BA (Hons), BSc (Hons)

Verity first graduated with an honours degree in History from Queen Mary’s London in 2002 and by working for the National Offender Management Service, developed a keen interest in The Criminal Justice System and a passion for forensic science. This passion led to her achieving a first class honours degree in Forensic Science from Southbank University in 2010 which included a one year’s placement with ASI. Working for ASI since 2008, Verity is one of our experienced Scientists and the Facility Quality Co-ordinator, ensuring that our operations are in compliance with our Quality System under the direction of our Quality Manager.

Verity has co-published on several topics including cocaine trends and synergistic affects; interpretation of morphine concentrations in trauma cases and a new immunoassay technique for Tacrolimus.

Hua Xu

Hua Xu Phd

Hua graduated in Chemistry in Bejiing before completing her PhD at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

Hua worked in the pharmaceutical sector in USA for several years before moving to the UK as Analytical Chemist, firstly with the Royal Brompton Hospital and then with ASI, starting in 2012.

Hua is a mass spectrometry specialist and has co-authored four published papers primarily investigating the release of biomolecules.

Graham Shaw

Graham Shaw BSc

Graham entered the world of quality in pre-clinical research immediately after graduating in biochemistry with physiology in 1988. With 6 years experience of working in quality systems with Covance, the international Contract Research Organisation, Graham joined ASI as Quality Assurance Manager in 1995.

Graham leads our quality agenda to ensure that we are in full compliance with our regulatory accreditation and certification scheme requirements that include GLP and GCP, with ISO 17025 and ANVISA in progress.

Graham is a committed quality professional and Member of The Research Quality Association.