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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Indicative Project

Improved doping control of exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids through the analysis of low level, long term matabolites

Background Info

​The ASDTL is the only laboratory in the Oceania region accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to carry out doping control analysis in human sport and as such performs virtually all of the sports drug testing carried out in Australia and New Zealand. ASDTL complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and is accredited by NATA. Drug testing is not just carried out at major sporting events but is a year round activity with the analysis of some 8000 samples per year from a range of
amateur and professional sports.

Our research program aims to improve analytical techniques used in our laboratory and to investigate new forms of doping which are currently undetectable. We receive funding from the WADA, the
Department of Health, International Olympic Committee and US Partnership for Clean Competition.

Project Description

​Use of exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids such as methandienone, oxymetholone and fluoxymesterone is banned by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). Recent research has
demonstrated that use of such steroids can lead to the production of novel metabolites, which fortuitously, have prolonged excretion profiles allowing for greater retrospectivity in doping control.
However, as the urinary concentrations are typically very low (< 1 ng/mL), additional clean-up steps are required during sample preparation – for instance, the use of high performance liquid chromatography with automated fraction collection (HPLC-FC). Additionally, gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) is required to provide the selectivity and sensitivity necessary to detect these low level compounds. The first phase of the project will involve the development of both HPLC-FC
purification and GC-MS/MS detection methods for long term metabolites of anabolic steroids recently published in the anti-doping literature. Confirmation of the approach will be undertaken by analysis of archive administration studies held at ASDTL. The second phase of the project will be to use the analytical strategies developed (HPLC-FC with GC-MS/MS detection) and other archived urine samples to search for novel long term metabolites. The developed detection parameters will be implemented into routine methods to improve the doping control of exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids.

Examples of Relevant Sudent Courses

Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Measurement Uncertainty, Quality Management, Statistics

Student Level

Honours, Masters, PhD


1-3 years


North Ryde (NSW)


Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory


Catrin Goebel

Email Contact

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