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The University of Southampton

Dr Spiros D Garbis BSc, PhD

Associate Professor , Head of Proteomics Unit for Cancer Sciences, Centre for Proteomics Research, Institute for Life Sciences, UK

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Dr. Spiros D. Garbis is an Associate Professor for the Faculty of Medicine and Head of Clinical Mass Spectrometry group for the Cancer Sciences Academic Unit. Dr. Garbis has USA industrial and forensic analytical toxicology experience and since his fulltime return to academia in 2004, he has been pivotal to the development and application of mass spectrometry proteomics and metabolomics methods in the discovery and validation of candidate biomarkers with potential clinical utility for the early diagnosis of cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease linked to metabolic syndrome. A key theme of his research is to understand gene-nutrient interactions at the endophenotypic protein and metabolite level with the use of stable isotope tracer approaches in cell culture, animal models, and humans. Therefore, the inquiry on the functional interplay between spontaneous mutations of nutrient or pharmacologic receptors and their enzyme substrates may contribute to metabolic syndrome and derivative communicative (HIV and Tuberculosis) and non-communicative (cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and cancer) disease states.

Human physiology is remarkably pleiotropic in its nature, that is synergistically influenced by genetic, epigenetic, environmental and socioeconomic factors. Integrated ‘-Omic’ technologies can elucidate this physiologic complexity with increasing precision. Translating these technologies into clinical practice in the form of a blood test will help realize the personalization of medicine.


A key research objective of Dr. Garbis is the development of a non-invasive blood test that can assist clinical decision making. Such a blood test will not only influence the choice of drugs needed for personalized therapy, but will also assist the prevention of disease. In this capacity, this early and non-invasive clinical assessment will enable a less reactive medicinal interventyion, focused on health maintenance and disease prevention rather than disease therapy. Dr. Garbis research efforts over the past decade have contributed in the ability to measure molecular perturbations from the local tissue level up to the systemic circulation level.

Dr. Garbis is highly active in research, generating >£1M in research/enterprise income, is a holder of a UK patent on prostate cancer with a productive publication track record. Dr. Garbis presents his research at invited talks in the UK, international conferences and workshops. His academic group consists of 5 shared PhD students, 2 shared post docs, and 1 shared research associate.

He regularly lectures to undergraduate and postgraduate science and medical students on Pharmacology. Dr. Garbis is funded by the Cancer Research UK, European Union, EPSRC, BBSRC, the Wessex Cancer Trust and the Wessex Medical Research. Dr. Garbis is an ad hoc reviewer for many grant awarding bodies including the BBSRC and is a member of the editorial board for the journal Integrated–Omics, and Journal of Proteomics and Bioinformatics. Dr. Garbis is a visiting Professor of King Saud University and St. Georges University of London and was instrumental in the establishment of a biomarker validation consortium with Prof. Eleftherios P. Diamandis at the University of Toronto, Prof. Kyriacos Kyriacou of the Cyprus Institute of Neurobiology and Genetics, Dr. Chris Sutton of the University of Bradford. He is also a full member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the American Society for Nutrition.



Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois (2003)

B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Illinois (1989)

Appointments held

11/2011 – 02/2013 Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, Cancer Sciences and Clinical and       Experimental Medicine Divisions, University of Southampton

02/2004 – 10/2011 Level-4 Lecturer, Centre for Basic Science, Division of Biotechnology, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens

02/2004 – 10/2011 Head of Proteomics Laboratory, Centre for Basic Science, Division of Biotechnology, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens

08/2003 – 01/2004 Compulsory military duty: Radiologist/Biochemist, Medical Core, Hellenic Army, Hellenic Republic

01/1998 – 07/2003 Research Assistant, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, USA

05/1996 – 11/2001 Analytical Chemist, Department of Quality Control, Now Foods, Bloomingdale, IL, USA

06/1994 – 01/1998 Forensic Scientist, Illinois Racing Board Laboratory, State of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA

05/1990 – 05/1994 Research and Development Chemist, Zellweger Analytics-MDA Scientific (Currently Honeywell Analytics), Lincolnshire, IL, USA.



Research interests

The principle goal of the Dr. S.D.Garbis team is to develop a cost-effective blood based surveillance, screening and detection strategy to identify and monitor high-risk cancer populations at an early, asymptomatic stage. This effort entails the development of protein-level evidence risk prediction models based on cancer control studies, epidemiological data and validated biomarkers that can be used routinely in a clinical laboratory setting.

Types of cancer biomarkers currently under development by Dr. Garbis include disease progression from the benign to the aggressive / metastatic stage, response to pharmacologic treatment response (therapeutic or chemopreventive), and nutritional intervention (i.e., omega-3 fatty acid and Vitamin D status correction/optimization). A key research theme of Dr. Garbis is the better understanding on how the metabolic syndrome (Obesity, type-2 Diabetes, Non-alcoholic liver disease, elevated serum triglyceride levels, etc.) is causally implicated in certain forms of cancer (breast, colon, pancreatic, and prostate). The principle research aims of Dr. S. D. Garbis include:

  • The discovery and validation of novel biomarker panels, as unique “chemical signatures” for the asymptomatic prediction, diagnosis and prognosis of solid tumor cancers at the serum or plasma level (i.e. breast, prostate, ovarian and esophageal)
  • Pharmacoproteomics and Interactomics approaches in the investigation of mechanisms of drug action and biomarkers of treatment response (pharmacodynamic markers). In this capacity, the temporal and multi-focal effects of candidate drugs to whole, systems-wide proteomes are investigated. Additionally, the initiating ligand-protein interactions are interrogated with custom chemical affinity chromatographic probes. Targeted protein-protein interaction profiling is assessed with chemical cross-linkers
  • Role of nutrition in metabolic syndrome disease and its potential role to the chemoprevention of cancer. The key role of DNA damage to nutrient metabolizing enzymes and its effect to sub-clinical deficiencies of essential nutrients (i.e. Folate, Vitamin D and n-3 fatty acids). The proteomics driven targeted analysis of primary metabolites such as co-factors and amino acids is used for the functional annotation of the enzymes implicated in their biosynthesis
  • The development of lab-on-a-chip devices for advanced proteomic analysis applications, including the targeted quantitative LC-MS analysis of candidate protein biomarkers (LabChip-SRM MS-MS)


Research Projects

2014 – 2017 BBSRC - iCASE PhD Studentship with GSK (£120,000) Identification of novel biomarkers of Fc Receptor engagement in vivo. Joint lead with Prof Mark Cragg

2013 – 2016 BBSRC (£80,000) - Physiology of perivascular drainage of the brain and how it is affected by advancing age. Collaborator with Dr Roxana O. Carare

2011 – 2015 Wessex Medical Trust (£40,000) The In-depth quantitative proteomic and phosphoproteomic study of clinical sera derived from the Prospective study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) cohort. Joint applicant with Prof Paul A Townsend

2010 – 2015 Hope - Wessex Medical Research Trust/CR-UK, 13th Guernsey Fellowship grant 2010 (£155,000 + £4,500 FlyBe Award) 3D MudPit LC/MS proteomic interrogation of prostate cancer serum. Joint applicant with Prof Paul A Townsend

2013 – 2015 CRUK Southampton (£10,000) The tumour microenvironment: defining and targeting the myofibroblast phenotype. Joint applicant with Prof Gareth Thomas

2013 – 2017 King Saud University (£110,000) Deciphering The Pathophysiology Of Vitamin D Status and Metabolic Syndrome. Lead applicant.

2013 – 2015 EU Regional Development Fund – Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (£25,000) The Proteomics of Breast Cancer. Joint Lead applicant with Prof Kyriacos Kyriacou and Prof Eleftherios Diamandis

2014 – 2015 Wessex Innovation Grant. The role of the sugar metabolism to the regulation of metastatic cancer. Joint lead with Dr. Charlie Birts.

2014 – 2015 EU-ARISTEIA II (EXCELLENCE II) (£25,000) FRA-SYS: Integrated functional analysis of FRA10AC1, the chromosomal fragile site 10A causative gene, (Project Code Number: 4072). Joint lead with Prof. Nicholas K. Moschonas,



Garbis and Townsend, Expert Rev Proteomics, 2013
Fig 1


Cancer Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Postgraduate Student Supervision



Sofia Macari (with Mark Cragg)

Harvey Johnston (with Mark Cragg)

Nunzia Sposito (with Richard Oreffo)

Diana Baquero-Garay (with Paul Elkington and Christopher Woelk



National and International responsibilities


Member of Proteomics Steering committee for the Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.

Member of Bioinformatics Core steering committee, University of Southampton, UK.


Professional Memberships: The American Society for Mass Spectrometry, American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Nutrition.

Grant Reviewer for: BBSRC (UK), Australian Society for Prostate Cancer (Australia).

Journal Reviewer for: Proteomics, J Proteome Research, Gut, Analytical Chemistry, Analyst, Chemical Communications, J of Proteomics, Mass Spectrometry Reviews, Lab Chip.




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Book Chapter


    Lecturing, lab demonstrations, and tutorials for School of Medicine – Pharmacology Course, BM3, BM4, BM5.

    Lecturing for MSc Genomic Medicine, of the Wessex Genomics Medicine Education program of the University of Southampton.

    Facilitation, Foundation of Medicine module, Faculty of Medical Education, BM3, BM4, BM5. University of Southampton.


Dr Spiros D Garbis
LAB: Life Sciences Building 85, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ
OFFICE: DA009, Duthie Building, MP824, Southampton General Hospital
Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD
Tel: +44 (0) 23 81 203483 or +44 (0) 7554944362 (mobile)

Room Number: SGH/DA009/MP824

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