UCSF Clinical Toxicology and Environmental Biomonitoring Lab

Established in 2012, the Gerona Lab is primarily focused on new psychoactive substances (NPS) analysis and surveillance, and environmental chemical biomonitoring. The laboratory pioneered the use of high-resolution mass spectrometry in suspect screening and non-targeted analysis applications to NPS analysis and endocrine disrupting chemicals biomonitoring. In 2015, the laboratory started developing methods for the analysis and monitoring of anti-tuberculosis drugs using hair samples as additional research focus.
Optimizing COVID-19 therapies
We recently developed a quantitative method to analyze remdesivir, its primary metabolite GS-441524, and dexamethasone. We are collaborating with clinicians to follow the pharmacokinetics and possible pharmacogenomics of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients to further improve its dosing regimen and optimize treatment outcome.
Tracking the Molecular Evolution of Synthetic Cannabinoids
Synthetic cannabinoids are a diverse class of new psychoactive substances (NPS) that functionally mimic the active ingredient of cannabis. Our surveillance work with the DEA and the CDC between 2012-2017 allowed us to track the changes in synthetic cannabinoids as clandestine laboratories tweak their molecular structure to evade regulation. Our work helped in the scheduling of several toxic synthetic cannabinoids. We have expanded our surveillance work to all types of NPS through the DEA TOX program.
Using Hair to Monitor MDR-TB Drug Adherence
Our laboratory has pioneered the use of hair in monitoring drug adherence among MDR-TB patients. Unlike blood and urine, hair provides an average measure of drug intake over time making it an ideal matrix to monitor drug regimen adherence.
Monitoring New Generation Anti-TB Drug Delamanid
Our latest publication on MDR-TB details our method in quantifying the new drug delamanid and its metabolite DM-6705 in small hair samples. The method allows us to track drug adherence among MDR-TB patients across the world in an effort to rapidly predict treatment outcome.
Improving Biomonitoring Methods
Our laboratory is one of the first to develop a direct method to measure BPA and its metabolites in serum and urine. In an article we published at The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology we present findings on the underestimation of BPA measurements using the indirect method that is more popularly used by most laboratories including the CDC.

Laboratory News

DEA TOX, our collaborative NPS surveillance with the DEA, announces a new synthetic cannabinoid discovered through our laboratory's analysis. See the announcement at DEA TOX, and read our 2020 Q4 Report
Gerona Lab in a Netflix series about synthetic drugs: Check out episode 2 of “The Business of Drugs” in Netflix. Watch the Series Trailer
Our response to COVID-19: Research Associate Andrew Reckers developed and validated a quantitative method to analyze remdesivir, its primary metabolite GS-441524, and dexamethasone. Learn more from our method


Million Marker, the laboratory’s start-up collaborator, launches new testing kits to measure environmental chemicals in our body. Check out new Million Marker offerings
Notable publication: The laboratory’s direct BPA method published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. See our Publications in 2021
Interns to Research Associates- the team welcomes Ross Ellison and James Hurst-Hopf
Research Associate to Graduate Student- the team wishes Jonathan Melamed the best in his new adventures at Scripps
Learn more about the lab on our People page