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Brian M. Ross

NOSM University
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay ON  P7B 5E1, Canada
Phone: 807-766-7394
Fax: 807-766-7362
Professor of Pharmacology, NOSM University
Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, Lakehead University
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, Lakehead University



MEd in Medical Education
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.


Research Director, Highland Psychiatric Research Foundation
University of the Highlands and Islands, Drumnadrochit, UK.


Managing Director, Pan Diagnostics Ltd.
Inverness, UK.


Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and the Institute of Medical Science
University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Post doctoral fellow, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry
Glasgow University, Glasgow, UK


BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry
Glasgow University, Glasgow, UK.

Research Investigations

My lab is interested in the biology of lipids, the biomediators the produce and their participation in the process of oxidative stress. I am also investigating the production of volatile lipid metabolites in disease as well as other applications involving volatile compounds. I carry out both lab-based and clinic based studies. The lab has recently acquired an analytical selected ion flow tube mass spectrometer to aid in the analysis of volatile compounds.

Diet and behaviour. Diet has been implicated as playing a role in both depression and childhood attentional deficits. My lab aims to examine how dietary supplementation can alter mood and behaviour, and why some people appear to be more prone to dietary insufficiencies than others. We are currently testing this hypothesis in children with reduced attention.

Breath analysis for medical diagnosis. The lab is developing non-invasive health screening tests using volatile compounds present in human breath. We have recently acquired an Instrument Science analytical Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometer (SIFT-MS) and a Markes Unity Automated Thermal Desorber for this purpose. Currently we have the only SIFT-MS of this type an academic setting in North America. The research work is based on my study of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation using breath markers. This technology will be used to determine whether breath analysis can be used to aid the early detection of cancers, in particular lung cancer, various other disorders, and how volatile chemical measurements can assist with reducing environmental pollution and work place health and safety.

Applications of volatile chemical analysis in microbiology. SIFT-MS can determine volatile compound levels down to single digit PPB in real time. Various organisms and chemical compounds produce unique mass spectrum ‘signatures’. Using the technique we can determine bacterial growth via ‘head space’ analysis. The project will determine whether pathogenic organisms produce signatures which can aid in their detection.

In addition to my lab-based research, I am also an active researcher in the field of place-based and medical education. I am interested in finding out how place and professional training interacts and how to use that information to design better and more effective educational programs.

Selected Publications

Ross, B.M., Browning, S.L., McKee, A. (2016) Polymerisation and oxidation of docosahexaenoic acid.  American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology12, 20-25.

Malik, I., Babay, S., Ross, B.M. (2015) Brain and liver headspace aldehyde concentration following dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Lipids11, 1123-1131.

Zou, L., Ross, B.M., Hutchison, L.J., Lew, C., Decker, R.H., & Malek, L.  (2015) Fungal demethylation of craft lignin.  Enzyme and Microbial Technology73-74, 44-50.

Ross, B.M.  (2015) Critical pedagogy as a means to achieving social accountability in medical education.  International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 6, 169-186.

Gibson, A., Malek, L., Decker, R.F., & Ross, B.M. (2015) Detecting volatile compounds from Kraft lignin degradation in the headspace of microbial cultures by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS).  Journal of Microbiological Methods112, 40-45.

Ross, B.M. (2014) Sustainability and social accountability. Sustainability across the curriculum, Thunder Bay   

Ross, B. M.  (2014) Use of community-engaged and place-contextualised medical education to build resilient healthcare systems.  Proceedings of Prince Mahadol Award Conference, Bankok, Thailand

Ross, B.M., Daynard, K., Greenwood, D.  (2014) Medicine for somewhere: the emergence of place in medical education.  Educational Research and Reviews9, 1250 – 1265.73.

Wondimu T., Wang, R, Ross, B.M.  (2014) Hydrogen sulphide in human nasal air quantified using thermal desorption and selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry.  Journal of Breath Research, 8 03600271.

Ross, B.M., Glen, I. (2014) Breath ethane concentrations in healthy volunteers correlate with a systemic marker of lipid peroxidation but not with omega-3 fatty acid availability.  Metabolites4, 572-579.  (invited contribution to special issue regarding breath analysis)

Malek, L., Gibson, A., Dekker, R., Ross, B.M.  (2014) SIFT-MS analysis of methanol chemically and biologically generated methanol.  Journal of Science & Technology for Forest Products and Processes,  4:6 – 10.

Ross, B. M., Puukila, S., Lecours, M., Agostino, A., Khaper, N.  (2013) The use of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry to investigate headspace aldehydes as markers of lipid peroxidation.  Current Analytical Chemistry9: 600 – 613  (invited contribution to special issue regarding SIFT-MS)

Wondimu, T., Wang, R., Ross, B. M. (2013) A comparison of moisture removing strategies for breath samples spiked with trace concentrations of hydrogen sulphide, Current Analytical Chemistry9: 312 – 318.

Amadei, G., Ross, B.M.  (2012).  Quantification of character-impacting compounds in Ocimum basilicum and ‘Pesto alla Genovese’ with selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry.  Rapid Communication in Mass Spectrometry, 26: 219-255.

Ross, B.M. (2011) Changes in oral air volatile compounds following orthognathic surgery and intermaxillary fixation: a selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry study.  International Journal of Oral Science., 3: 160-164.

Wang, P., Zhang, G., Wondimu, T., Ross, B.M, Wang, R.  (2011).  Hydrogen sulphide and asthma.  Experimental Physiology96: 847-852

Amadei, G., Ross, B.M.  (2011) The reaction of a series of terpenoids with H3O+, NO+ and O2+ studied using Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry.  Rapid communications in mass spectrometry25:162-168.

Ross, B.M., Glen, I.  (2011) Increased levels of breath ethane and butane in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are unrelated to erythrocyte omega-3 fatty acid abundance.  Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry35:446-453.

Hrynuik, A., Ross, B.M.  (2010).  A preliminary investigation of exhaled breath from patients with celiac disease using Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectroscopy.  Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, 19: 15-20.

Iachetta, L., Malek L., Ross, B.M.  (2010)  The reactions of H3O+, NO+ and O2+ with several flavourant esters studied using Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry.  Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry24:815-822.

Ross, B.M., Babay, S., Ladouceur, C (2009) The use of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry to detect and quantify polyamines in headspace gas and oral air.  Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry23:3973-82.

Ross B.M.  (2009) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and anxiety disorders.  Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 81:309-12.

Hrynuik, A., Ross, B.M.  (2009) Detection of acetone and isoprene in human breath using a combination of thermal desorption and selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry.  International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 283: 78-83.

Ross, B.M., Dadgostar N., Bloom M., McKeown L.  (2009) The analysis of oral air using selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry in persons with and without a history of oral malodour.  International Journal of Dental Hygiene7: 136-143.

Ross, B.M. (2008) Sub-parts per billion detection of trace volatile chemicals in human breath using Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry. BMC Research Notes, 1:41.

Puri, B.K., Treasden I.H., Cocchi M., Tsaluchida S., Tonello L., Ross B.M.  (2008) A comparison of oxidative stress in smokers and non-smokers: an in vivo human quantitative study of n-3 lipid peroxidation.  BMC Psychiatry, 8:S4 (

Ross, B.M.  (2008)  The emerging role of eicosapentaenoic acid as an important psychoactive natural product: some answers but a lot more questions.  Lipid Insights, 2: 89-97.

Ross B.M. and Vermeulen, N.  (2007) The use of Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry in combination with Thermal Desorption for the analysis of xylene and toluene in air.  Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry21: 3608-12.

Young, J., McKinney, S.B., Ross, B.M., Wahle, K.W.J., and Boyle, S.P.  (2007) Investigation of DNA damage in lymphocytes derived from male and female schizophrenic subjects using the Comet assay.  Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 76:73-85.

Ross, B.M., Seguin, J., and Sieswerda, L.  (2007) Omega-3 fatty acids in mental illness – a review of the clinical trial literature.  Lipids in Health and Disease, 6: 21. 

Ross, B.M.  (2007) Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency in major depressive disorder is caused by the interaction between diet and a genetically determined abnormality in phospholipid metabolism.  Medical Hypothesis68:515-524.

Obajimi, O., Black K., Glen, I., and Ross B.M..  (2005) Differential effects of the n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid upon arachidonic uptake and release in U937 cells, Pharmacology Research.  52:183-191.