Mac Gilliland

Mac Gilliland

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

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Mac Gilliland grew up in Greenwood, South Carolina, and received his B.S. in Chemistry from Davidson College in 2012. He stayed in North Carolina to complete his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working with Dr. J. Michael Ramsey. His dissertation work was focused on coupling atmospheric pressure ionization techniques with miniature mass spectrometers. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the Kashuba Lab in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, using imaging mass spectrometry to explore the distributions of antiretroviral medications in tissues and hair. He joined the Furman faculty in 2019, where his research is focused on development of ambient mass spectrometry techniques as well as clinical applications of mass spectrometry.


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.S., Davidson College

Research Interests

The Gilliland lab's research is focused on using mass spectrometry (MS) as a tool to solve clinical and biological problems, with three current areas of interest:

(1) Use paper spray MS to quantify low concentrations of pharmaceuticals in dried blood spots. Dried blood spots offer a convenient, low-cost, and stable sampling method compared to traditional venipuncture. Paper spray MS enables the extraction and ionization of compounds of interest directly from dried blood spots, which can then be identified using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS).

(2) Develop liquid chromatography-MS/MS assays for the quantification of biomarkers in biofluids, specifically urine and plasma. Detection of urinary and plasma biomarkers can offer a relatively noninvasive alternative to other methods of disease diagnosis such as biopsy.

(3) Explore the potential of microdroplet chemistry to study organic reactions in real-time with mass spectrometry as the detection method.