Issue 18 - February 2013


Online version of this newsletter:

Welcome to the eighteenth issue of MetaboNews, a monthly newsletter for the worldwide metabolomics community. In this month's issue,
we feature a Laboratory Spotlight article on the Theory of Chemometrics. As of May 2012, we introduced a new section called MetaboInterviews that features interviews with metabolomics experts from around the world. This issue includes an interview with Neil Taylor, President and CEO of Chenomx Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This newsletter is being produced by The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC,, and is intended to keep metabolomics researchers and other professionals informed about new technologies, software, databases, events, job postings, conferences, training opportunities, interviews, publications, awards, and other newsworthy items concerning metabolomics. We hope to provide enough useful content to keep you interested and informed and appreciate your feedback on how we can make this newsletter better (

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1) Laboratory Spotlight

Raboud University Nijmegen

Theory of Chemometrics

Feature article contributed by Jeroen Jansen, Lionel Blanchet, and Lutgarde Buydens, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands

The Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry (LAC) at the Radboud University Nijmegen, headed by Prof. Lutgarde Buydens, is one of the oldest chemometrics groups in the world. Chemometrics is the research field interested in the analysis of complex chemical data. Omics data are therefore logically of particular chemometric interest and a key element in our research portfolio. Conversely, scientific and technological developments in metabolomics require ever-more advanced statistical methods that answer the very complex biological research questions. Such synergy between both fields may induce a next generation of thought-provoking challenges that stretch current methods to the limits and thereby spark the development of new approaches.

The field of chemometrics until recently relied heavily on two methods: Principal Component Analysis to describe the chemistry of complex analytical measurements, and Partial Least Squares Regression to predict specific properties from these measurements. Any literature search for 'analysis of metabolomics data' shows how the love for these methods flourishes on. However, LAC aims to ascend on these specific methods, to reach a strong theoretical—currently lacking—basis for chemometrics. For this we started a public-private partnership, through the Netherlands 'Top Institute for COmprehensive Analytical Science and Technology' (TI-COAST). In this project, called 'Analysis of Large data sets By Enhanced Robust Techniques' (ALBERT), several Dutch (bio)chemical companies collaborate with chemometricians and statisticians from the Universities of Nijmegen and Groningen to create a pipeline. In this line the information quality within any metabolomics (or other chemical) dataset can be quantitatively evaluated, based on solid theoretical grounds (Figure 1). This then forms the basis for the pre-processing to remove identified artefacts and thereby highlight the biologically relevant data. This can then be analysed by PCA or PLS, but potentially by more advanced methods that are tailor-made to answer the biological questions at hand. Also, here the theoretical basis is maintained, because each step in the pipeline is supported by two essential, but often overlooked aspects: validation and visualisation. This pipeline will assure peer metabolomics researchers they can both trust and understand results from the high-quality chemometric models at the basis of a joint publication.

Schematic depiction of the steps in the ALBERT

Figure 1. Schematic depiction of the steps in the ALBERT pipeline.

Our laboratory has applied this pipeline and their interconnection in several studies. For example, we Intuitively expect that the concentration of a compound within a particular metabolic pathway changes proportionally to other metabolites in the same pathway. However, in reality, these concentration changes may follow much more complex behaviour: metabolic systems—biological problems in general—are inherently non-linear. The chemometrician's best friends (PCA and PLS) are unable to detect these relations in such cases and more advanced methods are required. Kernel transformations are particularly promising for this, for two reasons. Kernels can linearize almost any type of relation, which are then open for exploration by PCA or PLS. Although kernel-based methods are generally recognized as powerful, their use was severely hampered by the impossibility of visualizing the biological information (metabolites) that underlie the model, e.g., in a 'biplot'. Our group recently solved this problem, by implementing 'pseudo-samples' [1] that reconstruct the role of each metabolite in the model, even for nonlinear biological differences. This aspect can even be further extended to the linear and non-linear complementary information that GC-MS and NMR generate for complex diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (Figure 2) [2].

Loading plot of
        pseudo-samples trajectories for selected NMR and GC-MS

Figure 2. Loading plot of pseudo-samples trajectories for selected NMR and GC-MS variables, adapted from reference [2].

Another forte of chemometrics that is very useful to metabolomics, is the strong analytical basis that underlies it. This is not only reflected in analytical chemistry but also in the thought processes that lie beneath. Chemometrics therefore forms an abstract plane, on which concepts from remote scientific fields like psychology and marketing may cross-fertilize with those in systems biology. A prominent field in these social science disciplines is the study of 'individual differences' that can be very useful to create an 'individualized metabolomic fingerprint'. In collaboration with the Biosystems Data Analysis group at the University of Amsterdam, we have modeled the ecological response of a group of plants to herbivory, specifically the heterogeneity in this response between otherwise completely comparable plants and the emergence of sub-groups—chemotypes—in this response. For this we adapted the Simultaneous Component Analysis with Individual Differences constraints (SCA-IND) method [3], originally developed for assessing differences between sensory panel members for product tests. This method provided a view on this heterogeneity that was both ecologically and biochemically understandable (Figure 3). We believe this method can be applied broadly in metabolomic studies. Specifically its application in Personalized Health and Medicine, which focuses on the heterogeneity among patients, seems extremely promising. This is another very clear example of how chemometrics may facilitate cross-fertilization between research fields, even within biology.

SCA-IND model on the ecological plant response

Figure 3. SCA-IND model on the ecological plant response. A. Raw data (circles: control plants, triangles: attacked plants; grey: 1 day after attack, white: 7 days after, black: 14 days after. A negative relation between NEO and GBC clearly emerges during the experiment i. plant with high level of Neoglucobrassicin (NEO), and ii. High-Glucobrassicin Plant); B. This emergence becomes clear in the 'Group-level' scores of attacked plants; C. Loadings show this heterogeneity mainly associates with Glucobrassicin and Neoglucobrassicin; D. The Individual-level scores of the model show distinct Glucobrassicin and Neoglucobrassicin-responding plant groups, 14 days after attack—the emergence of 'Response Chemotypes'; plants i. and ii. from panel A are indicated.

  1. Postma, G.J., P.W.T. Krooshof, and L.M.C. Buydens, Opening the kernel of kernel partial least squares and support vector machines. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2011. 705(1–2): p. 123-134. [PMID: 21962355]
  2. Smolinska, A., et al., Interpretation and Visualization of Non-Linear Data Fusion in Kernel Space: Study on Metabolomic Characterization of Progression of Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS ONE, 2012. 7(6): p. e38163. [PMID: 22715376]
  3. Jansen, J., et al., Individual differences in metabolomics: individualised responses and between-metabolite relationships. Metabolomics, 2012. 8(0): p. 94-104. [PMID: 22593723]

Please note: If you know of any metabolomics research programs, software, databases, statistical methods, meetings, workshops, or training sessions that we should feature in future issues of this newsletter, please email Ian Forsythe at


2) MetaboInterviews

MetaboInterviews, a new section as of May 2012, features interviews with prominent researchers in the field of metabolomics. The aim of these interviews is to shed light on metabolomics researchers around the world and give them an opportunity to share their metabolomics story. In this issue, we feature an interview with Neil Taylor, President and CEO of Chenomx Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Neil Taylor

President and CEO, Chenomx Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Neil Taylor 


Neil Taylor is a graduate of the University of Alberta in the field of Electrical Engineering. Soon after graduation he became involved in various aspects of control systems engineering including the development of software applications for control system design and monitoring. He founded Taylor Industrial Software right at the time of the introduction of the first personal computers in 1981. Taylor Industrial Software became one of the first PC-based software companies in the field and was included as part of GE Fanuc in 1996. The group exists as a key part of GE and is still located in Edmonton.

Neil embarked on a new career of investing and supporting new technology companies. He was a co-founder of Chenomx in 2000 and has led the company ever since. His experience in software development, company management and growth has helped Chenomx grow into the leader in the field that it is today.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; NT, Neil Taylor)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

NT: I was intrigued by the concept of a 'universal diagnostic test' based on the principles that many metabolites can be measured in one physical test using NMR technology. The value proposition, at that time, was that the advances in computer technology and understanding of the data contained within NMR spectra could open up an unlimited opportunity to discover and implement diagnostic marker patterns for advanced diagnosis. We thought of it as a natural extension to the typical clinical testing that is in routine practice today. This testing can be thought of as an application of metabolomics before the concept was extended to consider hundreds of metabolites per test.

I was helping Dr. Wishart (well known as the leader of the Human Metabolome Project) and colleagues at the University of Alberta on other software matters and we decided to put some investment into this concept. Of course, looking back now we underestimated the time and effort to develop tools to help people discover disease marker patterns and to help those same researchers do the discovery projects. There are so many applications of metabolomics today that disease marker discovery is only a part of the field, even if a very valuable one.

MN: What are some of the most exciting aspects of your work in metabolomics?

NT: Our company is dedicated to making metabolomics more accessible to more researchers world-wide. We do this by offering software and methods that take some of the guesswork out of identifying and measuring metabolite concentrations within bio fluids. We have assembled a team of specialists that understand the needs of our research clients and can help them with their study design, the analysis of their results, and all the technical issues that come up with sample handling and NMR spectroscopy. That knowledge, along with software and structural chemistry and NMR expertise, has helped us build a popular and effective product for spectral analysis for metabolomics.

One exciting part of our work is hearing our clients tell us that we offer the best product and advice available to NMR-based metabolomics researchers. Another exciting aspect of our work is watching the growth of knowledge discovered and utilized using metabolomics concepts and hearing from our clients that we had a key part in helping that happen.

MN: What key metabolomics initiatives are you pursuing at your research centre or institute? What is happening in your country in terms of metabolomics?

NT: We are constantly working to improve our software product, our metabolite database, and our methods and efficiency for delivering profiling services. We look for new applications for our products within metabolomics—some fields such as biologics research are just getting started with metabolomics as a tool to better understand their processes.

Our analysis services offer our clients a way to participate in metabolomics research projects without having to invest in specialized facilities and staff training. We are often more cost-effective for them than to set up a team to do the work themselves. Our experienced scientists and technicians, together with our methods and facilities, offer high-quality and robust measurement methods.

MN: How do you see your work in metabolomics being applied today or in the future?

NT: Our original ambitious vision of a universal diagnostic is still alive. One application that shows the opportunity to match our original ambitious vision is that of a company called Metabolomic Technologies Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Their vision is that of various cancer screens utilizing metabolomics. We have helped them discover their diagnostic patterns and to test them on other clinical sample sets. They are working to implement a number of diagnostic applications, some are already patented. One advantage of using an untargeted assay such as ours is that the patterns for a number of separate markers can be tested on the same NMR spectrum. We are pleased and excited to be part of that initiative.

MN: As you see it, what are metabolomics' greatest strengths?

NT: Metabolomics is a way to look at the health of an organism while including environmental, nutritional, disease, and genetic factors as part of the analysis. These factors do not have to be separately considered; they are just part of the analysis that is metabolomics.

It is a way of generating hypotheses of the presence of marker patterns of various health conditions. A pattern can be used directly as a diagnostic marker pattern in many cases. Research can be initiated into the discovery of the underlying mechanisms of the health condition that might have caused that pattern to be exposed. The next steps can be other study parameters, more specialized and focused metabolomics testing, or other methods as appropriate to the particular situation.

MN: What do you see as the greatest barriers for metabolomics? What improvements, technological or otherwise, need to take place for metabolomics to really take off?

NT: One issue that is of concern is that of the difficulty of the choice of measurement platforms to be used. Each of the various platforms has value and it is difficult or impossible to use all the platforms in a particular experiment due to cost and time issues.

We support NMR as an untargeted method that can be used to discover a marker pattern hypothesis. That hypothesis can be further tested with research into patient differences, specificity, and sensitivity to the particular condition being researched. Depending on the situation, other measurement platforms can be used at this time.

Another issue that is there is a tendency for individual variations in organisms to compromise the profiles of particular diseases. Especially with humans—variability in nutrition and lifestyle make it hard to move a pattern discovered in a lab setting to a routine diagnostic that is reliably reproducible over a large range of people.

MN: How does the future look in terms of funding for metabolomics?

NT: Metabolomics is an accepted research field and thus attracts funding attention, even though funding is generally challenging today. We help our research clients attract funding, where we can, and try to be flexible in our relationships with them to help with their grant applications.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

NT: One application of standards is that of standardized methods of sample handling and measurement. No one wants to do a whole project including experiment design, ethics approval, sample collection, measurement, and statistical analysis to find out that the results are compromised by samples left out on the lab counter for different amounts of time. This points to careful study design, with input from various scientific disciplines, before starting on the project. Our scientists are able to assist with or review a study design and offer helpful suggestions.

MN: Do you have any other comments that you wish to share about metabolomics?

NT: More accessible and routine metabolomics platforms and services will open up the metabolomics field to many more clinical, nutrition, environmental, and other researchers world-wide than ever before. NMR-based metabolomics is ideally situated to offer those services, providing a broad panel suitable for hypothesis generation in a wide variety of typical experimental studies.

Biomarker Beacon

3) Biomarker Beacon

Feature article contributed by Ian Forsythe, Editor, MetaboNews, Dept of Computing Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Metabolomics is an emerging field that is complementary to other omics sciences and that is gaining increasing interest across all disciplines. Because of metabolomics' unique advantages, it is now being applied in functional genomics, integrative and systems biology, pharmacogenomics, and biomarker discovery for drug development and therapy monitoring. A substantial number of biomarkers are small molecules or metabolites (MW <1500 Da), which can be used for disease testing, drug testing, toxic exposure testing, and food consumption tracking. While standard clinical assays are limited in the number and type of compounds that can be detected, metabolomics measures many more compounds. Since a single compound is not always the best biomarker (diagnostic, prognostic, or predictive), healthcare practitioners can use metabolomic information about multiple compounds to make better medical decisions. Global metabolic profiling is now being used to determine clinical biomarkers in assessing the pathophysiological health status of patients.

In the following two recent studies, metabolomic approaches were used to develop biomarker tools for the identification of biomarkers associated with gastric ulceration and atherosclerosis, respectively.
  1. Takeuchi K, Ohishi M, Ota S, Suzumura K, Naraoka H, Ohata T, Seki J, Miyamae Y, Honma M, Soga T. Metabolic Profiling to Identify Potential Serum Biomarkers for gastric ulceration induced by non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. J Proteome Res. 2013 Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 23336624]

    In this paper, the research team sought to identify novel biomarkers for gastric mucosal ulceration and gastric hemorrhage, serious side effects of the commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A non-invasive, biomarker-based test would be very attractive since these side effects are currently only detectable via endoscopy. The investigators used capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) to evaluate stomach and serum samples from rats administered NSAIDs and observed drug-induced decreases in the following metabolites: citrate, cis-aconitate, succinate, 3-hydroxy butanoic acid, o-acetyl carnitine, proline, and hydroxyproline. The authors of this study hypothesize that these decreases are possibly due, at least in part, to drug-induced reduction in mitochondrial activity. Metabolites, such as those discovered in this study, may serve as key biomarkers for monitoring gastric tissue damage caused by NSAIDs.
  1. Jové M, Ayala V, Ramírez-Núñez O, Serrano JC, Cassanyé A, Arola L, Caimari A, Del Bas JM, Crescenti A, Pamplona R, Portero-Otín M. Lipidomic and metabolomic analyses reveal potential plasma biomarkers of early atheromatous plaque formation in hamsters. Cardiovasc Res. 2013 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 23241314]

    Diet-induced formation of atheromatous plaques can eventually contribute to cardiovascular disease. In this study, the researchers used a combined lipidomic and metabolomic approach to identify plasma biomarkers for the prediction and progression of atherosclerosis. This group performed liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to compare the circulating and aortic lipidome and the plasma metabolome, using the hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) as an animal model; lipoprotein metabolism in hamsters is similar to that of humans. The research team discovered novel pathways in atherogenesis and a potential new plasma biomarker, taurocholic acid. The following pathways were perturbed: lipid and amino acid metabolism, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ pathway, and oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress. As this work demonstrates, some of the metabolites identified in this study could serve as key biomarkers for disease prediction and monitoring of disease progression.
Metabolomics Current

4) Metabolomics Current Contents

Recently published papers in metabolomics:

5) MetaboNews

30 Jan 2013

Metabolomics Innovation Centre Update

Members and colleagues of The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) attended the "9th Annual Bellairs Research Workshop: Personalized Treatment of Liver Disease with Advanced Technology" from January 18th - 25th, 2013. The workshop was held in Folkestone, St. James, Barbados by McGill University at the Bellairs Research Institute, the only teaching and research institute in the tropics, founded nearly 60 years ago and endowed in 1954 by the late Commander Carlyon W. Bellairs.

TMIC Principal Investigators, Dr. Liang Li and Dr. Christoph Borchers, presented talks on "Isotope Labeling LC-MS for Comprehensive and Quantitative Metabolome Profiling" and "Protein concentration coverage from mg/ml to pg/ml: Pushing the MRM based quantitation of plasma proteins with a cocktail mix of +700 standard peptides" and shared some details on the benefits of TMIC's metabolomic research for disease prevention, early detection and treatment. Drs. Borchers and Li, along with TMIC lead Dr. David Wishart, Connie Sobsey, University of Victoria, and Tamara Lim, University of Alberta, also took the opportunity to discuss some of the details regarding the upcoming Genome Canada Science and Technology Innovation Centre renewal in March 2013.

TMIC is very excited to develop robust and innovative technological developments in the upcoming years and hopes to engage the research community and industry. Please help us out by taking part in our TMIC Community Needs Survey so that we can continue to impact Canadians with beneficial scientific research for the ongoing advancement of Science and Public & Environmental Health.

Source: GenOmics
25 Jan 2013

Thermo Fisher Scientific and National University of Singapore Form Collaboration on Metabolomics Study of Urban Water Systems Goal

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, and National University of Singapore's (NUS) Environmental Research Institute (NERI), a leading global interdisciplinary institute for environmental sciences and engineering announced that they have formed a collaboration to study how metabolism in plants and bacteria affects water quality and the ecosystem in and around Singapore.

In the study, researchers from NERI and the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), an interdisciplinary Research Centre of Excellence (RCE), funded by National Research Foundation, Singapore Ministry of Education, NUS and Nanyang Technological University, will examine how metabolomes (all the metabolites present in an organism at a given time) relate to the functioning of microbes in the urban water cycle. The team will employ a wide range of analytical tools including state-of-the-art liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS) systems to identify and measure metabolites in samples. One of the goals is to better understand and enhance the self-purification capacity of urban waterways that use natural processes to reduce or remove nutrient and contaminant loads in surface water. Another goal is to understand the metabolic basis of wastewater purification in order to improve the processes involved.

"Safe and sustainable quality water is fundamental to both human and ecosystem health. By understanding better how plants and microbes affect our water quality, we could look into developing improved tools or methods that could significantly increase our ability to identify health and environmental threats more prudently. We are delighted to be partnering with Thermo Fisher Scientific in working towards this endeavor and believe that this collaboration that marries nature and technology will lead us to new findings that would benefit the society," said Professor Ong Choon Nam, Director of NUS Environmental Research Institute.

"NERI and Thermo Fisher Scientific share the vision of helping to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer, which is why we are so delighted to team up with this group of expert scientists in environmental sciences," said Bhaskar Narayanaan, Vice President and General Manager, Thermo Fisher Singapore. "This combination of research expertise with Thermo Scientific analytical technology creates tremendous synergy."

Under this collaboration:
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific will enhance NERI's existing LC-MS systems (Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Velos Pro hybrid LC-MS and the Thermo Scientific Equan MAX turnkey automated, high throughput LC-MS system for water analysis) with the latest state-of-the-art instrumentation and technologies including the new Thermo Scientific Exactive Plus high-resolution and accurate mass LC/MS.
  • NERI and SCELSE researchers will have special access to the comprehensive range of Thermo Fisher Scientific laboratory solutions as workflow needs dictate.
  • An active exchange of ideas and expertise will be promoted to enhance equipment knowledge and software performance.
  • Efforts will be made to develop new sample preparation methodologies, innovative applications and publications for the scientific community.
  • NERI and Thermo Fisher Scientific will work to expand the workforce in the field of Environmental Metabolomics.
14 Jan 2013

Metabolomics key to identifying disease pathway: Research reveals lactic acid's role in lung disease

Expertise at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) contributed to the understanding of the role of cellular metabolism in the pathogenesis of a currently untreatable lung disease. This research, reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, highlights the importance of PNNL's nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics in the field of biomedicine.

"This work was, in fact, stimulated by the findings from our metabolic profiling studies," said Dr. Jianzhi Hu, a PNNL NMR expert and physicist who, with NMR spectroscopist and biochemist Nancy Isern, provided the study's NMR metabolomics data. The work was led by University of Rochester researchers Drs. Patricia Sime (MD), R. Matthew Kottmann (MD), and Richard Phipps (PhD) and included researchers from Inova Fairfax Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute and George Mason University.

Scientists increasingly recognize that dysregulated, or impaired, cellular metabolism impacts disease processes. However, they know little about the role of cellular metabolism as it relates to lung disease. Greater understanding of the dysregulated processes in human diseases will help in developing improved diagnostic and treatment strategies.

The researchers investigated how the metabolite lactic acid contributes to pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring of the lung. They identified increased levels of lactic acid and increased expression of the enzyme responsible for the production of lactic acid, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), in the lung tissues of patients with idiopathic—from an unknown cause—pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) compared to healthy controls. Lactic acid, which is typically produced via LDH during vigorous exercise or other anaerobic conditions such as hypoxia, was also elevated in scar-forming cells in the lung called myofibroblasts.

The team further demonstrated that the concentrations of lactic acid present in the diseased lung tissue activated an important fibrosis-promoting molecule, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-b). Furthermore, TGF-b was shown to increase the expression of LDH, thereby potentially contributing to a pro-fibrotic feed-forward loop. More important, the team also demonstrated that inhibition of LDH significantly reduced the fibrosis-promoting effects of TGF-b, thus identifying LDH as a novel potential target for therapy for patients with IPF.

These data support the role of lactic acid and LDH5 in the initiation and/or progression of pulmonary fibrosis. While the concept of lactic acid elevation in tissue with restricted blood flow is not new, the concept that the elevated lactic acid concentrations are playing a key physiologic role in a lung disease represents a broader understanding of lung physiology. This work also highlights the importance of combining metabolomics studies with translational and clinical research.

This study provides an exciting first step for a novel, direct measurement of metabolites and their associated metabolic pathways that are dysregulated in human lung disease. Many more metabolites have been identified as being either increased or decreased in IPF compared to healthy controls. Interrogation of their associated metabolic pathways is ongoing. This investigation is expected to help identify additional novel treatment targets for patients with IPF. In addition, the researchers are expanding their analyses to include other lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), sarcoidosis, and other idiopathic lung disorders.

Paper: Kottman, R. 2012. Lactic Acid is Elevated in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Induces Myofibroblast Differentiation Via pH-Dependent Activation of Transforming Growth Factor-β. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 186(8):740-751. [PMID: 22923663]

Source: Medical Xpress

Please note: If you know of any metabolomics news that we should feature in future issues of this newsletter, please email Ian Forsythe (

Metabolomics Events

6) Metabolomics Events

9-13 Feb 2013

MSACL 2013 - Mass Spectrometry Applications to the Clinical Laboratory
Venue: San Diego, California, USA

The MSACL Conference provides a forum for discussion of developments in the clinical application of mass spectrometry. While immunoassay methods have dominated clinical analyses, mass spectrometric methods are now providing analytical results more rapidly and with less-expense. MSACL brings together experts in the field with those driven to explore and understand clinical mass spectrometry, with the goal of facilitating mass spectrometry's adoption as a health care tool and accelerating the realization of improved patient care and reduced health care costs.

For more information, visit

25 Feb-1 Mar 2013

EMBO Practical Course on Metabolomics: Bioinformatics for Life Scientists
Venue: European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, CB10 1SD, UK

Is it right for me?
This course is aimed at advanced PhD students and post-doctoral researchers who are planning to improve their ability or learn new techniques in metabolomics and applying optimal data analysis methods using various bioinformatics tools in their research. The aim of this course is to familiarize the participants with advanced data analysis and data fusion methodologies and provide hands-on training on the latest analytical approaches and abilities to visualized and map metabolic changes on the relevant pathways.

What will I learn?
Lectures will give insight into how biological knowledge can be generated from metabolomics experiments and illustrate different ways of analyzing such data using variety of open source and freely available tools. Practicals will consist of computer exercises that will enable the participants to apply statistical methods and different analytical and data processing software to the analysis of metabolomics data under the guidance of the lecturers and teaching assistants. Familiarity with the technology such as data acquisition with NMR and MS is required. Ideally also some experience with R/Bioconductor (basic understanding of the syntax and ability to manipulate R objects) and the Unix/Linux operating system.

What will it cover?
The course covers optimal study design for metabolomics experiments, various data analysis methods, usage of online databases and resource as well theoretical a practical approaches on data fusion. Other topics will include: visualization of metabolomics data on metabolic pathways, methods of identification of unknown compounds, differential expression, data quality and reproducibility assessment using statistical analysis and optimal experimental study design.

For more information, visit

8-10 Apr 2013

2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology
Venue: Hilton Suites Chicago/Northbrook, USA

OMICS Group invites you to attend the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology which is going to be held during April 08-10, 2013 at Hilton Suites Chicago/Northbrook, USA.

Metabolomics-2013 is a remarkable event which brings together a unique and International mix of large and medium pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostics companies, leading universities and clinical research institutions making the conference a perfect platform to share experience, foster collaborations across industry and academia, and evaluate emerging technologies across the globe.

2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology will serve as a catalyst for the advances in the study of Metabolomics & Systems Biology by connecting scientists within and across disciplines at sessions and exhibition held at the venue, creates an environment conducive to information exchange, generation of new ideas, and acceleration of applications that benefit research in Metabolomics & Systems Biology.

For more information, visit

14-19 Apr 2013

54th ENC Conference
Venue: Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA

Come immerse yourself in cutting-edge NMR science at the beautiful Asilomar conference grounds by the sea!
  • Jan 11, 2013: Deadline for abstracts to be considered for short talks and early decision.
  • Jan 11, 2013: Deadline for student travel and Ritchey Award materials
  • March 8, 2013: Deadline for late poster abstracts
  • March 15, 2013: Deadline for Asilomar lodging and advance conference registration
General Information:
Preliminary Program:

For more information, visit

1-7 June 2013

GRC on Computational NMR and Associated Seminar on Metabolomic NMR
Venue: Mount Snow Resort, West Dover, Vermont, USA

The organizers of the Gordon Research Conference on Computational Aspects of Biomolecular NMR are pleased to announce that the GRC and a related Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Metabolomic NMR for graduate students and postdocs will be held at the Mount Snow Resort in Vermont from June 1-7, 2013.

The meeting is the eighth GRC on Computational NMR and the first to include a dedicated Seminar for graduate students and postdocs. The focus of the GRS is to discuss new contributions in computational Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to the growing field of metabolomics and will feature a keynote talk by David Wishart, University of Alberta, and discussions led by experts in metabolomic NMR as a complement to oral presentations by graduate students and postdocs.

For more information:

For registration:

We do hope that you will both consider attending and provide this information to your students and postdocs and encourage them join us in Vermont for what we anticipate will be an enjoyable and stimulating meeting.

1-4 Jul 2013

9th Annual International Meeting of the Metabolomics Society
Venue: Glasgow, Scotland

We are delighted to announce that the 9th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society will be held in Glasgow, Scotland 1st – 4th July 2013 at the award-winning Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (SECC). This appealing combination of an excellent city location and the best scientific research will guarantee this a memorable conference.

We expect this to be the 'must attend' meeting in 2013 for researchers from around the world, where the best speakers in the world and rising stars of the future will present their work in a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions. The Metabolomics Society came into being with the development of the Metabolomics as a discipline and as a result provides a focus for the most varied aspects of the subject ranging from microbes to man. As a result of this it brings together a diverse mixture of scientists from many disciplines, which produces very stimulating meetings.

One of the main aims of the conference will be to create a unique platform for young scientists. Come and listen and talk to the top experts in the field.  Find out about the latest exciting technologies that can advance your own research, but most of all come and enjoy Scotland's largest and most vibrant city and the beautiful countryside around it.

We look forward to welcoming you to Glasgow in 2013!

Dave Watson
Chair, Local Organising Committee
Metabolomics Glasgow 2013

For more information, visit

2-4 Jul 2013

3rd European Lipidomic Meeting
Venue: Pardubice, Czech Republic

We would like to cordially invite you to participate in the 3rd European Lipidomic Meeting, which will be held in Pardubice, Czech Republic, July 2-4, 2013. The meeting is organized by the Czech Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the University of Pardubice in cooperation with organizers of previous successful Graz Lipid Mass Spec Meetings in 2010 and 2012. Based on the mutual agreement, we have decided to continue in this series and invite colleagues interested in the lipid research from all over the world. The conference title is changed to the European Lipidomic Meeting, but the original numbering is kept to demonstrate the continuity of Graz meetings. The word "European" shows the intention to rotate the organization among different European locations. We have removed "Mass Spec" from the title to emphasize that scientists from all branches of chemistry, biology and medicine are welcome with a single connecting idea - interest in lipids and lipidomics. The analytical chemistry and mass spectrometry in particular will certainly play a significant role again, but intensive interactions and complementary expertise of analytical chemists, biologists, medical doctors, nutrition specialists and experts from other fields could result in better knowledge of biological roles and metabolism of lipids. The conference program will consist of invited plenary lectures, oral and poster contributions. We can proudly announce the list of prominent plenary speakers confirmed so far:
  • Edward A. Dennis (University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA)
  • Stephen J. Blanksby (University of Wollongong, Australia)
  • Andrej Shevchenko (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany)
  • Xianlin Han (Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Orlando, FL, USA)
  • Kim Ekroos (Zora Biosciences, Espoo, Finland)
  • Bernhard Spengler (University of Giessen, Germany)
  • Harald C. Köfeler (Medical University of Graz, Austria)
The scientific part of the meeting will be complemented by rich social program emphasizing the local history. Participants will have a chance to visit Pardubice chateaux with exhibitions of Czech glass and taste beer from old Bohemian brewery. The conference venue is easily accessible from Prague, which has regular flight connections with many European and overseas destinations. Trains between Prague and Pardubice run frequently and fast (only 60 minutes). Pardubice city is famous due to the local production of gingerbread, high concentration of chemical industry and important sport events (horse race Velká Pardubická steeplechase, Golden Helmet of Pardubice speedway competition, ice-hockey, etc.).

For more information, visit

4-5 Jul 2013

Informatics and Statistics for Metabolomics (2013)
Venue: Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Course Objectives: The workshop will cover many topics ranging from understanding metabolomics technologies, data collection and analysis, using pathway databases, performing pathway analysis, conducting univariate and multivariate statistics, working with metabolomic databases and exploring chemical databases. Participants will be given various data sets and short assignments to assist with the learning process.

Target Audience: This course is intended for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows and investigators who are interested in learning about both bioinformatic and cheminformatic tools to analyze and interpret metabolomics data.

Prerequisite: Your own laptop computer. Minimum requirements: 1024x768 screen resolution, 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X or Linux (Most computers purchased in the past 3-4 years likely meet these requirements). If you do not access to a laptop, you may loan one from the CBW. Please contact for more information.

Pre-Readings: You are expected to have completed the following tutorials in R beforehand. The tutorial should be very accessible even if you have never used R before. Please complete the following: R Tutorial

For more information, visit

13-17 Aug 2013

Metabolic Signaling & Disease: From Cell to Organism
Venue: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA

Abstract Deadline: May 31, 2013

Daniel Kelly, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Mitchell Lazar, University of Pennsylvania
Susanne Mandrup, University of Southern Denmark

We are pleased to announce the first Cold Spring Harbor meeting on Metabolic Signaling & Disease: From Cell to Organism which will begin on Tuesday evening, August 13 and end at noon on Saturday, August 17, 2013.

Metabolic regulation is at the intersection of many scientific fields, ranging from basic biochemistry and molecular biology to physiology, to the study of disease pathogenesis. Currently, a major challenge for these diverse fields is to define commonalities and differences in metabolic pathways and their regulation, and determine the role of these processes for physiology and disease states. This meeting will fill an important gap by bringing together outstanding researchers focused on diverse pathways, cell types, or diseases with a common theme of understanding how metabolism is regulated in physiology and disease states.

For more information, visit

Please note: If you know of any metabolomics lectures, meetings, workshops, or training sessions that we should feature in future issues of this newsletter, please email Ian Forsythe (

Metabolomics Jobs

7) Metabolomics Jobs

This is a resource for advertising positions in metabolomics. If you have a job you would like posted in this newsletter, please email Ian Forsythe ( Job postings will be carried for a maximum of 4 issues (8 weeks) unless the position is filled prior to that date.

Jobs Offered

Job Title Employer Location Posted Closes Source
Postdoctoral fellow in metabolic profiling of breast cancer
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway 4-Feb-2013
Metabolomics Society
Postdoctoral fellow in preclinical prostate cancer research
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway 4-Feb-2013
Metabolomics Society
PhD research project: "MR biomarkers for prostate cancer aggressiveness"
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway 16-Jan-2013
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
PhD research project: "Imaging  and targeting metabolic pathways for personalized breast cancer treatment"
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway 16-Jan-2013
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
PhD research project: "Molecular profiling of breast cancer for improved diagnostic and prognostic assessment"
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway 16-Jan-2013
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Post-doctoral Position in Chemical Ecology/Metabolomics
University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Metabolomics Society
Postdoctoral fellowship in metabolomics of cancer models
UCSF San Francisco, CA, USA
Metabolomics Society
Head of Metabolomics
MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
London, UK
MRC National Institute for Medical Research
Post-doctoral Position in Lipidomics/Metabolomics
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA, USA
Metabolomics Society
Post-doctoral position in biostatistical methods
University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Metabolomics Society

Jobs Wanted

This section is intended for very highly qualified individuals (e.g., lab managers, professors, directors, executives with extensive experience) who are seeking employment in metabolomics. We encourage these individuals to submit their position requests to Ian Forsythe ( Upon review, a limited number of job submissions will be selected for publication in the Jobs Wanted section.
  • There are currently no positions for publication in this section.

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