A newsletter published in partnership between TMIC and the Metabolomics Society
Issue 30 - February 2014


Online version of this newsletter:

Welcome to the thirtieth issue of MetaboNews, a monthly newsletter published in partnership between The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC, and the international Metabolomics Society (, 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. MetaboNews represents the one-stop-shop for the very latest and most critical news about the science of metabolomics. In this issue, we feature a Platform Spotlight article on IROA for accurate identification, quantitation, and statistical analysis of small molecular compounds, and a metabolomics interview with Nicolas Schauer of Metabolomic Discoveries.

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

Biocrates --
                                Standardized Metabolic Phenotyping  
Chenomx --
                                Metabolite Discovery & Measurement
Biocrates Life Sciences AG

Chenomx Inc.

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Metabolomics Society Logo

Metabolomics Society News

10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
Location: Tsuruoka, Japan
Date: June 23rd to 26th 2014
Scientific themes include:
Important dates:
We would like to take this opportunity to remind the metabolomics community that this is the official annual conference of the international Metabolomics Society. It builds upon the outstanding success of the Metabolomics Society's annual conference in Glasgow last year (, Washington in 2012 (, and seven earlier conferences. The Society's conference series thereby represents the best established, most attended and longest running conference program in the field of metabolomics and metabonomics globally. It should not be confused with any other conferences that brand a similar name.

Reminder!!! - Analytical Tools for Cutting-edge Metabolomics conference
The first in a new series of shorter, science topic-focused Metabolomics Society organised, or jointly organised, meetings kicks off soon. The first, jointly organised with the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry, will be focused on analytical metabolomics.
Location: Chemistry Centre, Burlington House, London, UK
Date: 30th April 2014

Analytical chemistry has been one of the driving forces behind the development of metabolomics research over the past decade. The conference will bring together exceptional scientists for a program consisting of plenary and invited talks, posters, as well as an oral session devoted to early career researchers. It will be an excellent opportunity for analytical chemists to learn more about metabolomics and its application, and for metabolomics scientists to improve their knowledge of cutting-edge bioanalytical tools.

We have a fantastic line up of speakers including:
Early-bird registration closes on 14th March 2014
Abstract submission deadline is also 14th March 2014
Please visit the website above to learn more, including about the Metabolomics Society Travel Awards that are available.

Early-Career Members Network (EMN)
The EMN is dedicated to, and run by early-career scientists who are members of the Metabolomics Society and are from either academia, government or industry. The network aims to provide a forum for metabolomics researchers at the start of their professional career.

At present, we are moving forward with the planning of our workshop at the 10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society in Tsuruoka, Japan, on 23-26 June 2014. We will be hosting a two session workshop that will include tutorials, scientific talks, and a social event to network with early-career scientists like you and top scientists in the field. To make this workshop a success we need your input! We would like to invite you to contact us via and let us know what tutorials and topics you would like to hear at our workshop.

Please follow us on Twitter (@MetabolomicsSoc) and Facebook (Metabolomics Society) to stay up-to-date on all news and upcoming events.

Urgent Reminder: Membership renewal for 2014

Thank you to the many of you who have renewed your membership for 2014. Membership numbers are soaring!  For those of you who have not renewed yet, February will be the last opportunity for you to take advantage of our discounted early bird rates. If you are a student, it is also worth noting that you MUST be a student member of the Society for 3 months to be eligible for the Metabolomics Society Travel Awards and Prize at the 10th Annual Metabolomics Society Conference in Tsuruoka, Japan. To see the full list of benefits and to join, go to Membership in the Society is based on the calendar year, so all 2013 members need to renew their membership at to stay in good standing. Renew your Membership now to enjoy a discount and maintain all your membership benefits.

Status of Data Standards
This section is contributed regularly by Christoph Steinbeck (Chair of the Society’s Data Standards Task Group) and Reza Salek ( from the EMBL-EBI, Cambridge UK.

Development of nmrML format: Currently, the most widely used data exchange format for NMR data is JCAMP-DX version 6.0 by the Joint Committee on Atomic and Molecular Physical Data (Davies and Lampen, 1993), but the specification is not very rigorous and many different flavors exist in the wild, which can lead to incompatibilities between different software packages. It is also not easily extendable to capture supplementary information.

The MSI workgroups have provided detailed suggestions about the minimum information metadata to be captured for a NMR experiment. In particular, the MSI, had put forth recommendations to report instrument descriptions and configurations, instrument-specific sample preparation and data acquisition parameters (Rubtsov, Jenkins et al., 2007), which resulted in a first round of NMR XML data standard development, focusing on raw and processed one- and two-dimensional NMR experiments and associated metadata (Ludwig, Easton et al., 2012). 

Inspired by the huge success of mzML in mass spectrometry,  the COSMOS COordination Of Standards In MetabOlomicS ( consortium has joined forces with other groups and has now merged and adopted existing schemata into a new nmrML format ( The format consists of the XML schema that defines the structure of an nmrML file. This structure is deliberately kept simple to ease the task of implementation, and avoid the need for frequent changes when the terminology needs to accommodate upcoming new technologies and parameters. Instead, these will be annotated in the nmrML file using the second component of nmrML, the controlled vocabulary terms from the nmrCV ontology. The nmrCV is based on earlier work at the EMBL-EBI (Sansone, Schober et al., 2007) and efforts at The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (David Wishart Group). The nmrCV contains nearly 600 terms and partly relies on external sources like ChEBI for chemical information, thus making it an integrative resource. Term request can be channeled through the issue tracker/mailing list.

We also provide early prototypes for file converters from vendor formats to nmrML, as well as parser libraries for Java, R and python, which can be used by open NMR processing and analysis software.

The development of nmrML is taking place on Github (, where the specification documents, more detailed descriptions of our use cases, examples files and the parser libraries can be found.

We are now providing a first nmrML release candidate at for public consultation and feedback.

Metabolomics journal, Vol. 10, Issue 1, February 2014
See the latest issue of our journal at:
In addition to the many excellent research papers, this issue contains the following contributions from the Metabolomics Society:

Stay abreast of the latest metabolomics news via the Twitter feed on the front page of the website. Also you can follow us on Twitter: Metabolomics Society @MetabolomicsSoc and Metabolomics journal @Metabolomics. And you can visit us on Facebook.


Software Spotlight

Platform Spotlight

50% off IROA metabolic profiling kits

: Tools to Unequivocally Remove Platform Variability, and Provide Accurate Identification, Quantitation, and Statistical Analysis of Small Molecular Compounds

Feature article contributed by Chris Beecher, CSO and Felice de Jong, CEO, IROA Technologies, LLC, 7395 Warren Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105;

The success of a metabolomics platform in accurately measuring true biological variability requires the removal of platform-related variability and a means to efficiently and accurately perform metabolite identification and quantitation backed by robust statistical analysis. The IROA tools are designed with step-by-step instructions to provide a simplified, automated solution for the removal of noise and artifacts and identification of metabolites (targeted or untargeted), coupled with automatic normalization, statistics and visualization functions.

Full Complement of Built-in Internal Standards. The IROA protocol, a unique stable isotopic labeling technique, was developed to create distinct signatures in molecules of biological samples so that every metabolite measured has an isotopically labeled internal standard for comparison. The uniqueness of the IROA protocol derives from the incorporation of controlled isotopic balances. The Basic, global IROA experiment involves the comparison of two groups of samples (experimental and control); one labeled with 5% U-13C and another with 95% U-13C, respectively. The unique isotopic signatures ensure accurate metabolite identification and removal of all noise and artifacts. Differentiated control and experimental samples are pooled, reducing the number of analytical samples in half.

Triply Redundant Determination of Number of Carbons Enables Accurate Identification. At natural abundance the M+1 peak (~6% of the height of the monoisotopic peak for a 6 carbon molecule) gets lost in the noise and confused by contributions from deuterium, 15N, 17O, etc. When the percentage of 13C is increased to 5%, the M+1 peak height increases to 32% of the height of the monoisotopic peak. Likewise, when the percentage of 13C is increased to 95%, the mirrored M-1 peak for a six-carbon molecule is also increased to 32% of the height of the monoisotopic peak (this is illustrated using arginine in Figure 1). The heights of the M+1/-1 peaks are diagnostic of the number of carbons in the molecule and the number of carbons in a biological molecule is also calculated by the distance between the two monoisotopic peaks. The relative height of the M+1, the relative height of M-1, and the distance between the monoisotopic peaks provide a triply redundant confirmation of the number of carbons ensuring accuracy. IROA determines a peak’s molecular formula based on number of carbons and exact mass assuring a correct formula below masses of 450.

The IROA peaks
Figure 1: The IROA peaks.

A Carbon Envelope of Information. The collection of peaks produced by altering the isotopic balance is referred to as the “envelope”. This carbon envelope: 1) differentiates control and experimental samples from each other and also from artifacts; 2) is used to identify compounds of interest in the sample; and 3) provides unambiguous and redundant quality control checks. The shape of the envelope is entirely predictable as a function of the number of carbons in the molecule and the isotopic balance, i.e., the height of the M+1 and M-1 differ directly according to the number of carbons in a molecule, and  this is true not only for the M+1 and M-1, but also the shape of the entire isotopic envelope is different for every number of carbons (see Figure 2 which illustrates envelopes for 9 carbon and 27 carbon molecules).

The 9 and 27
        Carbon Envelopes
Figure 2: The 9 and 27 Carbon Envelopes.

Data Processing: Overview. The user-friendly IROA software platform consists of two components: 1) the ClusterFinder™ program which guides the user through the extraction of all IROA peaks from raw mass spectral data, resulting in a massive data size reduction with complete data quality assurance; followed by 2) data interpretation through the IROA portal (the user may instead favor their own statistical tools).

Data Processing: ClusterFinder™. The ClusterFinder program was developed for accurate and automated IROA data analyses (targeted or untargeted, global analysis) by achieving a data reduction of complex raw data, to concise, high value information (Figure 3). This is achieved by: Characterizing all peaks according to source, either artifact, experimental (5% U-13C), or control (95% U-13C); Removing all artifacts; Aligning and pairing of all remaining peaks across all scans; Normalizing and identifying all pairs; Determining the relative 12C/13C ratios of analytes in each sample; and Calculating the statistical variance of the sample ratios. The user is guided by the program: 1) discovering all non-targeted IROA peaks, 2) providing a workbench for their curation, and 3) performing a targeted analysis of all accepted IROA peaks to obtain a non-sparse fully qualified dataset that may be interpreted by either the user’s favorite statistical analysis tools or the IROA portal.
Click on the thumbnail below to view a larger version of this image


Figure 3: ClusterFinder screenshot showing the curation workbench.

The ClusterFinder software supports both Basic, global IROA (where both groups of samples, experimental and control, are labeled), and Phenotypic, Targeted IROA (where it is not practical or possible to IROA-label the experimental sample, i.e., tissue biopsies). In the Phenotypic approach, again both control and experimental samples are pooled prior to analysis. ClusterFinder will find the 95% U-13C IROA-labeled peaks in the standard sample, and use these to identify their associated natural abundance peaks in the unlabeled experimental sample, allowing for a chemically complex targeted analysis.

Statistical Analysis: The IROA® Portal. The information extracted by ClusterFinder may be used in any statistical program; however we offer, free-of-charge, a data portal that will provide additional high quality data interpretation of the IROA data set. The resulting report not only summarizes all aspects of the experiment and its data, but also all likely interpretations based on the provided experimental design. The portal provides basic statistics (regressions, variances, etc.), Principal Component, Random Forest, Self-Organizing Maps, data factorizations, Volcano and other hybrid plots, Hierarchical Clustering, Correlation Analysis, metabolic mappings, enrichment, and a variety of Graph-based analyses. Finally, it presents summary plots of the distributions of all significant compounds.

Click on the thumbnail below to view a larger version of this image

IROA Portal screenshots
Figure 4: IROA Portal screenshots showing Random Forest derived relationships.

IROA Major Advantages
If you are interested in IROA or have any inquiries, please contact, or sign up to be kept up to date with all the latest IROA news.

Publications and Documentation

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



MetaboInterviews 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 Nicolas Schauer.

Nicolas Schauer

Founder & Managing Director of Metabolomic Discoveries GmbH, Potsdam, Germany
 Nicolas Schauer


Dr. Nicolas Schauer is founder and managing director of Metabolomic Discoveries GmbH, a comprehensive metabolomics service and biomarker research company based in Golm, Germany. He has a track-record of over ten years in metabolomics. He started his first metabolomics work in 2003 at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. He is author of many high-ranking and peer-reviewed articles, as well as book chapters. In 2009 he established the only independent metabolomics company in the world in order to provide his expertise to the market. The company has focused on multi-parallel high-resolution and accurate mass, untargeted metabolomics using state-of-the art mass spec technology. The established technology platform provides methods of global metabolomics, lipidomics, volatile profiling and fingerprinting. All of the metabolomics approaches, such as biomarker identification, fluxomics, and network modelling are used to study cellular processes, disease mechanisms and onset, as well as gene and metabolite functions in clinical studies and experimental research.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; NS, Nicolas Schauer)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

NS: I first got involved in metabolomics during my PhD at the
Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in 2003. I applied mainly primary metabolite profiling using GC-MS technology to identify metabolic changes in various types of samples ranging from plants, microorganisms to mammalian samples. During my PhD, I was heavily involved in metabolite library constructions, Golm Metabolome Database, and the development of TagFinder as a beta user.

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

NS: Metabolomics as such is exciting. For the first time, we have the possibility to look at almost all small molecules in a sample. This provides us with a snapshot of what is in fact happening in a cell or any other type of sample. I enjoy the many aspects of research I am involved in, from disease biomarker studies to microbial gene function analysis.

MN: What key metabolomics initiatives are you pursuing at your research centre or institute?

NS: We started Metabolomic Discoveries in 2009 and are the only independent metabolomic research provider worldwide. We have started some initiatives in our company. One is to expand metabolite coverage and annotation. Routinely using high-resolution, accurate mass technology helps us. The second is to measure as many species and sample types as possible. Here, we have initiated the 1000 Metabolome Program. A third initiative is to develop biomarkers in various fields.

MN: What is happening in your country in terms of metabolomics?

NS: Germany is one of the hotspots of metabolomics. We see metabolomics facilities expanding in many universities. Still the terminology and methods are quite different from each other, but the field is rapidly evolving.

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

NS: Many aspects of my metabolomics research and what we have done at Metabolomic Discoveries is already being applied. Whether it is QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) identification in tomatoes, improvement of microbial strains in bioprocesses, or biomarkers in human research. I see some benefits in those applications, but there will be more to come.

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

NS: The biggest strength of metabolomics, especially MS-based, is that we can measure hundreds to thousands of compounds in one sample in a nearly unbiased fashion. We do not need to know a priori what compounds we are going to look for, or even we do not need to know they exist. This is completely different compared to the transcriptomics approach.

MN: What do you see as the greatest barriers for metabolomics?

NS: The greatest barrier is the wealth of information and the large number of unknowns. We need to implement better ways of visualizing data and decrease the number of unknowns.

MN: What improvements, technological or otherwise, need to take place for metabolomics to really take off?

NS: We need to improve sample preparation and quality control. As metabolism changes dramatically based on sample collection and preparation, we need to put better and more reliable ways in place. We have started to work on this, but it will still take a while. Data analysis is another bottleneck. Although software has been greatly improved over the years, there are still bottlenecks and pitfalls.

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

NS: Metabolomic technology developments will increasingly be funded. On the other hand, I believe that funding of academic or national metabolomics centers will decrease as metabolomic services become a commodity just like sequencing or gene expression profiling. Thus, metabolomics will be provided by commercial laboratories, including all data analysis.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

NS: As said before, the methods and technologies differ between labs, even within the same country. This often starts even in one institution. Hence, metabolomic standards and ring trials can help to improve the quality of data provided.

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

NS: I strongly believe in metabolomics as being one of the most powerful tools in research and application. Especially when it comes to biomarker studies, metabolomics is probably the tool to find novel biomarkers. As the technology has just emerged, it is too early to conclude that its applications have so far not delivered robust markers.

Biomarker Beacon

Biomarker Beacon

Feature article contributed by Ian Forsythe, Editor, MetaboNews, Department 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 tools for the identification of biomarkers associated with multiple sclerosis and bipolar disorder, respectively.
  1. Reinke S, Broadhurst D, Sykes B, Baker G, Catz I, Warren K, Power C. Metabolomic profiling in multiple sclerosis: insights into biomarkers and pathogenesis. Mult Scler. 2014 Jan 27. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24468817]

Increasingly, researchers are relying on metabolomics to uncover sensitive disease biomarkers. In this paper, the investigators utilized metabolomic profiling to gain insight into multiple sclerosis (MS) biomarkers and pathogenesis. Using 800 MHz proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), they sought to identify metabolite markers that would allow them to differentiate between MS and non-MS patients. They analyzed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 15 MS patients and 17 non-MS patients. As a result of this study, they identified a number of statistically significant metabolites. While the research team found increased levels of choline, myo-inositol, and threonate in MS patients, it also found decreased levels of 3-hydroxybutyrate, citrate, phenylalanine, 2-hydroxyisovalerate, and mannose in the same patients. As this work demonstrates, these metabolites may prove to be useful as biomarkers for MS and shed light on MS pathogenesis.

  1. Xu XJ, Zheng P, Ren GP, Liu ML, Mu J, Guo J, Cao D, Liu Z, Meng HQ, Xie P. 2,4-Dihydroxypyrimidine is a potential urinary metabolite biomarker for diagnosing bipolar disorder. Mol Biosyst. 2014 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24457555]

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a debilitating and widespread mental disorder. There is a need for reliable biomarkers for the diagnosis of BD. In this study, the research team sought to use a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based metabonomic approach to differentiate between BD patients and healthy control subjects. Combined with multivariate statistical analysis, they identified 37 urine metabolites from the above two patient groups and were able to distinguish between the two groups. In particular, 2,4-dihydroxypyrimidine stood out as an effective biomarker for BD. This study has helped to advance the development of a urine-based diagnostic test for BD.

Metabolomics Current

Metabolomics Current Contents

Recently published papers in metabolomics:


1 Feb 2014

A metabolic biosignature of early response to anti-tuberculosis treatment

The successful treatment of tuberculosis (TB) requires long-term multidrug chemotherapy. Clinical trials to evaluate new drugs and regimens for TB treatment are protracted due to the slow clearance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection and the lack of early biomarkers to predict treatment outcome.

Advancements in the field of metabolomics make it possible to identify metabolic profiles that correlate with disease states or successful chemotherapy. However, proof-of-concept of this approach has not been provided for a TB-early treatment response biosignature (TB-ETRB).

Methods: Urine samples collected at baseline and during treatment from 48 Ugandan and 39 South African HIV-seronegative adults with pulmonary TB were divided into discovery and qualification sets, normalized to creatinine concentration, and analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify small molecule molecular features (MFs) in individual patient samples.

A biosignature that distinguished baseline and 1 month treatment samples was selected by pairwise t-test using data from two discovery sample sets. Hierarchical clustering and repeated measures analysis were applied to additional sample data to down select molecular features that behaved consistently between the two clinical sites and these were evaluated by logistic regression analysis.

Results: Analysis of discovery samples identified 45 MFs that significantly changed in abundance at one month of treatment.

Down selection using an extended set of discovery samples and qualification samples confirmed 23 MFs that consistently changed in abundance between baseline and 1, 2 and 6 months of therapy, with 12 MFs achieving statistical significance (p <0.05). Six MFs classified the baseline and 1 month samples with an error rate of 11.8%.

Conclusions: These results define a urine based TB-early treatment response biosignature (TB-ETRB) applicable to different parts of Africa, and provide proof-of-concept for further evaluation of this technology in monitoring clinical responses to TB therapy.

Publication: Sebabrata Mahapatra, Ann M Hess, John L Johnson, Kathleen D Eisenach, Mary A DeGroote, Phineas Gitta, Moses L Joloba, Gilla Kaplan, Gerhard Walzl, W Henry Boom, John T Belisle. A metabolic biosignature of early response to anti-tuberculosis treatment. BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:53, doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-53. [Link]
Source: 7thSpace Interactive

8 Jan 2014

Global Metabolomics Market Report 2013 - Forecasts to 2017

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Metabolomics Market Report 2013 - Forecasts to 2017" report to their offering.

Over the last decade, genomics and proteomics have been used as key tools to discover potential drug targets and to better understand the complexities of biology. To balance research in these areas, metabolomics, a new science is evolving for analyzing the basic metabolic changes taking place in a living organism. Metabolomics is thus an emerging concept which refers to the systematic study of the distinctive chemical fingerprints generated in a particular cellular process.

Metabolomics Market - Analysis of Global Technology, Application Trends and Landscape 2012-2017 report covers the market by disease indications along with the applications and metabolite profiling for biomarker discovery applications. In addition, it also includes the factors driving and restraining the market and covers the market scenario in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Rest of the World (ROW). This report will provide the company profiles of key companies along with the competitive analysis.

The Global Metabolomics market is showing a double digit growth (CAGR 35%) due to supportive factors such as, (i) increased willingness of biotechnology and pharma companies to adopt metabolomics concept to drive R&D activity within the industry, (ii) rapid growth of metabolomics data analysis softwares and solutions, and (iii) the advancement of analytical technologies. Metabolomics is used in the identification of new biomarkers, which indicate a change in the physiological state of a cell or tissue. Biomarker screening is important in the process of new drug discovery, and is also a key in vitro diagnostics tool. Additionally it is also being used for environmental toxicology screening. While, there are major concerns of this market such as the validation challenges, the positive aspects may very well offset the market restraints to aid the market grow at an exceptional rate.

The report also profiles leading participants of this industry with their recent developments and other strategic industry activities. These include: Metabolon Inc (U.S.), Metanomics (Germany), Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (U.S.), Human Metabolome Technologies (Japan), Beckman Coulter (U.S.), Agilent Technologies Inc (U.S.), Bruker Corporation (U.S.), Waters Corporation (U.S.), Biocrates Lifesciences (Austria), Chenomx Inc (Canada), Eisai co. ltd (Japan), Nextgen Metabolomics (U.S.), Phenomenome Discoveries Inc. (Canada) and Metabolomic Discoveries (Germany).

Source: PR Newswire
7 Jan 2014

SRI Wins $4.5M NHLBI Contract to Create Metabolomics Center

SRI International on Monday said that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded it a $4.5 million contract to establish a center aimed at improving metabolomics research.

Under the terms of the contract, SRI will create the Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center to prepare molecules for use by researchers. Metabolomics offers promise as a technology for detecting and monitoring disease progression, as well as response to therapeutics, SRI said, adding it can help stratify patients and identify new biomarkers and drug targets. But one bottleneck faced by researchers has been an inability to access metabolite standards needed to confirm and quantify their results.

"Currently, more than half of all human metabolites are unavailable, and many metabolites have never been synthesized, or their structures have only been speculated, and therefore these important molecules are not available to researchers," Mary Tanga, director of the Center for Chemical Biology in SRI Biosciences and principal investigator of SRI's Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center, said in a statement. "Researchers can pursue the answers to important questions if they actually have the compounds. The reference standards that SRI scientists will synthesize are critical to advances in metabolomics."

The new center will create a library of thousands of metabolites to be made available to the scientific community. Synthesized metabolites will serve as standards for research, help improve the understanding of disease processes, elucidate new disease biomarkers, and provide new methods to monitor therapeutic outcomes, SRI said.

Researchers can submit a request for compound synthesis to the Metabolomics Workbench. SRI will prepare the material upon NIH approval.

The NHLBI contract is part of a program developed by the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program, which seeks to increase metabolomics research capacity in the US by supporting infrastructure expansion, training, technology development, and reference standards synthesis.

Source: Genomeweb

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

Metabolomics Events

3-5 Feb 2014

PANIC: Practical Applications of NMR in Industry Conference
Venue: Hilton Charlotte University Place, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Mission Statement

Practical Applications of NMR in Industry Conference (PANIC) was initiated to provide an interactive forum for discussion of the latest developments in the use of NMR for practical applications to real problems faced by scientists in industry and research institutions. The emphasis is the practicality of the solution and “getting the job done”. The forum will provide a venue for presentation of practical applications, and workshops for discussion of real-world experiences relevant to current product development needs with an opportunity to share case studies to drive further development of NMR technology. Solution-state, solid-state, time-domain, and zero-field applications are all equally welcome at PANIC. The forum also will provide a venue for industrial, regulatory, government, and academic scientists to meet, network, and participate in exchanges of knowledge for mutual education in and advancement of the use of NMR techniques.

About This Conference

The PANIC meeting is intended to address topics that occur daily in industrial, government, and academic research laboratories whose primary task entails the application of NMR to a diverse set of analytical problems. Topics will include quantitation, molecular structure characterization, trace component and mixture analysis, and product support for a variety of materials that include small molecules, polymers, heterogeneous mixtures, natural products, biosimilars, polysaccharides, and proteins. The conference will provide in-depth discussions of the “nuts and bolts” of basic NMR experiments that accent the underlying best-practices developed to address these everyday problems. It also will explore the regulatory aspects of the applications of these experiments.

Greater insights will be provided into the less frequently explored techniques used in NMR such as quantitation, chemometrics, automation, relaxometry, and at/on line instrumentation. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss applications of NMR to polymers, petroleum, food, agriculture, and nutritional supplements that are rarely discussed at other NMR meetings. Ample opportunity will be given to Network with people who are experts in inventing NMR experiments to solve real world problems in a timely and efficient manner that is demanded by working in the venue of product delivery.

For more information, visit

3-7 Feb 2014

The Imperial International Phenome Training Centre is offering "Hands-on LC-MS for Metabolic Profiling"
Venue: The Imperial International Phenome Training Centre, Imperial College, London, UK

This week long course aims to cover how to perform a metabolic profiling experiment, from start to finish. It will cover study design, sample preparation, the use of mass spectrometry for global profiling and targeted methodologies and data analysis.

Day 1
Introductory lectures in mass spectrometry and chromatography, study design and sample preparation.

Days 2 & 3
Analysis of biofluids through global profiling and targeted analyses; one day spent on each of the newest QToF instrumentation and the newest TQ instrumentation. Instrument set up, method development and acquisition will be covered. As we have set a maximum of 4 attendees per instrument this allows for hands-on participation by all.

Day 4
Lectures in data analysis, followed by workshops where attendees will process the data acquired from the previous day, allowing for development of interpretation skills.

Day 5
Application lectures, tips, tricks and troubleshooting.

Download the full programme here: LCMS Metabolic Profiling Feb 2014

For more information, visit

2 March 2014

Introduction to Metabolomics course at the upcoming Pittcon conference
Venue: Chicago, USA

This course will provide an introduction to various global and targeted metabolomics approaches using liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The course will briefly cover practical and fundamental aspects of sample preparation, LC-MS analysis, experimental design, quality control, data processing, statistical interpretation including multivariate statistical analysis and metabolite identification strategies in the context of global metabolomics. Examples from various fields including biomedical, clinical, life sciences will be highlighted throughout the course. Strategies to enhance metabolite coverage and data quality for a given application will be discussed in detail. Practical examples and critical discussion will be incorporated throughout the course to deepen the participants’ understanding of the field of metabolomics and understand current advantages and limitations of various metabolomic approaches.

For further information, please visit the Pittcon website.

6 March 2014

MzTab for Metabolomics Workshop
Venue: Tübingen, Germany

On 6th of March 2014, COSMOS members together with the PSI community are holding the first “mzTab for metabolomics” workshop in Tübingen, Germany. Our aim is to drive reporting of metabolomic results further using a standardized, open, easy accessible and human readable tabular format. MzTab (version 1.0) already provides basic support for reporting small molecules that we plan to extend and harmonize with the more advanced reporting scheme for proteins and peptides available in MzTab.

General information:

This will be a joint MSI and PSI workshop to improve the representation of Metabolomics and Small-Molecule Identification and Quantification in mzTab. The workshop is another step towards coordination of standards between the proteomics and metabolomics communities and we would like to invite the interested individuals to join in our effort.

  • mzTab can be used for reporting both metabolite identification and metabolomics quantification. After extensive research and discussions within the consortium and members of the MSI and PSI community, we are convinced that mzTab is the medium of choice for capturing and reporting such metabolomics results.
  • To test and evaluate the standard, the mzTab development is accompanied by early implementations, e.g., in development versions of the OpenMS (, or separate export functions for XCMS and CAMERA ( software tools.
  • In addition, the MetaboLights metabolomics database ( accepts the quantification and identification of metabolites in a subset of mzTab, soon to be updated to the full compatible version, once the final discussions on the mzTab format for small molecules are completed.
For more information, visit

17-21 Mar 2014

EMBO Practical Course on Metabolomics Bioinformatics for Life Scientists
Venue: The European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, UK (See map: Google Maps)

Date: Monday, March 17, 2014 - Friday, March 21, 2014


Reza Salek, EMBL-EBI & Cambridge University, UK
Laura Emery, EMBL-EBI, UK

Registration Opens:
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Registration Deadline:
Friday, January 17, 2014 (12:00 midday GMT)
Acceptance Notification Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Participation: Open application with selection

This course will provide an overview of key issues that affect metabolomics studies, bioinformatics tools, and procedures for the analysis of metabolomics data. It will be delivered using a mixture of lectures, computer-based practical sessions and interactive discussions. The course will provide a platform for discussion of the key questions and challenges in the field of metabolomics.

This course is aimed at PhD students and researchers with a minimum of one year’ s experience in the field of metabolomics who are seeking to improve their skills in metabolomics data analysis. Participants must have experience using R (including a basic understanding of the syntax and ability to manipulate objects) and the UNIX/LINUX operating system.

For more information, visit

18-21 Mar 2014

5th International Singapore Lipid Symposium
Venue: National University of Singapore

Organizer: A/Prof. Markus R Wenk

The Singapore Lipid Symposium (biennial, since 2006) has rapidly evolved into a key event to keep up to date for novel developments in lipidomics in Asia Pacific. Based on past experience, we are expecting participation of approximately 150-200 from around the world and representation from a wide range of areas in the life sciences across academia and industry. The official launch of a new network dedicated to deciphering lipidomics variations will be a major first highlight, followed by community building workshops and the main symposium session.

For more details, please visit

7-11 Apr 2014

Leiden University: Workshop Metabolomics 2014
Basics and Applications to Plant Sciences
Venue: Leiden, The Netherlands

April 7 - 11, 2014, workshop
April 14 - 18, 2014, hands-on (optional)
April 21 - 25, 2014, wrapping up of workshop and hands on (optional)

Description and aim of the workshop
Metabolomics has become an important tool in life sciences, including studies of plant interaction with its environment and studies on the activity of medicinal plants. The workshop is organized by the Institute of Biology, Leiden University. The workshop is particularly aimed at researchers experienced with the isolation and identification of natural products but do not have experience yet with metabolomics.


  • Primary and Secondary Metabolism in Plants
  • Analytical Techniques: Chromatography, MS, NMR
  • Basics of Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Applications in Plant Sciences

    800 Euro for the workshop.
    Including handout, lunches (April 7-11), drinks and one workshop dinner
    (hotel accommodation is not included)

    200 Euro for the hands-on.
    Including supervision and use of the laboratory equipment
    (hotel accommodation is not included)

    25 Euro for the wrapping up.
    Including supervision
    (hotel accommodation is not included)

Maximum number of participants
(First come first served)
    For the workshop, April 7-11: 25 participants
    For the hands-on, April 14-18: 10 participants
    For wrapping up, April 21-25: 10 participants

Organized by Young Hae Choi, Jos Frantzen, and Rob Verpoorte
. For more information, email

Registration deadline
: 31 March 2014

The workshop flyer is available here. For more details, please visit

30 Apr 2014

Analytical Tools for Cutting-edge Metabolomics - a joint meeting of the Analytical Division of the RSC and the international Metabolomics Society
Venue: Chemistry Centre, Burlington House, London, UK (Google Map Location)

Date: 30 April 2014, 09:30-16:45

Analytical chemistry has been one of the driving forces behind the development of metabolomics research over the past decade. The conference will bring together exceptional scientists for a program consisting of plenary and invited talks, posters, as well as an oral session devoted to early career researchers. It will be an excellent opportunity for analytical chemists to learn more about metabolomics and its application, and for metabolomics scientists to improve their knowledge of cutting-edge bioanalytical tools.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 14 March 2014

Speaker Information:
Prof. Jeremy Nicholson, Imperial College, London UK - Plenary speaker
Dr Julian Griffin, MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, UK
Prof. Roy Goodacre, University of Manchester, UK
Prof. Jean-Luc Wolfender, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Dr Steffen Neumann, Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, IPB Halle, Germany
Prof Paul Thomas, Loughborough University
For more details, please visit the event website.

19-21 May 2014

8e Journées Scientifiques du Réseau Français de Métabolomique et Fluxomique (RFMF)
Venue: Lyon, France

The French Metabolomics and Fluxomics Network (RFMF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of metabolomics and fluxomics, and the promotion of the presentation of research achievements in these domains, in France. Since 2005, RFMF has organized a total of 7 congresses in France (Toulouse 2005, Saint Sauves d’Auvergne 2006, Bordeaux 2008, Marseilles 2010, Paris 2011, Nantes 2012 and Amiens 2013). The number of laboratories and attendees has grown steadily over the years. In October 2013, the RFMF and the international Metabolomics Society form an international affiliation.

The Amiens RFMF Congress (7 JS RFMF) took place in 2013 due to the generous support of Picardie Jules Verne University and various corporations. This event featured three keynote speakers, Age Smilde, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Joachim Kopka, Golm-Postdam, Germany and Reza Salek, Cambridge, UK presenting state-of-the-art topics for metabolomics. This event was very successful, with 162 attendees from 75 public and private laboratories, 59 high-quality scientific presentations, 4 workshops and 6 industrial seminars. Four conferences, one workshop and one industrial seminar were held in English. The 2013 event gave an opportunity to gauge the strength and dynamic qualities of the French or French-speaking metabolomics and fluxomics community.

The 8th RFMF Congress will take place in Lyon (Eastern France) in May 19-21, 2014. The Metabolomic Community of the Lyon and Rhône-Alpes Region laboratories is the local organizer of the 2014 edition.

The key topics, chosen by Lyon metabolomics community, for the 8th RFMF Congress are:
  • Applications of Metabolomics and Fluxomics in the areas of the Health (clinical applications, epidemiology, cohort study, neurosciences)
  • Applications of Metabolomics and Fluxomics in the areas of Environment and Chemical ecology
The event will include invited plenary lectures, oral presentations, short presentations, and a poster session. The conference languages are French and English. Most of the abstracts and slide presentations will be written in English. Confirmed invited speakers include Miroslava Cuperlovic-Culf, from Moncton, Canada, Emmanuel Gacquerel, from Jena, Germany, Thomas Illig, from Hannover, Germany and Mark Viant, from Birmingham, UK.

The 8th RFMF Congress will include several workshops, one of them dealing with the Galaxy platform (workflow for metabolomics), one dealing with “Sample preparation for metabolomics study”, and a third one with “MetaboLights and COSMOS initiative”.

RFMF is generously supporting the attendance of students or post-docs (under 35 years old) at The 8th RFMF Congress Lyon 2014 through the provision of travel grants (up to €1000 for overseas applicants).

For more information on the 8th RFMF Congress, please visit
16-17 Jun 2014

Informatics and Statistics for Metabolomics (2014)
Venue: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Course Objectives
A poster announcing this workshop can be found here.

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

23-26 Jun 2014

Metabolomics 2014: 10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
The Official Joint Conference of the Metabolomics Society and Plant Metabolomics Platform
The Official Annual Meeting of the Metabolomics Society
Venue: Tsuruoka, Japan

Health, medical, pharmaceutical, nutritional, agricultural, microbial, bioenergy, environmental and plant sciences meet biochemical, analytical and computational technologies.

We are delighted to host the 10th Anniversary of the International Conference of the Metabolomics Society (Metabolomics2014) at Keio University in Tsuruoka City, where the very first meeting of the society was held in 2005. Since then, Tsuruoka has grown to “a city of metabolomics”; various additional research buildings have been built, and two spin-out companies established. Tsuruoka is a pretty city located 500 km north of Tokyo (about 1 hour flight), and surrounded by beautiful Japanese nature, historic spots, and exotic culture. You will also enjoy the best authentic Japanese food and sake (rice wine), as well as hot springs. So, come celebrate the 10th anniversary of the society, and enjoy high-quality scientific presentations by top-notch researchers around the world.

Early registration and abstract submission due March 31, 2014.

For detailed information about Metabolomics 2014, visit

10-12 Sep 2014

Metabomeeting 2014
Venue: The Royal Institution, London, UK

SELECTBIO are delighted to announce that we are partnering with the Metabolic Profiling Forum (MPF) to host Metabomeeting 2014. The MPF will focus on the conference program while SELECTBIO will take care of logistics, promotion and exhibition/sponsorship activities.We are expecting up to 300 attendees offering a unique opportunity to network with key researchers who are making innovative discoveries within this field.

Call for Papers
If you would like to be considered for an oral presentation at this meeting, Submit an abstract for review now!
Oral Presentation Submission Deadline: 31 January 2014

Call for Posters
You can also present your research on a poster while attending the meeting. Submit an abstract for consideration now!
Poster Submission Deadline: 27 August 2014

Agenda Topics
Applied Metabolomics
Drug Discovery and Pharma
Human Disease
Human Health and Nutrition
Microbial, Invertebrate and Environmental Applications
Data Analysis and Integration with Systems Biology
Metabolite Identification

For more details, please visit the conference website.

29-30 Oct 2014

Clinical Applications of Mass Spectrometry
Venue: Barcelona, Spain

With the ability to measure multiple analytes with high sensitivity, often faster and more cheaply than other methods, mass spectrometry is becoming an attractive method of analysis for the clinic. Featuring an array of leading researchers and clinicians, SELECTBIO’s Clinical Applications of Mass Spectrometry conference aims to provide you with an insight into the latest developments in this area.

As the analytical power of mass spec is realised, the range of applications using this technology continues to expand. Focus at this meeting will be given to both traditional & emerging uses of MS in the clinic. Hot topics to be covered include developments of MS in applications ranging from vitamin D detection to newborn blood spot analysis. Attending this event will provide you with excellent opportunities for networking with like minded peers, helping you to build new relationships and optimise your workflow.

Running alongside the conference will be an exhibition covering the latest technological advances and associated services from leading solution providers within this field. Registered delegates will also have access to the co-located Food Analysis Congress, ensuring a cost effective trip.

Keynote Speakers:
  • Donald Hunt, Professor, University of Virginia
  • Haroun Shah, Head, Molecular Identification Services, Department for Bioanalysis and Horizon Technologies, Public Health England

For more details, please visit

29-30 Oct 2014

Food Analysis Congress
Safety, Quality, Novel Technologies
Venue: Barcelona, Spain

SELECTBIO’s inaugural Food Analysis Congress aims to present the latest developments in food analysis technologies, in response to the increasing demand for rapid and efficient food safety and quality testing.

Focus will be given to advances in both the analysis of natural food allergens and toxins, as well as contaminants introduced through processing and packaging. Points for discussion will also include the ongoing issue of food traceability and efforts to reduce food fraud. Attending this event will provide you with excellent opportunities for networking with like minded peers, helping you to find solutions and build collaborations.

Running alongside the conference will be an exhibition covering the latest technological advances and associated services from leading solution providers within this field. Registered delegates will also have access to the co-located Clinical Applications of Mass Spectrometry track, ensuring a cost effective trip.

For more details, please visit

28 Jun to 2 Jul 2015

Metabolomics 2015: 11th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
The Official Annual Meeting of the Metabolomics Society
Venue: San Francisco, USA

Details to follow.

Stay abreast of the latest Metabolomics Society news via the Twitter feed on the front page of the website ( Also you can follow us on Twitter: Metabolomics Society @MetabolomicsSoc and Metabolomics journal @Metabolomics. And you can visit us on Facebook.

Please come back later for detailed information about Metabolomics 2015 by visiting

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

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 Scientist in Bioinformatics of Metabolomics National Institute for Medical Research London, UK 21-Jan-2014 12-Feb-2014
National Institute for Medical Research
Project Leader Metabolomics Metabolomic Discoveries GmbH
Potsdam, Germany
Metabolomics Society
Research Scientist (NMR Spectroscopist to support Business Development group) Bruker BioSpin Billerica, USA
Bruker BioSpin
Assistant Research Scientist (NMR Spectroscopist to support R&D efforts for Business Development group) Bruker BioSpin Billerica, USA 2-Dec-2013
Bruker BioSpin

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.
  • Jobs Wanted in Germany: [Candidate's CV]
  • Research or Lab Manager Position Sought (Candidate has extensive NMR metabolomics experience and knowledge including NMR instrumentation maintenance): [Candidate's CV]

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