Published in partnership between
TMIC and the Metabolomics Society

Issue 35 - July 2014


Online version of this newsletter:

Welcome to the thirty-fifth 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 an NMR Spotlight article on Quantification Differences when Comparing Different NMR Probes and Parameters, and a metabolomics interview with Tim Bölke, Managing Director of Metanomics Health GmbH.

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

Metanomics Health
Chenomx --
                                Metabolite Discovery & Measurement
Metanomics Health GmbH

Chenomx Inc.

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Metabolomics Society News

Invitation to bid to host the Metabolomics Society 11th Annual International Conference in Europe in summer 2016
The Metabolomics Society was established to stimulate collaboration and association amongst scientists in academia, government and industry, and to provide a venue for the dissemination of metabolomics research. A key mechanism for facilitating this is the Society’s Annual International Conference, which is now in its tenth year ( We invite interested parties to bid to host the 2016 conference which, based on its Greater Asia – North America – European rotation, will be held in Europe in June. Details of the Society’s requirements for the conference and the bidding process can be obtained from Sherie Howell ( The deadline for bids is August 1, 2014. We look forward to receiving your bid!
Tim Ebbels (Chair, Conferences and Training Committee) & Mark Viant (President)

New Members-only benefit: Are you organizing a metabolomics event?
The Metabolomics Society can provide small grants to support events that promote metabolomics. The funding may be used to provide student prizes, travel awards or catering for small events such as symposia, workshops, seminars and short-courses. The society may also sponsor larger conferences where there is strategic opportunity to promote metabolomics science within other scientific disciplines. For more information, or to apply for funding, see:

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 academia, government, or industry. The network aims to provide a forum for metabolomics researchers at the start of their professional career.

10th Annual Conference of the Metabolomics Society, Tsuruoka, Japan
In the last week of June 2014, the Metabolomics Society celebrated its 10th anniversary during its annual conference in Tsuruoka, Japan, the same city where the first Metabolomics Society conference took place back in 2005. At the same time it was a first birthday for the EMN to actively participate in the conference program by hosting a two-session workshop tailored to the needs of early-career Society members. During our first workshop, “Scientific writing and grant writing: how to get published and funded in metabolomics” three speakers represented different perspectives for our early career members. “The editor” (Roy Goodacre, Editor in Chief of Metabolomics) gave very valuable advice on how to get published. “The funding agency” (Krista Zanetti, NIH) helped with an insight into the funding mechanisms provided by the NIH, whereas the “grant hunter” (Eiichiro Fukusaki) illustrated how to get this funding, including a special emphasis on the Japanese funding system, suited to the audience, mostly consisting of local early-career members. In a second afternoon session a hot topic of metabolomics research, “the identification of unknown metabolites” was covered. While two top researchers and pioneers in this field, Oliver Fiehn and Dave Watson, reported on different strategies on how to tackle this important problem, our very own early-career member Ralf Weber illustrated the importance of metabolic databases for the field. We hope that many of you attended our workshops and we would like to thank the organizers and the Metabolomics Society for giving us this great opportunity. If you couldn’t make it to our workshop this year, don’t worry; we will have the recorded presentations available for Metabolomics Society members in the near future.

In addition to our own workshop session, overall, this year’s meeting was again a great success with a fantastic program, top speakers covering almost all areas of metabolomics research, and an outstanding social program. We hope that all of you enjoyed this year’s conference as much as we did and look forward to meeting many of you again next year in San Francisco.

Are you an early-career researcher and involved in metabolomics? Do you have an idea how to serve the early-career members even better? Did you attend our workshop and want to give us feedback or comments? Then send us an e-mail to or, even better, become an EMN committee member yourself.

Announcement of Opportunity: Applications sought from three additional early-career scientists to expand the EMN and achieve a more balanced geographical distribution

31st August 2014
As introduced during the Metabolomics Society Annual Conference in Tsuruoka, Japan, in June 2014, we are inviting three early career researchers to join the nine early-career committee members in the Society's new Early-career Members Network (EMN). The mission of the EMN is to recognize the value and importance of our early-career members, to ensure that their views are heard and acted upon, ultimately improving their experience in metabolomics science and our community. We are looking for creative thinkers to address challenges, such as, how do we aid early-career scientists to enter and engage with our scientific community? What mechanisms can we construct to allow student contributions (talks and posters) to be openly discussed in a safe environment, where senior scientists can teach and advise, and where no question is too basic? What activities and benefits can we develop to encourage students and postdocs to want to join (and remain members of) the Metabolomics Society even in years when they do not attend the annual conference? What training courses are required? How else can the Society serve its early-career members?
Existing members of the EMN committee
Sastia Putri (Osaka University, Japan), David Liesenfeld (German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg, Germany), Thomas Payne (Imperial College London, UK), Ralf Weber (University of Birmingham, UK), Nicholas Rattray (University of Manchester, UK), Evangelia Daskalaki (University of Strathclyde, UK), Gabriel Valbuena (Imperial College London, UK), Justin van der Hooft (Glasgow Polyomics, UK), and Vincent Asiago (DuPont Pioneer, USA)
We welcome applications from students conducting higher degrees (Masters, PhDs) in a metabolomics discipline, or from those within 5 years of their PhD who are actively engaged in metabolomics science. As an international society we encourage applications from all continents. Successful applicants must be members of the Metabolomics Society
(or immediately become members upon joining the task group).

Time commitment
There is much exciting work to be done and much to achieve! Therefore we anticipate a contribution of up to two hours per week (on average). If the Early-career Members Network organises sessions at conferences or other events, time commitments will increase accordingly. Note also that the existing members of the EMN committee members span many time zones, so some conference calls may occur early or late in the day. No dedicated travel will be required for the EMN committee discussions. The appointment to the EMN committee is for one year initially, and may be extended up to three years. It is your responsibility to discuss this commitment with your supervisor(s) prior to applying.
Application procedure
Please send the following, in one document (.docx or .pdf), to the EMN committee (
1. One-page resume with relevant experience in developing and leading networking activities (e.g., student rep for other societies) plus your research experience in metabolomics (e.g., presentations, publications, etc.)
2. Up to 300 words on why you fit the role and up to an additional 300 words (one page in total) on what ideas you are passionate about developing as part of the Early-career Members Network.
Applications will then be reviewed by members of the Metabolomics Society’s Strategy Task Group and the existing EMN committee members and successful candidates informed in September 2014.

Voting for Directors of the Metabolomics Society
During June to August of this year the Metabolomics Society will undertake the annual process of nominating and electing several members to serve on the Society’s Board of Directors. We strongly encourage all Society members to play a role in the elections. This is a reminder to all current members to watch out for an email in July about how to vote.

Status of Data Standards
A Metabolomics Data Interoperability Interest Group ( has been formed as part of the Research Data Alliance (RDA, The RDA is dedicated to enabling open data sharing in science and is supported by, for example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA and the European Commission.

The Metabolomics Data Interoperability Interest Group (IG) in the RDA aims to provide a forum to discuss all aspects of metabolomics data management and harmonisation. The initial membership of the Metabolomics Data Interoperability IG is drawn from the leaders of several internationally recognised research programmes that are developing metabolomics databases and from the international Metabolomics Society’s Board of Directors. It encourages a broad group of researchers, technologists, and curators to join as members to address issues of data interoperability and sharing in metabolomics. Currently, the interest group is chaired by Christoph Steinbeck, whose team develops the MetaboLights database at EMBL-EBI in Hinxton, as well as Shankar Subramaniam, leader of the Metabolomics workbench project in the US.

In particular, this IG will address interoperability of databases and the coordination of standards. In addition, there are obvious synergies with other existing technical and domain specific Interest Groups and Working Groups in the Research Data Alliance, including (but not limited to) the Big Data Analytics IG, Data Foundation and Terminology Working Group, or the Toxicogenomics IG.

News from the International Affiliates of the Metabolomics Society
Watch this space, this summer a new section will appear here and include some updates from our International Affiliates from across the globe.

Metabolomics journal, Vol. 10, Issue 3, June 2014
See the latest issue of our journal at:

In addition to the many excellent research papers, this issue contains the following contributions on the Metabolomics Society pages:
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

NMR Spotlight

Metabolite NMR Signals Show Quantification Differences When Comparing Different NMR Probes and Parameters

Paige Lacy,1 Ryan T. McKay,2 Michael Finkel,3 Alla Karnovsky,4 Scott Woehler,5 Michael J. Lewis,6 David Chang,6 and Kathleen A. Stringer3,4

1Pulmonary Research Group, Department of Medicine and 2Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 3Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, 4Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, School of Medicine, 5Department of Medicinal Chemistry and the Biochemical Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; and 6Chenomx, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Metabolomic measurement of human samples is fast becoming a priority for development of novel diagnostic biomarkers of disease. Many metabolomic centres are becoming established around the world to quantify metabolites in human samples using NMR- and mass spectrometry-based approaches, and substantial funding for these is being provided by the NIH and other major granting agencies.

Human urine samples are a prime choice for metabolomic analysis because of their ease of collection and analysis. NMR-based metabolomics is one of the best approaches for the analysis of complex biological samples such as urine, as very little sample preparation is required, and it provides remarkably robust biomarker candidates for many diseases. The reproducibility and validity of NMR measurements has not been compared across different sites for a given sample population. We discovered that serious issues arose that complicated interpretation of metabolomic data, even when identical samples were analyzed.

This startling observation arose from a collaboration with Drs. Kathleen Stringer and Alla Karnovsky at the University of Michigan to determine the reproducibility of NMR measurements of split human urine samples at two different sites. Technical replicates of urine samples were assayed by 1D-1H-NMR at both the University of Alberta and the University of Michigan. Urine samples were obtained from healthy volunteers at the University of Michigan under a standard operating procedure for collection and processing.

Our initial goal was to verify that comparable data could be acquired at more than one NMR facility. Not surprisingly, we obtained comparable quantifications for many molecules within samples, since these derived from exactly the same sample. But what we quickly observed was that, by using even slightly different NMR parameters on the two instruments, we obtained significantly different concentrations for some metabolites within the same sample. Subsequent analysis using standard statistical techniques revealed that quantitative data across sites can be achieved, but (disturbingly) unrecognized NMR parameter differences had some dramatic and widely perturbing effects on the results. One particular parameter showing marked differences was the use of 3 mm vs. 5 mm probes, which showed varying degrees of solvent suppression (see Figures 1 and 2). While 5 mm probes at both sites showed similar spectral results, the 3 mm probes consistently showed marked solvent suppression, with peaks sometimes disappearing near the water peak. This has an obvious impact on the identification and quantification of urinary metabolites.

Comparison of 1H-NMR spectra of human urine samples using
        identical parameters settings without calibration

Figure 1. Comparison of 1H-NMR spectra of human urine samples using identical parameters settings without calibration. NMR spectra collected from the same human urine sample using a 5 mm probe (A) and a 3 mm probe (B). Note the appearance of a peak in (A) which disappears in (B) (arrow in red dashed box). (Figure from Lacy P et al., Signal intensities derived from different NMR probes and parameters contribute to variations in quantification of metabolites, PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e85732. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085732. eCollection 2014.)

Comparison of
        1H-NMR-measured metabolites in human urine samples using 3 and 5
        mm probes
Figure 2. Comparison of 1H-NMR-measured metabolites in human urine samples using 3 and 5 mm probes. This radial plot shows the variation in levels of metabolites using 3 and 5 mm probes at the Universities of Alberta and Michigan. The greatest variations occur when comparing the 3 mm probe data with that of 5 mm data. (Figure from Lacy P et al., Signal intensities derived from different NMR probes and parameters contribute to variations in quantification of metabolites, PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e85732. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085732. eCollection 2014.)

The implications of this observation are significant and problematic, as cross-center validation metabolomics studies are essential for the reliable application of metabolomics to biomarker discovery and clinical applications. This poses similar issues for single site studies using a single spectrometer for all data acquisition. It was realized that not only do NMR parameters have to be maintained, but also that the subsequent performance of the instrumentation must be consistent over time, or has to be regularly calibrated, which is not consistently done in our experience.

We presented in our paper (Lacy et al. (2014) PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085732, published January 21, 2014) a confirmed validation of NMR analysis at two sites, and report the range and magnitude that common NMR parameters involved in solvent suppression had on quantitated metabolomics data. A specific example was that saturation power levels greatly influenced peak height intensities in a frequency-dependent manner for a number of metabolites, which markedly impacted the quantification of metabolites. This is to say that metabolite concentrations were increasingly inaccurate closer to the solvent signal.

Collectively, these findings highlighted the importance of and need for exceedingly consistent use of precisely calibrated NMR parameter settings within and across centers in order to generate reliable, reproducible quantified NMR metabolomics data. For any studies associated with NMR analysis of urine samples, a calibration profile should be established using standardized samples to determine the envelope of saturation effect using the probe and spectrometer for the individual studies.

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 Tim Bölke.

Tim Bölke

Managing Director of Metanomics Health GmbH, a BASF group company headquartered in Berlin, Germany

 Tim Bölke


Tim Bölke (MD) graduated as a medical doctor from the Free University of Berlin. In parallel to finishing his thesis in endocrinology he joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1988, where he held various functions in clinical development, global marketing, regional commercial management, corporate licensing, and local/regional general management at Boehringer Mannheim/Roche, Knoll/Abbott and Boots. In 2003 he joined BASF and became head of Global Marketing Pharma Solutions within the Care Chemicals Division. Since 2009 Dr. Bölke has served as Managing Director of Metanomics Health GmbH, a BASF group company headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company has access to the globally largest technical platform for mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Company mission is to identify and validate biomarkers for its pharma and nutrition customers, thereby enabling the development of new, personalized medicines and targeted nutrition products. Furthermore, Metanomics Health is conducting its proprietary prospective diagnostic biomarker program with leading clinics and academic groups worldwide.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; TB, Tim Bölke)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

TB: In 2009 I was offered the opportunity to take over the management of Metanomics Health, a BASF group company. Metanomics Health is pioneering in the field of metabolomics-based clinical biomarker discovery and validation to develop breakthrough solutions for patients. Before that I had spent more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry experiencing a great variety of roles. When I was responsible for the global pharmaceutical cardiovascular franchise at Boehringer Mannheim (now part of Roche) in the mid-nineties, I managed the interaction between the pharmaceutical and the diagnostic divisions in an effort to develop disease-focused solutions for patients, well before the term “personalized medicine” was coined. My cross-functional team was very successful in launching a new double-bolus thrombolytic together with the Troponin T test and thereby—in retrospect—revolutionizing the management of acute myocardial infarction. These steps paved the way to become managing director of Metanomics Health.

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

TB: Metabolomics, or metabolite profiling, is an exciting technology offering a direct and holistic view on the phenotype and physiology of any biological system. Whether it is in our clinical biomarker program with academic partners or in service collaborations with commercial clients, it is fascinating to see, how we, as Metanomics Health, can provide new information and know-how based on our untargeted MxP® Broad Profiling platform combined with the suite of MxP®-targeted platforms. These insights allow evidence-based decisions and/or the creation of new hypotheses along the breadth of applications and possibilities from initial preclinical work and early drug safety prediction to clinical development and bioprocessing optimization.

Our other metabolomics application is the identification of disease biomarkers and it is really fascinating to see how reproducibly we can identify and validate specific biomarkers for even complex diseases in the metabolome.

To get there it requires a unique combination of stringent process controls along the entire workflow coupled with scientific excellence from different disciplines. Therefore, what excites me in my day-to-day work at Metanomics Health is the intensity and quality teamwork between a very diverse team of scientific experts from analytics, biostatistics, and data interpretation in order to provide our partners with robust and highly reproducible results and solutions for their biomedical challenges.

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

TB: Being part of the global BASF science and innovation network with solid and long-term commitments, Metanomics Health is able to pursue several exciting research and development activities in parallel, all with the ultimate goal of establishing metabolomics as a widely recognized standard technology in the healthcare sciences. Firstly, our translational clinical biomarker program focuses on the identification and validation of new diagnostic biomarkers in indications and use cases of high medical need including metabolic syndrome, congestive heart failure, and several cancer types. With our partners we are engaged in groundbreaking work in the area of cancer cell line profiling, characterizing the specific metabolic perturbations in different cancer cell lines and using this knowledge to identify new drug targets. A second area is in vitro and in vivo toxicology, where we are establishing new standards for early drug safety testing while reducing the need for animal experiments.

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

TB: Metanomics Health is based in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Our German metabolomics science community is very active both in industry and academia and has a longstanding heritage. In fact, Metanomics Health as well as its sister company Metanomics are the result of close cooperation between these two sectors: Metanomics Health was founded in 2003 as a joint venture between the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology—led by Prof. Lothar Willmitzer—and BASF. Multiple, small, start-up companies have been founded since then. Several universities and Helmholtz or Max Planck Institutes have built up specific expertise in specialty areas, applications ranging from plant biotechnology to healthcare sciences.

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

Metanomics Health is now starting to harvest the fruits from our clinical biomarker program, which we started back in 2007. Metabolomics is very powerful for identifying biomarkers for even complex diseases, such as congestive heart failure, and we see no principal limitation for this approach to other indications. However, once we have established a new, fully-validated clinical biomarker, the challenge is to make it available to patients also in remote areas of the globe at any point in time, fit-for-purpose. The challenge is therefore to translate metabolomics-based biomarker results into routine diagnostic technologies. Our current work with partners on diagnostic prototypes is showing us, that we are capable of achieving this essential technology translation.

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

TB: One of the great strengths of metabolomics is its proximity to physiology, helping us to understand biological effects within biological systems at the molecular level. When applied in combination with other omics technologies, metabolomics is our key information for a more cognitive understanding of systems biology. Our experience shows that the functional information associated with metabolites makes metabolomics particularly useful to identify the next generation of disease biomarkers. Furthermore, since the metabolome is highly conserved between different species, metabolomics-based results are translatable, e.g., from early pharmacology to the clinical patient setting along the pharmaceutical R&D value chain.

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

TB: The current lack of standardization of metabolomics approaches and processes between different labs is a hurdle towards becoming a recognized routine technology in industrial healthcare applications. The non-existence of standardization has partly led to the unbalanced perception that metabolomics is lacking robustness and reproducibility. As a result it is still in a niche position as a reserve technology to be applied when everything else has already failed. Therefore ring trials will be a valuable instrument to increase the overall level of standards and quality management in academia and industry. For this reason Metanomics Health is supporting the Ring Trials Initiative as currently being explored with Professor O. Fiehn from UC Davis and the other five NIH metabolomics centres.

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

Technical evolution of equipment, e.g., in terms of sensitivity, will proceed and will be exploited to make metabolomics more affordable to a larger customer group. However, unlike, for example, next generation sequencing, it will not be ground breaking for a major technology take-off in the near term.

Even more important is the implementation of standards across labs in academia and industry, in order to make results more comparable and extract more value for larger communities from generated data sets. This will help shift perception from a cost-intensive ‘exotic’ approach to a cost-effective, decision-enabling technology.

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

TB: Metabolomics is a complex technology requiring a unique combination of excellence in equipment, workflow processes, quality management, and scientific skill sets. The more we at Metanomics Health, other service providers, and academic research labs invest in standardization, robustness, reproducibility, and show unanimous proof of value across different applications, the easier it will be to get access to grants and industrial funding for the technology. The NIH program with funds in the range of approximately 50 million USD over the next five years is indicative of the fact that governmental agencies and authorities are also recognizing the need for standardization to lift metabolomics to the next level.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

TB: The lack of standardization between different labs is a major hindrance for wider acceptance of metabolomics in the academic and—even more so—industrial community. Developing common standards therefore is very important.

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

TB: Being the managing director of Metanomics Health for five years now, I am fully convinced that metabolomics is a fascinating future technology with a wealth of value-generating applications. Let us jointly work on establishing it as a widely accepted standard technology in the healthcare sciences.

Biomarker Beacon

Biomarker Beacon

This section of MetaboNews is supported by:

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 acute lymphoblastic leukemia and autoimmune hepatitis, respectively.
  1. Bai Y, Zhang H, Sun X, Sun C, Ren L. Biomarker identification and pathway analysis by serum metabolomics of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Clin Chim Acta. 2014 Jun 5;436C:207-216. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2014.05.022. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24909874]

    In this paper, the investigators used a metabolomics approach to identify biomarkers for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a disease that most commonly affects children. Using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-qTOF-MS) and multivariate statistical analysis, they identified thirty metabolites in serum (17 in positive mode and 13 in negative mode) that were differentially expressed in patients with ALL compared with healthy subjects. The researchers also performed Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and discovered that the glycerophospholipid metabolism pathway was perturbed in patients with ALL. This study demonstrates the potential for a UPLC-qTOF-MS-based metabolomics approach to diagnosis of patients with ALL.
  1. Wang JB, Pu SB, Sun Y, Li ZF, Niu M, Yan XZ, Zhao YL, Wang LF, Qin XM, Ma ZJ, Zhang YM, Li BS, Luo SQ, Gong M, Sun YQ, Zou ZS, Xiao XH. Metabolomic Profiling of Autoimmune Hepatitis: the Diagnostic Utility of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. J Proteome Res. 2014 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24940827]

It is difficult to distinguish autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) from other liver diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), PBC/AIH overlap syndrome (OS), and drug-induced liver injury (DILI). The researchers sought to identify plasma biomarkers that would allow them to differentiate AIH patients from the following patient cohorts: PBC, OS, DILI, and healthy controls. In this study, the researchers analyzed plasma samples from the above patient groups using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). They identified five metabolites (pyruvate, lactate, acetate, acetoacetate, and glucose) that they found at higher concentrations in the AIH patients compared to healthy controls and the other liver disease patients. The NMR-based plasma metabolite profiling platform described in this paper may prove to be an effective approach to the diagnosis of AIH.

Metabolomics Current

Metabolomics Current Contents

This section of MetaboNews is supported by:

Recently published papers in metabolomics:

Metabolomics Events

Metabolomics Events

10-15 Aug 2014

FASEB: Nutrient Sensing and Metabolic Signaling
Venue: Big Sky, Montana, USA

Since 1982, FASEB has worked hand-in-hand with scientists to organize conferences for experimental biologists. The SRC series are designed to be held in unique destinations specialized in hosting small groups of professionals, who meet closely and without distractions to explore new approaches to research areas undergoing rapid scientific change.

Event flyer:
Event agenda:

For more information, please visit

8-10 Sep 2014

Mayo Clinic Metabolomics Symposium
Venue: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Mayo Clinic is a leader in the emerging field of metabolomics — the systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind. This symposium will present translational science investigators, KL2 and other K-award scholars, and research fellows new to the metabolomics field an opportunity to explore the latest information on metabolomics and network with colleagues and world-recognized experts in the field. The symposium will explore:
  • Methods for incorporating metabolomics into research
  • New information and data from Mayo Clinic's Metabolomics Resource Core through lectures by Mayo Clinic and visiting faculty
  • Education on emerging metabolomics methodologies and their application in basic and translational research
  • Data on the use of metabolomic tools and biomarkers in clinical research
Discussion topics

Specific topics for discussion will include:
  • Tissue ceramides
  • Amino acid and metabolites
  • Citric acid flux
  • Muscle mitochondrial functional measurements
  • Systems biology
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Mass spectrometry-based large-scale metabolomics profiles
  • Mayo Clinic's Metabolomics Mass Spectrometry Core and Metabolomics Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Core facilities (optional tour)
Event flyer: Clinic Metabolomics Symposium.pdf

For more details, please 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.

14-18 Sep 2014

International Chemometrics Research Meeting ICRM 2014
Venue: The Golden Tulip Valmonte Hotel, Berg en Dal near Nijmegen, The Netherlands

The ICRM conference is held once every three/four years and is organized by the Dutch Chemometrics Society (DCS), a working group of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society. The aim of this conference is to bring together people from a wide range of industry, research and academic backgrounds to share and discuss recent developments in the field of chemometrics. Chemometrics is the discipline concerned with the extraction of information from analytical chemical data. It has numerous successful applications in an extremely wide range of industries, for example in chemical and pharmaceutical research and production. The conference focuses on presentations by prominent speakers from around the globe, who will be invited to share their knowledge both during lectures on a wide range of topics from the field of chemometrics, as well as during the extensive, succeeding discussions. Confirmed keynote lecturers of the conference currently are Alan Gelfand, John H. Kalivas, Olav M. Kvalheim, Iven van Mechelen, Mia Hubert, Dennis R. Helsel and Neil B. Gallagher.

At this ICRM 2014 conference also time has been reserved for contributed lectures. We invite you to submit abstracts for oral contributions, as well as for the two poster sessions. Abstracts can be submitted through the conference website at Submission deadline is May 1st 2014. Note that only submissions from registered attendees are taken into the review process.

Email contact:

For more details, please visit

15-20 Sep 2014

1st International Summer School “Data Acquisition and Analysis in Metabolomics” in Sardinia
Venue: Pula, Sardinia, Italy

Course Objectives
The Summer School will offer students theoretical sessions with lectures by experts, and hands-on in the laboratory aimed to deepen the theoretical and practical knowledge for using the main tools (NMR, MS) techniques and computer analysis in the metabolomic and statistical fields. Particular attention will be given on how to manage a laboratory using a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) as well as data standardization and publication.

  • Mass Spectrometer and Metabolomics
  • NMR and Metabolomics
  • Chemometric analysis
  • Visualization and analysis of multi-omics data
  • LIMS applied to metabolomics
  • Public repositories of public data
  • Clinical metabolomics
Target Audience
This course is intended for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows and investigators who are interested in learning about both technical and cheminformatic tools to analyze and interpret metabolomics data.

Organizing Committee
The school fee is 300 Euros and includes accommodation, coffee breaks, lunches, and the dinners.

Event flyer: Sardinian Summer School.pdf
For detailed information about the Summer School in Sardinia visit:

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

19-21 Nov 2014

Merlion Metabolomics Workshop Singapore 2014
Developing Metabolomics Platform Technologies through Singapore-French Research Alliance
Venue: University Town, National University of Singapore

This Merlion Metabolomics Workshop will leverage on the strong infrastructure towards applying metabolomics technology in environment, food science and technology, and human health at National University of Singapore (NUS) (acting through NUS Environmental Research Institute (NERI)) and the well-established expertise in the area of nutrition, toxicology at the National Research Institute of Agronomy (acting through MetaboHUB), to encourage technical exchanges and catalyze the development of research collaboration in the field of metabolomics between Singapore and France. This workshop also provides opportunities for the knowledge and technologies developed in Europe to be applied in the Asian context.

This 3-day workshop features three important areas of metabolomics research, namely, Environment, Food Science and Technology, and Human Health. Eight tracks, including two sessions for young researchers to share their research findings, will facilitate knowledge sharing and discussions over 2.5 days during the workshop. A half day technical site visit to research and/or manufacturing facilities will be arranged for a selected group of participants. Prominent scientists in metabolomics from Asia-Pacific region will also be invited to the workshop.

For further details, please visit the workshop website.

3-4 Dec 2014

Australian Lipids Meeting
Venue: University of Wollongong (Innovation Campus), Wollongong, NSW, Australia

We are pleased to announce the 2nd Australian Lipid Meeting, which will be held at the University of Wollongong's Innovation Campus from 3-4 December, 2014.

While the first meeting focused on lipidomics we have expanded the scope for the second meeting to cover all aspects of lipid research. Planned topics include:
  • Imaging
  • Botany
  • Nutrition
  • Health and Disease
  • Technical Developments and Methodology
We look forward to seeing you in "The Gong".

Key Dates
Abstract submissions
  • Open: 1 May, 2014
  • Close: 31 July, 2014
  • Acceptance notification: September 2014
  • Open: 1 August, 2014
  • Early bird: Closes 28 October, 2014
For further 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
National Institute for Medical Research
London, UK
National Institute for Medical Research
Postdoctoral Fellow in Metabolomics
The Metabolomics Innovation Centre, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada
Experimental Officer in Bioinformatics
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK
University of Birmingham
High throughput robotics, mass spectrometry and metabolomics: state-of-the-art approaches to characterise the environmental toxicity of chemicals and nanomaterials
University of Birmingham Birmingham, UK 2-Jun-2014
University of Birmingham
Research Postdoctoral Trainee
Beaumont Health System
Royal Oak, Michigan, USA
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 "Jobs Wanted" submissions.

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