Published in partnership between
TMIC and the Metabolomics Society

Issue 34 - June 2014


Online version of this newsletter:

Welcome to the thirty-fourth 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 Metabolomics Spotlight article on Metanomics Health's MxP® Quality Control Plasma, a metabolomics-based biomarker for holistic human plasma quality control, and a metabolomics interview with Tom Metz of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

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

Chenomx Inc.

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Metabolomics Society Logo

Metabolomics Society News

Final reminder: 10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
Location: Tsuruoka, Japan
Date: June 23
rd to 26th 2014
This is the tenth Annual International Conference of the 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. We hope to see you there, and to catch up with friends and colleagues!

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)

Meeting Report: Metabolomics Society / Royal Society of Chemistry ‘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 occurred on 30th April 2014. Located within the impressive library of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, the meeting began with an inspirational presentation by Professor Jeremy Nicholson (Imperial College London) describing the current and future roles of metabolomics in clinical medicine. That set the stage for a series of very high quality presentations by the invited speakers: Professor Roy Goodacre (University of Manchester), Professor Jean-Luc Wolfender (University of Geneva, Switzerland), Dr Steffen Neumann (Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, IPB Halle, Germany), Professor Paul Thomas (Loughborough University) and Dr Jules Griffin (MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge). The organisers devoted one session to early-career scientists, with talks selected from the submitted abstracts. Again, the quality of the presentations was excellent, and the speakers were recognised with the following Metabolomics Society awards:
The organisers again thank the sponsors – Agilent Technologies, Biocrates Life Sciences, Bruker and Thermo Fisher Scientific – for supporting the meeting and their contributions on the day, as well as the Royal Society of Chemistry team, in particular Peter Brawn (Honorary Treasurer, East Anglia Region, Analytical Division) and Brian Woodget (Honorary Secretary, East Anglia Region, Analytical Division). With the maximum limit of 100 registrants reached, together with excellent science, networking, food and location, this event launched the new series of Metabolomics Society meetings rather spectacularly! Watch this space for the next in the series.

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.

Metabolomics Society / Royal Society of Chemistry ‘Analytical Tools for Cutting-edge Metabolomics’ conference
On the last Wednesday of April, the EMN joined many of you and attended the joint RSC/Metabolomics Society meeting in London, UK. Despite the tube strike, the library of the Burlington House was full of researchers, both young and experienced, all enjoying the fantastic program with speakers covering many areas of metabolomics. These included the reproducibility of large-scale measurements, metabolite profiling and identification, and computational metabolomics. The EMN favourite however was Prof. Paul Thomas who made the audience appreciate the complexity of our breath, saliva and skin metabolomes, measured by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, and showed that it was possible to detect the occurrence of stress in humans by changes therein. Sampling of these metabolomes is relatively straightforward and once captured on a column, these compounds remain stable for at least six months.

Time was also made for an endeavour close to our EMN hearts, with a special early-career speaker session dedicated to four budding researchers to share their research and hard work. A big congratulations, and thank you, there to Arthur David, Aoife O’Gorman, Agnieszka Smolinska and, the EMN's very own, Justin van der Hooft.

We would very much like to thank the organizers and hope everybody enjoyed it as much as we did!

EMN Workshops and Social Mixer at the 10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
We cannot wait to see you at the 10th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society in Tsuruoka. The EMN will host a two session workshop tailored for the needs of the early-career members. In addition to the two sessions we will also host a social mixer to give early-career members the opportunity to connect with each other and mingle with top scientists in the metabolomics field.

Check out the final program in the following link:
Several EMN committee members will also be at the booth of the Metabolomics Society, please drop by and say hello. We look forward to meeting you all.

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

Call for nominations for Directors of the Metabolomics Society
In the next three months, the Metabolomics Society will undertake the annual process of nominating and electing eight members to serve on the Society’s Board of Directors. We strongly encourage all society members to play a role in nominations and elections.
Please contribute to shaping the future of our Society by voting and playing an active role.
Ute Roessner (Chair of Nominations Committee) & Mark Viant (President)

Is your metabolite really identified?
Please read the Metabolomics Society’s Metabolite Identification Task Group’s recent opinion piece published in the Metabolomics journal:
Metabolite identification: are you sure? And how do your peers gauge your confidence?

News from the International Affiliates of the Metabolomics Society
Watch this space; next month this new section will 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

Metabolomics Spotlight

MxP Quality Control Plasma
Metanomics Health Logo

MxP® Quality Control Plasma—a metabolomics-based biomarker for holistic human plasma quality control

"Unacceptable sample quality due to failures in the pre-analytical phase and/or improper sample storage in retrospective research studies is a widely known challenge in biomedical R & D."

Prof. Dr. Kurt Zatloukal, Coordinator of a pan-European Research Infrastructure on Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources - BBMRI

Feature article contributed by Dr. Beate Kamlage, Senior Scientist, Metanomics GmbH, Tegeler Weg 33, 10589 Berlin, Germany

Any clinical research and development study depends on high-quality specimen collection to hunt for new drug targets and biomarkers. Pre-analytical processing steps of blood including choice of sample tube, prolonged storage of blood or plasma and incubation at improper temperatures can have negative effects on biomolecules. Therefore, both quality assurance (e.g., definition of stringent SOPs) and sample quality control (QC), achieved through quality control biomarkers are important concepts to ensure the validity of clinical results.

Metabolite levels in blood cover a wide range of physiological and chemical processes, and are very reactive to disturbances. Analysis of the responsiveness of the human plasma metabolome to pre-analytical variations is allowing comprehensive and sensitive read-out of sample quality. In other words, it tells researchers about the actual condition of their plasma samples. This information is especially essential for omics-based biomarker research as well as for system biology approaches and biobanking.

        confounders in the pre-analytical phase of plasma covered by
        MxP® Quality Control Plasma
Figure 1. Common confounders in the pre-analytical phase of plasma are covered by MxP® Quality Control Plasma by delivering 3 test results.

MxP® Quality Control Plasma is a novel, validated, metabolome-based assay by Metanomics Health GmbH, which, for the first time, provides a holistic quality check of EDTA human plasma samples by delivering three test results. These results provide comprehensive information about presence of pre-analytical confounders and where they have occurred in the process (Figure 1). This enables researchers to upgrade their quality management (QM) system from quality assurance to quality control, safe-guarding their investment in the right human plasma samples.

Example A. MxP® Quality Control Plasma detecting batch effects

Metabolic quality marker pattern indicating a
        pre-analytical issue related to plasma processing
Figure 2. Metabolic quality marker pattern indicating a pre-analytical issue related to plasma processing in a batch of samples (red) from a clinical biomarker study.

The importance of quality control in addition to quality assurance for biobanking and multi-center clinical trials is concluded from the example shown in Figure 2. All samples in this study (represented by dots and stars) were taken from the same biobank, which received them from various clinical centers. We noticed a particular group of samples (marked in red) with an increase in the metabolite pattern, detected by Metanomics Health, which represents the low quality of the specimens. When specific colors were assigned to every batch of samples, it appeared that all outlying results correspond to the same batch. Every batch represents samples that have been taken out of the biobank at the same time point, thawed, split into aliquots, and shipped. The overall quality of the samples, represented by low intra-sample ratio, indicates that a very specific pre-analytical issue must have occurred in this particular batch due to non-conformant processing conditions. This can be identified only by a quality control service as SOPs (standard operating procedures) were claimed to be followed for all the samples in the study.

Example B. MxP® Quality Control Plasma improving the outcome of clinical R&D and biomarker research

Example of a
        beneficial effect of sample quality control in a biomarker
        identification study
Figure 3. Example of a beneficial effect of sample quality control in a biomarker identification study.

Figure 3 illustrates the beneficial effect of sample quality control in clinical biomarker research. As shown on the left side, initially no significant difference (p-value>0.05) between the disease and control group was found. By additional quality assessment of the samples, a sub-group of samples of poor quality (marked in red) could be identified and removed. As shown on the right side, the statistical analysis, repeated on the set of satisfactorily qualified samples, elucidated a significant difference (p-value<0.05) for the same biomarker candidate and additionally a lower variability of the two groups (see the vertical axis). This example demonstrates the importance of quality control assessment prior to conducting research.

Investing in the right samples

The novel MxP® Quality Control Plasma assay measures different validated metabolomic biomarkers in single read-outs. By applying proprietary algorithms, three different test results are calculated, which provide not only a precise assessment of sample quality but also a “fit for purpose” suggestion for sample utilization.

This is enabling pharmaceutical R&D, clinical research organizations, and biobanks to better understand the actual condition of human plasma samples, efficiently monitor SOP compliance in multicenter trials, deliver superior quality samples, and support evidence-based decisions for sample selection.

Schematic representation of MxP® Quality
        Control Plasma workflow
Figure 4. Schematic representation of MxP® Quality Control Plasma workflow.

Details of the plasma metabolome response to pre-analytical confounders have been recently published in a peer-reviewed article (“Quality Markers Addressing Preanalytical Variations of Blood and Plasma Processing Identified by Broad and Targeted Metabolite Profiling”, Clinical Chemistry, 2013,

Metanomics Health offers its quality control assay for human plasma samples in a fee-for-service and an out-licensing business model.

Metanomics Health, a BASF Group company, is the world-leading company offering targeted and non-targeted metabolomics to healthcare, nutrition, and bioprocessing partners in industry and academia. In parallel to the service business, Metanomics Health is funding and conducting a comprehensive clinical biomarker program, addressing a wide range of questions with high unmet medical need.

Find out more about Metanomics Health GmbH at

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 Tom Metz.

Tom Metz

Principal Investigator, Integrative Omics Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA

 Tom Metz


Tom Metz obtained his PhD in chemistry from the University of South Carolina and joined the research group of Dr. Richard D. Smith at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, as a post-doc in 2003. He is now a principal investigator in the Integrative Omics group at PNNL and the author of over sixty peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on topics ranging from proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics methods development to studies of chronic and infectious diseases. His research interests include the application of chromatography-mass spectrometry methods in studies of diabetes mellitus, the development of robust and high throughput mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics approaches, using metabolomics to study metabolic exchange within microbial communities, and multi-omics studies.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; TM, Tom Metz)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

TM: For my PhD work, I studied a vitamer of B6, pyridoxamine, and its ability to prevent non-enzymatic modification of tissue proteins by products of Maillard chemistry during diabetes and aging. Although the focus was on non-enzymatic chemistry and protein modification, the analytical approaches were the same as those used in modern metabolomics studies. After obtaining my degree, and still relatively unaware of the burgeoning field of metabolomics, I sought out a post-doctoral position in mass spectrometry, which led me to PNNL and the laboratory of Dr. Richard D. “Dick” Smith. Dick described metabolomics to me, gave me a tour of the instrumentation labs, and offered me a position with the charge to bring metabolomics to this predominately proteomics instrument development and applications group. I accepted the offer, and now metabolomics and lipidomics are among the high throughput measurement capabilities offered by the Integrative Omics group at PNNL.

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

TM: The most exciting aspect of working in the field of metabolomics is the diversity of projects with which I have been associated over the years. This includes studies of disease biomarkers, optimization of biofuels production, and microbial metabolism and metabolic exchange. Having the opportunity to collaborate with individuals in such diverse fields is an opportunity not frequently encountered in research, and an aspect of my work that I find truly valuable. Additionally, I frequently collaborate with biostatisticians and metabolic modelers who have brought new perspectives to my research. Finally, as a member of the Integrative Omics group at PNNL, I have the opportunity to not only develop and apply metabolomics methodologies, but those for proteomics as well, allowing me to participate in multi-omics studies. There is also the added perk of constant exposure to various aspects of instrument development and having the opportunity to collaborate with the individuals driving this work in our group, identifying those new technologies that can immediately benefit or improve metabolomics analyses.

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

TM: The role of metabolic exchange, or coupling, among members of microbial communities and between host and pathogen is a focus of our current research. Such interactions, in part, determine how such communities assemble and impact their resilience and robustness in their natural environments.

We also continually participate in large center grants, where comprehensive systems biology approaches are taken to elucidate important biological questions. For example, from 2008-2013, we participated in two NIAID Systems Biology for Infectious Diseases Research Program-funded ( centers, the Systems Virology Center ( and the Center for Systems Biology of Enteropathogens (, by providing proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics analyses as part of a multi-omics approach. As part of the latter center, we participated in a nice multi-omics study to elucidate the interplay between the mouse host, commensal organisms, and Salmonella during intestinal infection (Figure 1, Deatherage Kaiser et al., PLoS One, 2013).

Multi-omics study

Figure 1. Multi-omics study to elucidate the interplay between the mouse host, commensal organisms, and Salmonella during intestinal infection.

We were also recently funded again by NIAID to participate in a new center ( to study highly pathogenic viruses, and will provide metabolomics and lipidomics analyses.

Similarly, we participate in two projects funded by the U.S. DOE BER Genome Science Program (GSP) that utilize a multi-omics approach in studies of environmental microbial communities and other systems of interest to the GSP. We recently completed a large diel time course study of a phototrophic microbial mat that grows in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. The changes in metabolite abundances that we observed for the most part agreed well with previous metatranscriptomic analyses that were performed over a similar time course (Figure 2). The more we participate in such studies, the more we recognize and appreciate the value of the multi-omics approach.

Transcription patterns of genes involved in
              photosynthesis, fermentation, and nitrogen fixation
Dissolved CO2, H2 and
              CH4 levels in water overflowing the mat
Glycolate and lactate relative
Acetate and propionate relative

Figure 2. A large diel time course study of a phototrophic microbial mat that grows in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, with diel cycling of transcripts and metabolites related to hypothesized Synechococcus metabolisms. Transcription patterns of genes involved in photosynthesis, fermentation, and nitrogen fixation (A); dissolved CO2, H2 and CH4 levels in water overflowing the mat (B); glycolate and lactate relative concentrations (C); acetate and propionate relative concentrations (D). Metabolite values plotted are mean ± standard error. In A, the mean and standard deviation is of the normalized expression levels of different genes associated with the same function. The grey inset shows the light intensity experienced by the mat during the diel cycle.

Finally, we are beginning efforts to develop new approaches for annotating metabolites detected in our experiments and to provide logical scoring of these annotations.

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

TM: Certainly, the biggest impact in terms of metabolomics in the U.S. has been the recent focus on metabolomics by the NIH Common Fund ( In the past two years, the Common Fund’s Metabolomics program has invested over $60M alone in the establishment of six Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Research Cores (RCMRCs, in order to improve the capacity to perform metabolomics in the U.S. In addition to the RCMRCs, additional awards have been made to further technology, develop training courses, and add to the ranks of investigators utilizing metabolomics in their research. Metabolomics is definitely on the rise here.

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

TM: Our metabolomics goals are to develop new capabilities as needed to address specific challenges that we encounter in the systems we study and to broadly apply these capabilities to interesting biological questions. Being a U.S. DOE national laboratory and having funding from the GSP, we perform metabolomics analyses in support of basic studies of environmentally relevant organisms and systems (e.g., cyanobacteria, microbial mat communities, etc.), organisms engineered to produce biofuels, and plants, among others. This likely will not change. We also have a portfolio of NIH-funded studies. I do not expect this to change either. What I foresee for the future is an increasing role for metabolomics in biological studies as the technologies, metabolite reference libraries, and methods for metabolite annotation improve.

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

TM: For me, the greatest strength of metabolomics is the fact that metabolites represent the end point of metabolism. As such, it should contain the most information reflecting system perturbations. This is true both for global analyses and for more targeted approaches, such as fluxomics, for which there really isn’t an equivalent among gene- and protein-based assays.

An almost equal strength, or rather opportunity for the metabolomics community, is the relative immaturity of the field. There is much low hanging fruit, both in terms of publication space and in terms of novel biological relevance for metabolites. As an example, in a recent study we identified a set of metabolites involved in primary carbon metabolism that stimulated the expression of the type III secretion system in Pseudomonas syringae (Anderson et al., PNAS, 2014). This type of role has not yet been reported for this class of metabolites. It is a very exciting time for metabolomics.

A final strength for metabolomics, from my perspective, is also related to its immaturity. As the new kid on the block, the community can learn from the mistakes that were made previously in similar disciplines, such as transcriptomics and proteomics, and we can also more immediately benefit from the advanced analytical platforms that have already been developed.

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

TM: The greatest barriers remain annotation of detected metabolites and metrics for providing confidence in these annotations. We are well aware that annotation of proteins in proteomics studies is facilitated by the polymeric nature of peptides/proteins and the fact that protein sequences can be predicted from the genome of an organism. This has enabled the development of a wide variety of algorithms for annotating spectra in mass spectrometry-based proteomics studies and also a variety of methods for assessing the false discovery rate of these algorithms. There really is no similar high throughput solution for confidently identifying metabolites from mass spectra. Efforts to develop metabolite reference libraries, such as Metlin, MassBank, FiehnLib, Chenomx, etc., are a substantial step in the right direction, but I argue that equal effort should be placed on methods and frameworks to accurately compare experimental spectra to these reference libraries, including appropriate probabilities for correct matches and associated false discovery estimation.

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

TM: The instrumentation doesn’t need to be any more sensitive than it is now—the majority of metabolites that we currently detect can’t be confidently annotated. What we need are improved methods for annotation. I view the holy grail for metabolomics as a non-reference library method for metabolite annotation, probably something based on a novel genetic algorithm.

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

TM: Science funding in general in the U.S. may be rebounding a bit from the recent fiscal challenges. The future for metabolomics funding does look bright, in light of the investments made by the NIH Common Fund’s Metabolomics program. Metabolomics is hot right now.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

TM: Metabolomics standards are critical, but perhaps more critical is the community’s compliance with the standards (i.e., by the Metabolomics Standards Initiative, MSI) that have been recommended already in previous MetaboInterviews. We try to adhere to these as much as possible in our own work, so that our results can be repeated by others if necessary, but more so to avoid propagating misinformation in the literature. The minimum reporting requirements recommended by the MSI working groups really cause one to think critically about one’s experimental design and data before submitting a manuscript for publication. Related to metabolomics standards is the deposition of data in public metabolomics repositories, such as MetaboLights or Metabolomics Workbench, which allows other investigators to mine the data for additional knowledge.

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

TM: Only that I look forward to the next few decades of metabolomics research. I believe that we will be establishing new paradigms for the role of metabolites in biological systems.

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 hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer, respectively.
  1. Zeng J, Yin P, Tan Y, Dong L, Hu C, Huang Q, Lu X, Wang H, Xu G. Metabolomics Study of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Discovery and Validation of Serum Potential Biomarkers by Using Capillary Electrophoresis-Mass Spectrometry. J Proteome Res. 2014 May 22. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24853826]

    In this paper, the investigators used a metabolomics approach to identify biomarkers for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the deadliest malignancies. Using capillary electrophoresis-time of flight mass spectrometry (CE-TOF/MS), they analyzed a total of 183 human serum samples and identified a 'serum biomarker model' consisting of tryptophan, glutamine, and 2-hydroxybutyric acid. This model enabled the researchers to reliably differentiate between patients with HCC and healthy subjects, and showed promise in the early-stage diagnosis of disease, distinguishing between small HCC and pre-cancer cirrhosis. This study demonstrates the potential for a CE-TOF/MS-based metabolomics approach to early-stage detection of HCC.
  1. Li Y, Song X, Zhao X, Zou L, Xu G. Serum metabolic profiling study of lung cancer using ultra high performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2014 May 2. pii: S1570-0232(14)00285-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2014.04.047. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24856296]

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer worldwide. As such, there is a strong need for reliable biomarkers for discriminating between lung cancer patients and healthy patients. In this study, the researchers analyzed serum samples from 23 patients with lung cancer and 23 healthy controls using ultra high performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/Q-TOF MS), combined with partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). They identified 27 metabolites, involved in lipid metabolism, that allowed them to differentiate between lung cancer patients and controls; these metabolites included choline, free fatty acids, and lysophosphatidylcholines. The LC/MS-based serum metabolite profiling platform described in this paper may prove to be an effective approach to the diagnosis of lung cancer.

Metabolomics Current

Metabolomics Current Contents

This section of MetaboNews is supported by:

Recently published papers in metabolomics:

Metabolomics Events

Metabolomics Events

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

Informatics and Statistics for Metabolomics Workshop flyer:
Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series flyer:
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.

Key Dates
  • Abstract Deadline for Oral Presentations Extended to midnight of April 6th 2014 (GMT)
  • Early Registration Deadline: April 10th 2014
  • Deadline for Late Poster Abstracts: midnight of April 30th 2014 (GMT)
  • Regular Registration Deadline: May 29th 2014
  • Late Registration: From 1 June 2014
For detailed information about Metabolomics 2014, visit

23-26 Jun 2014

Metabolomics Summer Workshop
Venue: Forum Hall, Palmer Commons, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

The Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core is presenting a four-day Metabolomics Summer Workshop on June 23-26, 2014. This workshop is intended for investigators seeking a solid foundation to expand their research using metabolomics.

Sessions include:
  • Study design and sample collection considerations
  • Separation methods
  • Data analysis
  • Interpretation and exploration software
Additional information:
For detailed information about the Metabolomics Summer Workshop, 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

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

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
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
Assistant Professor (full-time), “Metabolomics-driven Systems Pharmacology”
Faculty of Science, Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR)
Leiden, The Netherlands
Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research
Bioinformatician (Metabolomics)
Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie (IPB)
Halle, Germany
Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry
Postdoctoral Fellow in Drosophila Metabolomics University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL, USA 16-Apr-2014

University of Alabama

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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