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Issue 57 - May 2016


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Welcome to the fifty-seventh 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 by Jeremy Everett of the University of Greenwich titled "New NMR-Based Methods for Assessing Confidence in Known Metabolite Identification", and a metabolomics interview with Susan Sumner of RTI International.

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

Metanomics Health
Chenomx -- Metabolite Discovery &

Metanomics Health GmbH

Chenomx Inc.


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Metabolomics Society News


2016 Metabolomics Society Conference, Dublin
June 27 June 30, 2016

It’s not too late to register for this year’s annual metabolomics conference. Visit to register and check out the line-up of workshops, scientific sessions and plenary speakers including Jeremy Nicholson and Luke O’Neill. Registration includes excellent networking events for early-career, regular academic and industrial scientists, including the conference dinner at Dublin’s iconic Croke Park (

Discounted rooms have been reserved for conference attendees and must be booked before May 6 through the conference website Attendees are advised to book today, as we cannot hold rooms beyond this date, and hotel availability in Dublin in late June is extremely limited.

Conference listing on Metabolomics Society Website
In addition to the annual Metabolomics Society Conference (, a number of high-quality regional metabolomics conferences, workshops and symposia are organized by metabolomics scientists throughout the year. Readers are encouraged to visit for a list of upcoming meetings organized by Society members.

Researchers should also be aware that some metabolomics-focused conferences are organized by corporate entities (some included on Beall’s list of predatory publishers), and those conferences may not provide a beneficial scientific experience. In case there is any confusion about the origin of a conference or meeting, official Metabolomics Society supported meetings ALWAYS will have links to the Metabolomics Society webpage, display the Society logo and be clearly branded from the Society and A-S-K Associates; no other companies promote our meetings.

The Metabolomics Society wishes to encourage scientific organizers of high-quality regional or topical metabolomics meetings to post details of their event on the Society website (contact This list will allow members to determine meetings that are organized primarily for scientific, and not commercial, benefit.


Early-career Members Network (EMN)
EMN webinar series
The EMN hosted the 7th session of the EMN webinar series on Friday, 29th April 2016 (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM UTC). Our expert speaker for this session of the EMN webinar series was Dr Karl Burgess from the University of Glasgow, UK. In his presentation, Dr Burgess explored critically the use of chromatography and mass spectrometry in metabolomics research, discussing the improvement of such techniques and situating them in a metabolomic experiment. At the end of the presentation, there was an opportunity to pose key questions.

Please stay tuned for the upcoming 8th session of the EMN webinar series coming to you live on the 27th May 2016 (15:00 – 16:00 UTC). The Webinar will explore and discuss compound identification methodologies (and tools) currently used in metabolomics research (register here). Our expert speaker for this 8th session of the EMN webinar series will be Dr Jan Stanstrup (Systems Medicine group at Steno Diabetes Center, Denmark). At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity to pose key questions to Dr Jan Stanstrup.

EMN Workshops and Events at the 12th Annual International Conference
The EMN will host two workshop sessions tailored for the needs of the early-career members. Both sessions are taking shape nicely and we aim to have a full program ready soon, so stay tuned for more information on both workshops. One workshop will be focused on the importance of experimental design for successful metabolomics experiments; whereas the other workshop discusses career options both in and outside academia.

The EMN will host two free reception events and we encourage all early career members to attend and help build the community. We have organized an informal meet and greet which will take place on Sunday 26th June 6 – 8 PM at 4 Dame Lane. This will be a great opportunity for young researchers to meet fellow peers in a relaxed and social venue. Our second event will be held on Tuesday 28th June at the Convention Centre following the evening poster session. We are very excited to announce that Professor Mark Viant will be speaking at the event. Drinks and food will be provided. We hope to see you all there. Please REGISTER HERE if you will be attending these events.

Please feel free to contact us via if you have any suggestions or comments regarding our planned activities this year (i.e., online webinars, workshops and events). If you think you have a great idea for a new activity we should organise then please do share with us; the EMN can only be a success with your support and ideas!!

Membership News for 2016
For those of you who have not yet renewed your membership of the Metabolomics Society for 2016, we really hope you are considering joining our vibrant community. Renewing your membership allows you to claim a special members-only price at Metabolomics 2016 in Dublin as well as a host of other membership benefits which are listed here. To join the society or to renew your membership, visit here. For any questions regarding membership, please contact us at


Industry Engagement Task Group
Sponsorship opportunities are still available for Metabolomics 2016 in Dublin if your business is still considering becoming a sponsor. The Society values all of its Sponsors, and Sponsorships help support all the activities of the annual meeting, including Student Travel Awards, Early-career Travel Awards and invitations to high-profile plenary speakers. Businesses who become Sponsors will be interacting with members of the world’s largest scientific society dedicated to the field of metabolomics, and this exposure will impact your bottom line. Please consider supporting the Society through a Sponsorship for Metabolomics 2016.

International Affiliations Task Group Meeting in Dublin
The Metabolomics Society has last year established a new task group, uniting all the international Affiliates. Affiliates are national a regional Metabolomics Societies or Foundations, which meet with each other to exchange ideas how to best organize themselves and to offer services to their members, as well as to lobby for funding. The Task Group will be meeting during the Metabolomics Society meeting in Dublin (date will be confirmed). The meeting is also open to individuals or groups that have an intention to set up a national or regional organisation, but haven't yet affiliated themselves with the Society, or are in the process of setting up a legal entity.

If you are interested in joining the meeting or knowing more about the task group you can contact Merlijn van Rijswijk, Chairman of the International Affiliates Task Group ( or Ute Roessner of the Metabolomics Society Board of Directors (

Data Standards Task Group
This month Mark Viant, Professor of Metabolomics in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Director of NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility, wrote a blog entry for the Nature Scientific data on “Advancing the sharing and standardization of metabolomics data” for more details have a look at:

General Announcements for related standards activities:

We need your input on “Metabolomics Data Infrastructures Survey”

The PhenoMeNal project is developing an open-source e-infrastructure for the processing, analysis, and information-mining of medical molecular phenotyping and genotyping data that will be generated by metabolomics applications. The project is publicly funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Programme. For more information, please see

To gain a better understanding of the requirements for data infrastructures for metabolomics research, PhenoMeNal has commissioned a survey to gain insight into current practices, future needs, and opinions, on how metabolomics research data is managed, published, and disseminated. We would be grateful if you could contribute to the survey at the link below.

Survey link:


Australian & New Zealand Metabolomics Network (ANZMN)
The inaugural Australian and New Zealand Metabolomics conference was held at La Trobe University (Melbourne) from 30/03 to 01/04. It was organised in conjunction with the Australia & New Zealand Metabolomics Network and Metabolomics Australia. Keynote speakers included Professors David Wishart and Jean-Luc Wolfender, Drs Oliver Jones, Damian Callahan, and Thusitha Rupasinghe and attendees came from as far away as the UK. The conference was a great success and the ANZMN would like to thank the organising committee (Devin Benheim, Con Kouremenos, David De Souza, Damien Callahan, and Farhana Pinu), session chairs and ASN staff for such a great event.


Call for nominations for Directors of the Metabolomics Society
In the next few months, the Metabolomics Society will undertake the annual process of nominating and electing five new members to serve on the Society’s Board of Directors. We strongly encourage all Society members to play a role in nominations and elections.

•    Expectations for Directors appointment
The Society is led through the voluntary efforts of the Board of Directors. While this provides motivated individuals a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the activities, communications and ultimately growth of our metabolomics community, it also requires a time commitment of typically 2 hours per week. In addition to tasks orchestrated through the bimonthly Board Meeting, each Director is expected to serve on at least two committees or task groups, and, in many cases, to lead and chair such a group (for the current committees and task groups, see

•    Nominations process
Full details of the nominations process will be made available on the Society’s website in due course. Please keep in mind that the Society is an international organization involved in a wide range of subjects in the field of metabolomics. Our directors will serve us best if they reflect the diversity of backgrounds, expertise, interests, and geographic distribution of the many individuals who comprise our membership. In brief, (1) all individuals nominated must be current members of the Metabolomics Society, (2) at least two members of the Society must support the individual’s nomination.

Please contribute to shaping the future of our Society by voting and playing an active role.

Tim Ebbels (Chair of Nominations Committee) & Ute Roessner (President)

Software Spotlight

Metabolomics Spotlight

New NMR-Based Methods for Assessing Confidence in Known Metabolite Identification

Feature article contributed by Jeremy Everett, Medway Metabonomics Research Group, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Kent, UK

The identification of known metabolites is a bottleneck for metabonomics/metabolomics studies whether they are conducted using mass spectrometry or NMR spectroscopy-based detection technologies. Wishart nicely contrasted the four different bases in the human genome and the twenty amino acids in the human proteome with the thousands of metabolites in the human metabolome [1]. Because of the complexity of the metabolome, progress with automated methods of known metabolite identification has been limited.

This issue was recognised in the metabonomics community and, in 2007, the Metabolomics Standards Initiative (MSI) set up a Chemical Analysis Working Group (CAWG) which proposed a qualitative, four-level classification system for the structure confirmation of known metabolites [2].
  1. Identified Compounds
  2. Putatively Annotated Compounds
  3. Putatively Characterised Compound Classes
  4. Unknown Compounds
Level 1 identification strictly requires the determination of a minimum of two independent and orthogonal data on a metabolite, relative to an authentic reference standard analysed under identical conditions, e.g., HPLC retention time and accurate mass. Any metabolite identified solely by reference to literature values or to a database such as the HMDB [3] would be a Level 2, Putatively Annotated metabolite.

Since introduction, this system has been little used and recently a new call to the community for engagement on this issue was made [4] and some responses have already been published [5].

This Spotlight article will focus on a method for the determination of confidence in NMR-based, known metabolite identification. This method assesses the amount of NMR information available for a metabolite, relative to its molecular size. The method is known as metabolite identification carbon efficiency (MICE) [6]. It borrows an idea from ligand efficiency (LE), a relatively new concept in drug discovery. LE is the binding energy per heavy atom in a lead molecule and is now used as the primary optimisation parameter in many drug discovery projects, in place of simple potency, in order to optimise drugs to be the most efficient binders [7].

The MICE methodology is simple: the amount of NMR-based information in a metabolite is added up and then divided by the number of carbon atoms; this is the MICE value for that metabolite. This experimental MICE value can be compared with the theoretical MICE that could be obtained for that metabolite under ideal conditions, or with a threshold value that separates confident from non-confident known metabolite identification [6].

For metabonomics experiments conducted up to the level of HSQC experiments, i.e., including 1D 1H, COSY and HSQC NMR data, the metabolite identification information counted is as follows: one bit for each piece of information
  1. Chemical shifts for each non-equivalent methyl, methylene, methyne, and non-exchanging amide NH proton
  2. 1H signal multiplicities
  3. Coupling constants (2JHH and 3JHH and only counted once)
  4. Presence of second order spin system (only if there are additional lines present in the spectrum, not anticipated by a first order spectral analysis)
  5. COSY links via 2JHH and 3JHH between hydrogens (only counted once)
  6. Chemical shifts for each protonated carbon atom (counted twice if measured separately at both hydrogens of a non-equivalent methylene group) via HSQC
Information is only counted if it matches either with data run under the same conditions for the authentic reference standard, or against appropriate data in the literature, or in a database such as the HMDB [3]. The fit of the experimental data to reference data should be precise, generally within ± 0.03 ppm for 1D 1H shifts, ± 0.5 ppm for 13C NMR shifts and ± 0.2 Hz for homonuclear proton couplings [6]. MICE values of > 1.0 generally correspond to confidently identified metabolites [6]. An example will help.

600 MHz

          2D 1H J-resolved NMR spectrum

In the 600 MHz 2D 1H J-resolved NMR spectrum (shown above) of the urine from a week 30 FMO5 knockout mouse [8], the pseudo-sextet (quartet of triplets with almost identical couplings, 7.4 and 7.5 Hz) signal of the CH2-6 protons of N-butyrylglycine (HMDB00808) is observed at 1.62 ppm. This signal had a COSY to 2.28 (CH2-5) and another to 0.93 (CH3-7), in addition to an HSQC to the CH2-6 carbon at 21.6 ppm. For this one signal, a total of seven bits of information have been observed: 1H shift, 13C shift, two 3J couplings, a signal multiplicity, and two COSY connectivities. The corresponding reference data values in Kubica et al. [9] at pH 7.0 are: 2.28 (H5); 1.62 (sextet, 7.3 Hz), 21.6 (CH2-6) and 0.92 (CH3-7): an almost exact match. For the metabolite as a whole, a total of twelve bits of matching NMR-based metabolite identification information were experimentally observed. Since there are six carbons in the metabolite, the experimental MICE value for this metabolite is 12/6 = 2.0. For comparison, the theoretical HSQC-level MICE is 20/6 = 3.3. The twenty theoretical bits correspond to five 1H shifts, five 1H multiplicities, three 3JHH values, three COSY connectivities and four 13C shifts. On the basis of the experimental MICE value of 2.0, N-butyrylglycine is considered confidently identified.

The MICE method works well at an HSQC level when the following guidelines are met [6]:
  1. Experimental MICE > 1
  2. Precise fit of the experimental data to reference data
  3. NMR spectral data provides ‘coverage’ of all parts of the molecule
  4. Spectral sensitivity and resolution sufficient to measure signal features with confidence
  5. Care taken in assigning signals in crowded spectral regions
  6. HSQC data is important in metabolite identification, as it provides an excellent orthogonal data source via the 13C NMR chemical shift
  7. HMBC data used when necessary to corroborate uncertain or important metabolite identifications
The theoretical and experimental HSQC level MICE results from a recent study [6] on a set of seventy-five diverse metabolites identified in mouse and human urine is shown below: seventeen metabolites had an actual MICE value in the range 0 to 1, of which thirteen were actually below the threshold value of 1.0. These metabolites would require additional information from NMR experiments such as HMBC, or complementary data from mass spectrometry in order to be confident of their identification.

Theoretical and experimental HSQC

          level MICE results from a recent study

MICE works well, even when comparisons are made to literature or database NMR data rather than a direct experimental comparison with the authentic reference standard. This is because, in general, NMR spectroscopy is a stable and precise analytical technology that is sensitive to small changes in molecular structure. It is not subject to effects such as column history-related retention time changes, or to mixture-related ion suppression or enhancement effects, that may occur in technologies such as UPLC-MS. However, distinguishing very similar metabolites such as caproylglycine (HMDB00701) from capryloylglycine (HMDB00832) for instance, will be challenging by NMR alone and will require the orthogonal capabilities of mass spectrometry to provide confident identification. In general, NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry are tools that are complementary and most valuable when used in concert.

MICE is a new way to help measure confidence in NMR-based, known metabolite identification. It is simple, practical, and quantitative, and does not require experimental comparison of data to that of authentic reference standards in the laboratory; comparison with literature or database values works fine. For metabonomics/metabolomics to move forward as a science, improved methods of assessing confidence in metabolite identification are essential. MICE is one such method that can help in this task.


Thanks are due to Professors Jeremy Nicholson, John Lindon, and Elaine Holmes of Imperial College for long-term collaborations and access to NMR facilities.  Thanks are also due to Professor Elizabeth Shephard, Dr Flora Scott, Dr Dorsa Varshavi, and Dr Kirill Veselkov for their collaboration on the FMO5 KO project. Finally, thanks to Ms Beatriz Sanchon Lopez for recent developments of the MICE concept.

  1. Wishart DS. Advances in metabolite identification. Bioanalysis, 3(15), 1769-1782 (2011).
  2. Sumner LW, Amberg A, Barrett D et al. Proposed minimum reporting standards for chemical analysis. Metabolomics, 3(3), 211-221 (2007).
  3. Wishart DS, Jewison T, Guo AC et al. HMDB 3.0-The Human Metabolome Database in 2013. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(D1), D801-D807 (2013).
  4. Creek DJ, Dunn WB, Fiehn O et al. Metabolite identification: are you sure? And how do your peers gauge your confidence? Metabolomics, 10(3), 350-353 (2014).
  5. Daly R, Rogers S, Wandy J, Jankevics A, Burgess KEV, Breitling R. MetAssign: probabilistic annotation of metabolites from LC-MS data using a Bayesian clustering approach. Bioinformatics, 30(19), 2764-2771 (2014).
  6. Everett JR. A new paradigm for known metabolite identification in metabonomics/metabolomics: metabolite identification efficiency. Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 13, 131-144 (2015).
  7. Hopkins AL, Groom CR, Alex A. Ligand efficiency: a useful metric for lead selection. Drug Discovery Today, 9(10), 430-431 (2004).
  8. Malagon SGG, Melidoni AN, Hernandez D et al. The phenotype of a knockout mouse identifies flavin-containing monooxygenase 5 (FMO5) as a regulator of metabolic ageing. Biochemical Pharmacology, 96(3), 267-277 (2015).
  9. Gryff-Keller A, Kraska-Dziadecka A, Kubica D. Detection of acylglycines in urine by H-1 and C-13 NMR for the diagnosis of inborn metabolic diseases. Acta Biochimica Polonica, 59(4), 613-617 (2012).

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

 MetaboInterview Icon


This section 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 Susan Sumner.

Director, Systems and Translational Sciences, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
Susan Sumner


Susan Sumner is working to make personalized medicine a reality. Using metabolomics, the unique chemical fingerprints that cellular processes leave behind, Sumner assesses differences in the metabotype of individuals that correlate with states of wellness or disease. She is identifying individuals' response to treatment in areas such as obesity, drug-induced liver injury, infectious disease, and reproductive and developmental biology. She is also identifying biomarkers for the early detection and diagnosis of disease to monitor therapeutic treatments and to provide insights into biological mechanisms.

Dr. Sumner is the director of the Systems and Translational Sciences Center in the Discovery Sciences Division at RTI, where she oversees the proteomics and metabolomics cores. In September 2012, Dr. Sumner and her team established the NIH Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (RTI RCMRC) through a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund. The RTI RCMRC works with an NIH-funded consortium to establish nationwide standards for metabolomics data collection and analysis, data reporting and deposition, and to provide training to basic and translational researchers. 

Dr. Sumner serves on the editorial boards for Environmental Health Perspectives, Metabolomics, the Journal of Applied Toxicology, and the Journal of Toxicology, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; SS, Susan Sumner)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

SS: In the early 90s, my research focused on using NMR spectroscopy to elucidate the in vivo metabolism of carbon-13 labeled xenobiotics by identifying carbon-13 labeled metabolites detected in tissues and biological fluids following exposure to the labeled material. I became more interested in endogenous metabolites as biomarkers for disease detection after meeting Dr. Jeremy Nicholson (then at Birkbeck College, London). I soon became just as interested in endogenous metabolism, as I had been in exogenous metabolism, and particularly, in understanding how exposure to drugs or chemicals are related to perturbations in endogenous metabolism, and the onset, progression, or resolution of disease.

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

SS: I am excited about the many ways we are using metabolomics in studies designed to reveal biomarkers for disease detection and diagnosis, and to gain mechanistic insights that could lead to the uncovering of targets for drug discovery or nutritional intervention. Members of the RTI metabolomics team have worked in a wide range of areas, such as obesity, diabetes, nutrition, exercise, lung cancer, breast cancer, pregnancy complications, response to vaccination, allergy, arthritis, kidney disease, liver injury, autism, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

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

SS: Our key initiatives and application areas span the disciplines of Parental and Child Health, Natural Products, Nanotoxicology, Neurobiology, Drug Discovery, Addiction Research, Cancer Research, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, and Infectious Disease.

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

SS: NIH has made a huge investment in funding metabolomics investigations in many disease areas. We serve as one of six centers in the United States working in a consortium that is funded by the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program ( We are working together to establish standards for metabolomics, to build national capacity for metabolomics profiling, to provide training, and to enable the research community through providing data and tools on a consortium established public database called Metabolomics Workbench ( The NIH Common Fund has also invested in metabolomics education and training grants, technology development, and the establishment of Metabolite Standard Synthesis Cores.

We are excited to be part of another consortium, the Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR), which was recently established by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This consortium is working together to understand more about how children’s health is influenced by interactions between environmental and genetic factors, and specifically to provide the research community with access to laboratory and data analysis resources that can enhance the inclusion of environmental exposure in children’s health research. Metabolomics is one of the tools that will help define how exposure impacts the biochemistry of an individual, and how this is related to exposure and health outcomes.

My team is fortunate to be involved in the Clinical and Translational Science Award (funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the P30 Environmental Health Sciences Center at North Carolina State University, where we are collaborating on studies in diabetes, response to vaccination, and early life exposures.

The newly formed North American Chapter of the Metabolomics Society is also a huge asset to bringing metabolomics researchers together to network and exchange information and ideas.

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

SS: Target identification for drug discovery or nutritional supplementation will definitely be focus areas for our team as we continue to apply metabolomics in studies of exposure and health. We also envision increasing our use of metabolomics in citizen science studies because of the ability to apply our technologies for the analysis of relatively non-invasive biological specimens. Of course, the integration of metabolomics with clinical and other omics data to discover biomarkers and develop prediction and risks models will continue to be an important research area for our team.

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

SS: Metabolomics is ideal for testing specific hypothesis, while capturing a broad range of metabolite signals using untargeted methods that enable hypothesis generation. Because metabolomics can be applied to many types of biological specimens (cells, tissues, and relatively noninvasive biospecimens, such as saliva, urine, feces, or sweat) from animal models and human subjects, it is feasible to derive surrogate markers, and to conduct cross species extrapolations. Metabolomics can be used to reveal targets for drug discovery, or determining intervention strategies for disease or nutritional supplementation.

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

SS: A lot of progress has been made in the development of instrumentation that can capture a vast number of signals associated with metabolites that comprise the metabolome. There are a number of areas of improvements that could help facilitate the increased use of metabolomics in clinical and translational research, including increasing the number of metabolite standards available to researchers, increased training opportunities for early career and established researchers, improvements in instrument level software that facilitate rapid peak identification and mathematical analysis of data during the acquisition.

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

SS: Within the US, the funding for metabolomics has been very strong through the NIH and to some extent from agencies such as NIST. NIH continues to release new solicitations for which metabolomics plays a key role, such as in nutrition, nursing, cancer, physical activity, rare disease diagnosis, and many more. The future for metabolomics in supporting research for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control, and NIOSH is likely to grow in the near future.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

SS: Metabolomics standards are critical and a major aim of the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program has been to develop national standards for reporting and deposition of metabolomics data ( Having standards are critical for researchers to learn about how each metabolomics technology and data analysis procedures contribute to revealing metabolites that comprise the metabolome and the reproducibility and reliability of the methods. Because the detection of metabolites can be influenced by factors, such as the sample collection procedures, storage conditions, and extraction procedures as well as the data acquisition parameters, it is critical that detailed procedures and methods are reported. Having this information will help develop new methods and technologies that increase our ability to reproducibly detect more metabolites. There is also the need to increase the number of mass and isotope standards that are available for use in metabolite identification, metabolic flux analysis, and to use for standardization.

Please note: We are open to suggestions for our MetaboInterviews section. Please send suggestions for future interview candidates to Ian Forsythe at

Metabolomics Current Contents

Metabolomics Current Contents

Recently published papers in metabolomics:


Metabolomics Events

3-4 May 2016

2016 SECIM Metabolomics Symposium
Venue: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida, USA

The 3rd Annual SECIM Metabolomics Symposium will be held Tuesday, May 3 through Wednesday, May 4, at our partner institution, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Orlando, Florida.

The two-day symposium will review the basics of metabolomics, while showcasing the application of metabolomics in a variety of fields. Registration is FREE! The event is appropriate for graduate students, technicians, postdocs and faculty new to the field.

RSVP Deadline: Friday, April 22

Please feel free to distribute the 2016 SECIM Metabolomics Symposium flyer to any interested persons.

For more information and to register for this event, visit

9-12 May 2016

Metabolomics Summer Workshop
Venue: Kellogg Eye Center (Kellogg Auditorium), located at 1000 Wall Street, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

The Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (MRC)2 is presenting a four-day Metabolomics Summer Workshop, May 9-12, 2016.

This workshop is intended for investigators seeking a solid foundation to expand their research using metabolomics.
Sessions include:
  • Study design
  • Sample collection
  • Analytical methods
  • Data processing, statistical analysis, and metabolite identification
  • Exploratory analysis with bioinformatics tools
  • Case study applications
  • Hands-on data analysis training, including statistical analysis and data visualization
After attending the workshop, you will be able to:
  1. Understand the principles of the analytical methodologies and data analysis techniques used in metabolomics.
  2. Use this knowledge to incorporate metabolomics into your research.
  3. Understand the reasoning behind data processing and statistical analysis.
  4. Gain a working familiarity with bioinformatics tools for exploratory analysis.
Costs per participant are $350 for internal U-M investigators and $750 for external investigators. Lunches are included.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please contact Terri Ridenour.
For more information, visit the MRC2 website.

9 May-3 June 2016

Metabolomics: Understanding metabolism in the 21st Century
Massive Open Online course by the Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre, hosted on the FutureLearn platform

This 4-week course will introduce you to metabolomics using a combination of videos, short articles, discussion points and self-assessment quizzes. The course will investigate the advantages and challenges of studying the metabolome, and the interdisciplinary approaches that have driven the development of the metabolomics field. To facilitate your understanding of the subject you will have the opportunity to interact with your fellow learners and the team of educators (led by Professor Mark Viant and Dr Warwick Dunn) on the discussion forums.

Study time: 4 weeks, 3 hours study time per week. You will have access to the course after the end date.

The course is aimed at final year undergraduate science students and research scientists but will provide a valuable introduction to the metabolomics field for scientists at any stage in their careers.

To register for this free online course please visit

26-27 May 2016

Informatics and Statistics for Metabolomics (2016)
Venue: Downtown Toronto, Canada

CBW will be hosting a Metabolomics workshop May 26-27 in downtown Toronto.

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.

For more information and to register, visit

30 May-2 Jun 2016

10th conference of the Francophone Metabolomics and Fluxomics Society (RFMF)
Venue: Montpellier, France

RFMF is pleased to announce the 10th conference of the Francophone Metabolomics and Fluxomics Society (RFMF), to be held in Montpellier between the 30th of May and the 2nd of June 2016. Every year since 2005, this conference gathers scientists who are interested in metabolomics and fluxomics, and more generally in the study of metabolism. This year, the main scientific themes are:
  • Ecotoxicology, environmental metabolomics and microbiology
  • Health: clinical applications, therapeutic monitoring, biomarker determination
  • Agricultural resources and food science
This conference is also a good opportunity to hear about recent developments in analytical methods/hardware and bioinformatics tools in metabolomics and fluxomics. The meeting will include:
  • Plenary lectures by renowned international invited speakers:
    • Prof. Arthur Edison (University of Georgia, USA)
    • Prof. Elizabeth Hill (University of Sussex, UK)
    • Dr. Kris Moreel (University of Gent, Belgium)
    • Dr. Patrick Kiefer (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Oral presentations
  • Flash communications associated with poster sessions
  • Thematic workshops and round-tables
The registration and submission interfaces will open on February 1st 2016. The deadline for abstracts to be considered for oral presentations is April 1st 2016. More information can be obtained on the website of the RFMF conference:

14-17 Jun 2016

Metabolic Phenotyping in Disease Diagnosis and Personalised Health Care
Venue: Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UK

This 3.5-day course aims to provide an overview of metabolic phenotyping including the use of NMR spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry, with insights from the experts at Imperial College and collaborators from all over the world.

Lectures will cover data acquisition and analysis with some advanced statistical workshops for more hands-on participation for attendees. There will also be examples of real life applications from the research at Imperial College and their collaborators.

Objectives include:
  • To understand collaborators from metabolic profiling field
  • To have an overview of metabolic profiling methods and applications
  • To enrich training experience and prepare for further career development
  • To network with researchers from different fields
  • To meet experts from metabolic profiling field
The course is suitable for newcomers to the field of metabolic phenotyping. Please visit our website at

or contact Dr Liz Want ( for further information.

21-24 Jun 2016

Data Analysis for Metabolic Phenotyping
Venue: Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UK

This 3.5-day course aims to provide an overview of data analysis for metabolic phenotyping studies, using data acquired from both liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy.

It combines lectures and tutorial sessions to ensure a thorough understanding of the theory and practical applications.
  • Pre-processing of data acquired via LC-MS and NMR.
  • Basic chemometrics and unsupervised analysis including PCA.
  • Supervised analysis and advanced chemometrics - OPLS and O2PLS
  • Pathway analysis and statistical spectroscopy.
The course does not assume any experience of coding or statistical analysis. Please visit our website at

or contact Dr Tim Ebbels ( for further information.

27-30 Jun 2016

Metabolomics 2016
Venue: Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland

The 12th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society will be held in Dublin from June 27-30, 2016. The conference venue is the Convention Centre Dublin, located conveniently in the city centre with easy access to the airport. In the historic, compact city centre there is lots to do and see, and visitors will love the rich selection of galleries, museums, restaurants, pubs and shops, not to mention the traditionally warm welcome from Dubliners.

The conference programme will cover all aspects of metabolomics under five broad themes: Metabolomics in Nutrition and Food Research, Metabolomics in Health and Disease, Advancing the Field, Environmental, Plant and Model Organisms.

For further details, visit

17-21 Jul 2016

4th Annual Workshop on Metabolomics
Venue: University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

The 4th Annual UAB Metabolomics Workshop, sponsored by the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program, will be held Sunday, July 17 to Thursday, July 21, 2016. Registration is now open ( and will close on April 29, 2016. There will be slots for up to 40 registrants. An R25 grant from the NIGMS provides funding support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Slots are also available for Faculty at all levels who wish to receive training in this rapidly growing complement to biomedical research.

Women, members of under-represented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The metabolome, in distinction to the other –Omics, provides a better assessment of the exposure to the chemicals of life – it is truly intergenomic providing information on “metabolites” coming from ourselves or the model we’re using, the unique, non-human/mammalian compounds we consume as part of our food, compounds generated by the microorganisms that are part of “us”, and other compounds that are in the environments we live in. If ever precision medicine is able to deliver what is claimed it will, it has to include the metabolome context in which genes and proteins are operating.

The themes in this fourth year of the workshop are:
  1. Design of a metabolomics experiment
  2. Sample stability and extraction methods
  3. Analytical systems (nuclear magnetic resonance and gas- and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry)
    • Targeted metabolomics
    • Untargeted metabolomics
    • Quantitative metabolomics
  4. Pre-processing of analytical data (Mzmine 2 and XCMSonline and Chenomx)
  5. Statistical analysis of the data (MetaboAnalyst, Simca, SAS)
  6. Metabolite databases (METLIN, HMDB, LIPIDMAPS, PubChem, ChemSpider)
  7. Identification of metabolites (MetaboSearch, MSMS analysis)
  8. Metabolite pathway analysis (Mummichog, KEGG, GeneGo, Ingenuity)
  9. Advanced elective sessions allow attendees to fine tune their training experience
    • Imaging mass spectrometry
    • isotope ratio analysis
    • Ion mobility
    • Using metabolomics software at the command line and based programs
For further details, visit

12-23 Sep 2016

2016 International Summer Sessions in Metabolomics
Venue: Campus UC Davis, CA, USA

The course will include:
  • Study design, including pitfall analysis and hidden biases in studies from microbial, plant, mouse and human cohort research
  • Sample preparation and quality control
  • In-laboratory detailed discussions standard operating procedures for GC-MS and LC-MS data acquisitions
  • Targeted metabolomics, including monitoring charts and use of isotope labeled internal standards
  • Exercises on flux analysis in cancer cells by isotope tracer analysis
  • Exercises on identification of unknowns by cheminformatics software workflows (incl. CFM-ID, MassFrontier, and various databases and small software routines)
  • Untargeted data processing and exercises on MZmine and MS-DIAL software
  • Data normalizations and transformations with and without internal standards and Quality Controls
  • Multivariate and univariate statistics (incl. Devium, MetaboAnalyst and other software)
  • Pathway mapping (incl. MetaboAnalyst and MetaMapR)
For further details, visit

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


Metabolomics Jobs

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 four issues (eight weeks) unless the position is filled prior to that date.

Jobs Offered

Job Title Employer Location Posted Closes Source
Postdoctoral Associate - Biochemistry
University of Florida
Main Campus, Gainesville, FL, USA 2-May-2016 2-Jun-2016
University of Florida
Postdoctoral Associate Position in Metabolomics
Yale University New Haven, USA 28-Apr-2016
Yale University
Field Application Specialist Metabolomics/Mass spectrometry (East Coast)
BIOCRATES Life Sciences
East Coast, USA 26-Apr-2016
BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG
Metabolomics Method Development Specialist
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA 19-Apr-2016
Metabolomics Society Jobs
Postdoctoral Scientist
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada 13-Apr-2016
The Metabolomics Innovation Centre
Research Postdoctoral Scientist
Beaumont Health System Michigan, USA 31-Mar-2016
Beaumont Health System
Postdoctoral Position in Tumor Metabolism
Michigan State University  East Lansing, MI USA 16-Mar-2016 Until filled Metabolomics Society
Assistant or Associate Professor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE, USA 4-Mar-2016 Until filled Metabolomics Society

Jobs Wanted

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

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