Published in partnership between
TMIC and the Metabolomics Society

Issue 39 - November 2014


Online version of this newsletter:

Welcome to the thirty-ninth 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 MxP® Heart Score, a metabolomics-based biomarker for the early detection of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, and a metabolomics interview with Darren Creek of Monash University.

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

Chenomx --
                                Metabolite Discovery & Measurement
Chenomx Inc.

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Metabolomics Society Logo

Metabolomics Society News


11th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society
Location: San Francisco, USA
Date: June 29 - July 2, 2015

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:

Since the beginning of the scheme this year, the Society has agreed support for 8 conferences and meetings, mainly through provision of student travel awards and prizes, summarized as follows.

Funding Type
RSC-MetSoc Analytical Tools for Cutting Edge Metabolomics
London, UK
30 April 2014
Travel awards and prizes
Metabomeeting London, UK 10-12 Sep 2014
Travel awards and prizes
RFMF Annual Meeting
Lyon, France
19-21 May 2014
Travel awards and prizes
Colorado Biological MS society
Denver, USA
7-10 Oct 2014
Plenary speaker travel
Metabolomics Australia/ ANZMN Workshop
Melbourne, Australia
28-31 Oct 2014
Travel awards and prizes
Merlion Metabolomics Workshop
19-21 Nov 2014
Small event (lunch)
RFMF/Merlion Metabolomics Workshop
Singapore 19-21 Nov 2014 Travel awards and prizes
PANIC (Practical Applications of NMR in Industry Conference)
La Jolla, USA
9-12 Feb 2015
Travel awards and prizes


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. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please, feel free to contact us by email:

Three new EMN committee members!
We have received many excellent applications from early career researchers working in metabolomics and who wish to join the EMN committee. Following a successful selection process, the EMN committee is delighted to announce that three new members have been selected to join us:
We are looking forward to fruitful collaborations and active participation at Metabolomics 2015. If you missed the announcement to join the EMN committee, but would like to play an active role in the EMN, please contact us.

EMN asks you:
The EMN would like to know your opinion on workshop topics for which you would come to San Francisco in 2015! After successful workshops in Tsuruoka this year, we are looking for new exciting topics. Moreover, we are planning to organize webinars and would like to know what you are interested in signing up for. Speak up and send us feedback at! To facilitate your feedback we present two questions here that we would like to have your opinions on; however, all input is welcome!
  1. What kind of workshop topics would make you book a (return) flight to San Francisco to attend the Metabolomics 2015 meeting?
  2. What style of webinars are you expecting?
  • Lectures/Mini presentations (opportunity to discuss topics about the basic sciences and applications of metabolomics)
  • Debate Sessions (Opportunity for two speakers to give brief presentations on topics such as, but not limited to, ‘to normalise or not?’, ‘to use heat maps or not?’ and ‘GC vs. LC’)
  • Training workshops (Informal/ formal training sessions on practical aspects and protocols used within metabolomics)
  • Ad hoc sessions (Opportunity for early career post docs to present work and receive feedback from metabolomics community)
Membership News

Membership renewal for 2015 now available!
Membership of the Society is based on the calendar year and this year’s membership will end December 31st 2014. All current members will need to renew their membership to stay in good standing. You can renew your membership now for 2015 here. Remember to renew early to take advantage of our early bird discounted registration fees. Join now and save some money!

We hope that you have enjoyed being part of and benefitted from the considerable expansion of the Metabolomics Society during the past few years, and will remain a loyal member of our growing community. As the society continues to expand, we expect to be able to offer further membership benefits including discounted member registration at the 11th Annual Metabolomics Society Conference in San Francisco. Student members and Early Career members with over 3 months standing are also able to apply for our Student Prize and Travel Awards. These provide considerable financial support to allow students and early career researchers to attend several conferences events and workshops including:
Member benefits:
  1. No membership fee increases for 2015.
  2. Networking and information exchange with an international membership of professionals devoted to furthering metabolomics related science: via conferences and workshops, the Society’s many Interest Groups, and social media including the Society’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
  3. Discounted registration fees for Metabolomics Society conferences.
  4. Subscription for electronic access (and optional print copies*) to the Metabolomics journal, the official publication of the Society.
  5. Receive information and electronic notices of metabolomics conferences, workshops and seminars.
  6. Posting of job advertisements on the Society's website and via Twitter.
  7. Automatic delivery of the joint Metabolomics Society/The Metabolomics Innovation Center (TMIC) MetaboNews newsletter with the latest news from the metabolomics world.
  8. Eligibility to nominate individuals for an Honorary Fellowship of the Society** and to vote in Society elections.
  9. Eligibility to stand for Office within the Society**.
  10. Eligibility to apply for travel awards and prizes.
* Additional fee applies, see registration website; Members will also have electronic access to all issues and therefore print copies of back issues will not be available to Members who register late in the calendar year.
** Not applicable for Student Members.


Australian & New Zealand Metabolomics Network (ANZMN)

There are a number of publications written/edited by Australian and New Zealand Researches to report on this month. First up, we have the upcoming "Metabolomics and Systems Biology in Human Health and Medicine", edited by Dr. Oliver Jones from RMIT University. You can see more on this at if you are interested in how metabolomics can influence human health and medicine research. The 2nd new book is entitled "Metabolic Flux Analysis" and is edited by Professor Lars Nielsen, leader of the Metabolomics Australia node of the University of Queensland (
ANZMN researchers also contributed to the new Agilent Academia Newsletter for the South Asia Pacific and Korea region. The idea for said newsletter is to strengthen networking opportunities between industry and academics. The full newsletter can be seen at and Jessica Pandohee et al. from RMIT University wrote the article on 2D HPLC which appears the application spotlight section.

Korea Metabolomics Society (KoMetS)

2014 International Symposium on MS-based Metabolomics
On June 30, right after the 10th Annual conference of the Metabolomics Society, a special symposium was held at EWHA Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea, organized by Agilent Technology (Korea). Two invited speakers, Professors, Oliver Fiehn (UC Davis, USA) and Do Yup Lee (Kookmin University, Korea), presented “Basics and pitfalls of MS-based metabolomics” and “MS imaging analysis”, respectively. More than 150 attendees joined the symposium and had a good opportunity to be presented with a comprehensive overview from experimental design to data interpretation of metabolomics data. The Korea Metabolomics Society plans to continue the public excitement by holding a workshop on October 6, 2014 with more detailed and specialized topics.

2014 Metabolomics Workshop
On October 10, a metabolomics workshop was held with the title “The bearing metabolomics: from sample preparation to statistics” in the International Conventional Hall of Korea Institute of Science and Technology. More than 100 scientists joined the workshop and had an excellent opportunity to expose themselves to the very fundamentals of cutting-edge technology and information. The first part of the course covered a range of extraction methods and chromatography that were helpful for the experienced as well as beginners. The second part focused on data process and statistical analysis which ranged from univariate analysis to metabolic network analysis. Korea Metabolomics Society plans to organize a statistics portion with more extensive contents for the up-coming annual conference and workshop.


Metabolomics journal, Vol. 10, Issue 5, October 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.


Call for Task Group memberships
In 2013 and 2014 the Board of the Society has established a number of Task Groups which invite society members to contribute and be involved in strategic developments enhancing the field of metabolomics and the society. We are now calling for enthusiastic new members for the Task Groups which bring along commitments and interest in investing time for these exciting developments. In the next few months we will establish a few more Task Groups which will also invite new members. We will report on those in the next month’s newsletter.

If you are interested, please contact Dan Bearden ( or Ute Roessner ( with a short summary of yourself and an interest statement explaining why you are willing to contribute.

The following Task Groups invite new members:

Software Spotlight

Metabolomics Spotlight

Metanomics Health Logo

MxP® Heart Score—a metabolomics-based biomarker for the early detection of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF)

"The new heart failure biomarker we jointly validated with Metanomics GmbH/Metanomics Health GmbH has the potential to improve the management of this devastating disease significantly. It is showing superior performance as compared to a reference biomarker currently used to evaluate patients already showing symptoms. Of note, the newly identified biomarker may also be useful in patients with early stages of the disease."

Prof. Dr. Hugo Katus, Head of the Cardiology Department of Ruprecht-Karls-University

Feature article contributed by Dr. Philipp Schatz, Head of Biomarker Program, Metanomics Health GmbH, Tegeler Weg 33, 10589 Berlin, Germany

In the Western world, an aging population, a sedentary lifestyle, and a rising number of cardiac disease comorbidities are leading to an increasing prevalence of congestive heart failure (CHF accounts for 5% of all hospital admissions) and present a heavy burden to health care systems. In particular, subjects over the age of 65 with additional risk factors, such as elevated arterial blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and/or type 2 diabetes have a high risk of developing CHF (prevalence up to 20%)1,2,3. Since CHF develops long before the onset of signs and symptoms, accurate early detection and, in the case of HFrEF, pharmacological and behavioral interventions are of the utmost importance. However, screening tools for left ventricular systolic dysfunction available to the primary care physician suffer from unacceptably high false-positive rates and lead to a high number of patients being recommended for costly follow-up procedures. Thus, HFrEF screening programs have not yet been established.

Researchers from the University Clinics of Heidelberg, Berlin, Kiel, and from Metanomics GmbH/ Metanomics Health GmbH, Berlin have identified and validated a new biomarker for the improved management of this common, costly, disabling, and potentially deadly condition by enrolling and analyzing more than 800 CHF patients in different disease stages together with 300 healthy controls (Figure 1). A metabolite-based biomarker on top of NT-proBNP for the detection of HFrEF was identified and validated. The new biomarker is capable of detecting left ventricular systolic dysfunction with high precision, particularly in the early disease stages. This new diagnostic biomarker shows a performance superior to the reference marker NT-proBNP alone (at a comparable negative predictive value, the positive predictive value for the new marker almost doubles, Table 1) and has in the meantime been developed into an LC-MS/MS CLIA-ready assay.

Study Design – flow

Figure 1. Study Design – flow chart
1NYHA: Classification according to the New York Heart Association, 2HFrEF: Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, 3DCM: Dilated cardiomyopathy, 4ICM: Ischemic cardiomyopathy, and 5HFpEF: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

Clinical performance of the CLIA-ready
          metabolite-based early detection biomarker in patients with
          heart failure

Table 1. Clinical performance of the CLIA-ready metabolite-based early detection biomarker in patients with heart failure in general (CHF, all patients)4 and in patients with systolic dysfunction (HFrEF, all patients)5). Abbreviations: AUC, area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC); Sens., sensitivity; Spec., specificity; LR+, positive likelihood ratio; LR−, negative likelihood ratio; NPV, negative predictive value; PPV, positive predictive value. *Prevalence of heart failure in the Medicare-eligible population of the US was 9-12% between 1994 and 2003 and is assumed here for the purpose of estimating PPV and NPV with 10%, half of which are affected by HFrEF1,2.

The new HFrEF screening biomarker indicates alterations in numerous metabolic pathways, involving lipids and amino acids in CHF patients. The most consistent alterations across centres were observed for lipid classes including complex lipids such as sphingolipids. In addition to the significant clinical value of early HFrEF diagnosis, the combination of several metabolites with the commercially available NT-proBNP test has the potential to overcome the limitations of single feature markers in a complex disease such as HFrEF. The new diagnostic biomarker reflects multiple pathology-associated metabolic changes in addition to the results achieved by the commercially available NT-proBNP test, and is thus more robust in a diverse group of subjects, many of which suffer from comorbidities.

For routine CLIA-ready testing, a diagnostic assay has been developed in parallel. This prototype assay is based on an optimized LC-MS/MS technology for selected analytes. The new CLIA-ready assay was developed using samples from the original validation cohort, split into a training set and a test set comprised of 410 and 219 patients, respectively. Figure 2 shows NT-proBNP concentrations and the biomarker prediction scores for the new metabolite-based marker for all HFrEF subjects and healthy controls in the combined training and test set. A cutoff value of 0.677 was chosen for the biomarker prediction score to match the sensitivity with that of the NT-proBNP test alone with respect to the detection of HFrEF in the training set. As shown in Figure 2, the new metabolite-based CLIA-ready assay resulted in fewer healthy controls (blue) being misclassified as diseased compared with NT-proBNP alone. This increase in specificity at comparable sensitivity results in a strongly increased diagnostic likelihood ratio and PPV, rendering the new metabolite-based biomarker suitable for heart failure screening programs.

Scatter plot of the
          prediction score of the new metabolite-based HFrEF marker
Figure 2. Scatter plot of the prediction score of the new metabolite-based HFrEF marker + NT-proBNP vs. the plasma concentration of NT-proBNP alone in subjects with reduced systolic function (LVEF < 50%) and in healthy controls. Solid lines represent the cutoff values for NT-proBNP (125 pg/ml, vertical line) and the new metabolite-based biomarker (prediction score 0.677, horizontal line). Dark blue circled control subjects are misclassified by NT-proBNP and are correctly identified using the metabolic test. Light blue circled control subjects are false positives using the metabolic test and are correctly identified as healthy by NT proBNP.

The new CLIA-ready assay generates quantitative results. Positive and negative controls are prepared by lyophilization of different amounts of plasma to meet the positive and negative cutoffs for all metabolites. Samples for the daily quality control of the instrument performance are prepared by extracting commercially available plasma with extraction solvent. The improvement in diagnostic performance of the new CLIA-ready assay over NT-proBNP only is shown in Table 1. Details of the methods will soon be published in a peer-reviewed publication.

Data were derived from a large heart failure cohort study conducted between 2008 and 2013. The multicenter trial was co-funded by the German Network for Genome Research (NGFN). Currently a peer review publication is being prepared.

Further details of the MxP® Heart Score biomarker were presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Meeting in Amsterdam on September 4th, 2013.

Metanomics Health is currently seeking academic and diagnostic partners to further develop and market its HFrEF screening biomarker.

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 with the service business, Metanomics Health is funding and conducting a comprehensive clinical biomarker program, addressing a wide range of questions with high unmet medical needs.

Find out more about Metanomics Health GmbH at

  1. Bertoni AG, Hundley WG, Massing MW, et al. (2004). Diabetes Care 27(3):699-703.
  2. McMurray JJ, Pfeffer MA (2005). "Heart failure". Lancet 365(9474):1877-89.
  3. Dickstein K, Cohen-Solal A, Filippatos G, et al. (2008). Eur J Heart Fail. 10(10):933-89.
  4. CHF all patients, left ventricle wall thickness > 55 mm AND LVEF <50% OR >50% stenosis AND LVEF <50% OR Cardiac septum > 11 mm AND posterior wall thickness > 11, all patients.
  5. Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction ≤ 50%.

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 Darren Creek.

Lecturer, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Darren Creek


Dr Darren Creek is a lecturer in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Darren completed his PhD in pharmaceutics at Monash University in 2007, which supported the discovery of novel antimalarial drugs, arterolane, and OZ439. He then conducted clinical malaria research in Uganda and returned to Australia to investigate drug metabolism at the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation. Darren moved to Glasgow University on a NHMRC fellowship, where he played a major role in the implementation of the Scottish Metabolomics Facility. Dr Creek continued his metabolomics research at the University of Melbourne and was recently recruited to Monash University to start a metabolomics research group investigating mechanisms of drug action. Darren has over 30 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of parasitology and metabolomics, and was elected as a director of the metabolomics society in 2013.

Metabolomics Interview (MN, MetaboNews; DC, Darren Creek)

MN: How did you get involved in metabolomics?

DC: After completing my PhD in the field of drug discovery for malaria, I was keen to investigate the impact of drugs on the intracellular biochemistry of parasites. I embarked on a world tour of parasitology labs to find the ideal post-doc position, and fortunately was advised to make a short detour to Glasgow to visit Prof Michael Barrett. I was quickly convinced that metabolomics was the ideal technology, and it suited my background in LC-MS and pharmacology. I moved to Glasgow the following year to work with Prof Barrett on a number of successful metabolomics projects. Now, 6 years later and back in Melbourne, I am excited to continue to use metabolomics research to support new drug discovery and development.

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

DC: Metabolomics is an incredibly powerful approach. It allows us to measure biochemical perturbations in an untargeted and unbiased manner—it is a true ‘discovery’ science. In pharmacological studies this allows us to discover the mechanism(s) of drug action with no prior knowledge of the drug target. We have discovered a number of mechanisms of action and resistance in microbial pathogens, which would have probably gone undetected with classical targeted approaches (some examples reviewed in Creek DJ & Barrett, MP. Parasitology. 2014). Other exciting findings have included the discovery of unanticipated metabolic pathways and enzyme activities (e.g., Creek DJ et al., Anal Chem. 2012; Oppenheim RD et al., PloS Pathogens. 2014). These exciting new discoveries were only possible due to the untargeted nature of metabolomics analysis.

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

DC: My metabolomics laboratory was established this year at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) to underpin the advancement of systems pharmacology in the university. MIPS is a leading pharmaceutical research institute and metabolomics is adding a new level of understanding to the drug discovery programs, both within the university and in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. We are primarily using metabolomics to investigate the molecular mechanisms of drug action, with a strong focus on malaria, neglected tropical diseases and multi-drug resistant bacteria. We are also developing advanced metabolomics methods using chemical biology, synchrotron FTIR and Raman imaging techniques.

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

DC: Metabolomics is an established field gaining rapid momentum in Australia. We have a strong mix of new and expanding metabolomics and lipidomics-focused laboratories, in both service facilities and independent research groups. On a more exciting note, there are more and more ‘end-users’ across biomedical, environmental and agricultural sectors of academic and government departments introducing metabolomics into their research programs. These collaborations involve many early-career researchers and the future for metabolomics in Australia looks bright. The Australian and New Zealand Metabolomics Network (ANZMN) and Metabolomics Australia are supporting this growing metabolomics community with education and training opportunities.

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

DC: The ultimate goal of my metabolomics research is to enable the discovery of drugs to treat deadly diseases, in particular infectious diseases that affect many of the world’s poorest citizens. Metabolomics approaches have the potential to significantly improve the drug discovery process, all the way from biochemical studies of target identification and natural product discovery, to biomarkers of clinical pharmacology and toxicology.

My biggest contribution to the metabolomics field to date has been the IDEOM software for MS-based metabolomics analysis ( The user-friendly interface, extensive data filtering and metabolite annotation features have underpinned it’s popularity. (see MetaboNews August 2012:

The improvement of methods for metabolite identification is an ongoing pursuit for many of us, and it is good to see increasing application of retention-time prediction for metabolite identification (Creek DJ, Jankevics A, et al., Anal Chem. 2011) and stable-isotope labeling in metabolomics (Creek DJ, Chokkathukalam A, et al., Anal Chem 2012). I expect that stable-isotope labeling will become an integral component of many metabolomics studies in the near future.

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

DC: One of the greatest strengths of metabolomics is that it allows both hypothesis-generation and hypothesis-testing. It is truly a discovery science, and can be integrated with many other scientific approaches to generate and test hypotheses. Furthermore, metabolomics allows a system-wide investigation of metabolism, providing a more accurate phenotypic analysis than the reductionist view that has previously underpinned biochemistry. The incredible amount of useful biochemical information that can be gleaned from a single, well-designed, metabolomics experiment continues to fascinate me. Whilst some would argue that it is expensive, I think that overall it is a very efficient way to conduct research.

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

DC: One of the greatest barriers is our ability to mechanistically interpret metabolomics data. This barrier is largely due to the challenge of metabolite identification. Significant advances have been made on this front in recent years, and I think the identification tools (hardware, software and databases) will continue to improve with time. A key advance in recent months has been the re-invigoration of the Metabolomics Society Metabolite Identification Task Group. As identification methods improve and standardize, we will soon be able to move beyond common pathways and PCA plots, to provide in-depth biochemical interpretations of system-wide metabolic measurements. There are some impressive examples in the literature that demonstrate the ability of metabolomics to define new aspects of biology, and I hope to see more high-impact metabolomics work in the future as advances in metabolite identification provide the ability to derive new biochemical insight from our data.

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

DC: Continued technological improvements will advance the field, although in 2014 I don’t believe we are significantly limited by technology. Software is the possible exception, particularly with regards to metabolite identification and biochemical inference, although this is advancing rapidly. The major limitation to the continued expansion of metabolomics is the education and training required to fully understand and interpret metabolomics studies. Few undergraduate degrees focus on small molecule metabolism, and I doubt that any would cover the necessary combination of biochemistry, analytical chemistry, statistics and metabolic modelling. Whilst few (if anyone) can be expert in all these fields, we need to motivate more students from each of these disciplines to undergo the necessary basic training to understand all aspects of metabolomics science. It is great to see a recent surge in metabolomics education and training from local and regional metabolomics centres and societies, and at an international level through the Early-career Members Network of the Metabolomics Society. This will enable the next generation to apply and interpret metabolomics studies in more depth, and form efficient cross-disciplinary collaborations that can take metabolomics to the next level.

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

DC: I expect that metabolomics-based research will be strongly funded into the future as systems biology becomes the accepted paradigm for biological research. It can be challenging to fund the hypothesis-generating, discovery aspect of metabolomics studies in an environment where funding bodies want a guaranteed outcome for their investment. On the other hand, in metabolomics we get opportunities to add specific expertise to larger collaborative research grants, with the convenient side-benefit that new hypotheses can often be generated from the wealth of data obtained in these larger well-funded programs. I anticipate that metabolomics funding will further improve as more high-impact research and industrial applications convince funding agencies, and the scientific community in general, that systems biology approaches, and metabolomics in particular, are excellent value-for-money.

MN: What role can metabolomics standards play?

DC: Standards are absolutely essential. This includes standards for sample preparation, analytical method development, system suitability, quality control, metabolite identification, data processing and reporting. Metabolite levels are highly sensitive to environmental and genetic factors, often introducing unwanted variability into our data. More standardisation of methods (sample prep, analysis and data processing) would increase confidence in data quality, allow integration of multiple studies, and facilitate accessibility to new users of metabolomics. However, standard methods cannot be enforced across the diverse array of metabolomics applications, and standardisation would hinder the introduction of exciting new methods, hardware and software. In such a fast-moving field, the compromise is to enforce rigorous reporting standards, in particular for metabolite identification, data quality and experimental metadata. The metabolomics standards initiative laid the framework for these standards and new task groups have recently been instituted by the metabolomics society to update and encourage the implementation of these standards. I encourage all metabolomics researchers to interact with these task groups to ensure that the updated standards are applicable to modern metabolomics science in all its forms.

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

DC: We are in very exciting times for metabolomics. The ability to routinely measure small biomolecules in a global manner allows us to investigate metabolism on an unprecedented scale. Now that high quality metabolomics methods have been established in many labs around the world, I expect metabolomics to continue to have an increased impact on many fields of scientific research, and ultimately, to benefit society into the future.

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

Biomarker Beacon

Biomarker Beacon

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

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

In the following recent study, a metabolomics-based approach was used to identify biomarkers associated with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder (IC) syndrome.
Wen H, Lee T, You S, Park SH, Song H, Eilber KS, Anger JT, Freeman MR, Park S, Kim J. Urinary Metabolite Profiling Combined with Computational Analysis Predicts Interstitial Cystitis-Associated Candidate Biomarkers. J Proteome Res. 2014 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 25353990]

Symptoms of IC include urinary frequency, urgency, and bladder pain. Reliable biomarkers for IC are sorely lacking. In this study, the researchers sought to identify non-invasive biomarkers for IC. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) combined with Principal Component Analysis (PCA), they analyzed urine samples from female IC patients and controls. They identified 140 NMR peaks that were significantly different in IC patients compared to controls. Of these 140 metabolite peaks, they singled out eight that represented the strongest signature of IC; they annotated three of these peaks as tyramine, the pain-related neuromodulator, and two peaks as 2-oxoglutarate. These NMR results were confirmed by a separate mass spectrometry study, where researchers identified significantly elevated levels of tyramine and 2-oxoglutarate. These preliminary results suggest that a metabolomics-based analysis of urine may prove to be a valid approach to identifying biomarkers related to IC.
Metabolomics Current Contents

Metabolomics Current Contents

Recently published papers in metabolomics:

Metabolomics Events

Metabolomics Events

10-11 Nov 2014

Metabolomic Approaches: Advanced Analytical Tools
Challenges, Perspectives and Applications
Venue: Area della Ricerca (CNR) Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica (IRP), Corso Stati Uniti, 4 – 35127 Padova, ltaly

lnvited Speakers:
Anisha Wijeyesekera (London Imperial College, United Kingdom)
Oscar Yanes (Centre for Omic Sciences, Spain)
Ron Wehrens (Wageningen UR, The Netherlands)
Matteo Stocchero (S-IN Soluzioni Informatiche, ltaly)

Download the Event Flyer

For further details, please visit

13 Nov 2014

5th Danish Symposium on Metabolomics
Venue: Auditorium A2-70.03, University of Copenhagen, Faculty Science, Thorvaldsensvej 40, Frederiksberg C
Date: Thursday 13th November 8.30 – 16.30

Organizers: Nikoline J. Nielsen and Jan H. Christensen, University of Copenhagen and Kim Højlys-Larsen, Symphogen.

Metabolomics concerns the comprehensive characterization of small molecule metabolites in biological systems. It can provide an overview of the metabolic status and global biochemical events associated with a cellular or biological system.

The main topic of the 5th Danish Symposium on Metabolomics is metabolomics research in Denmark; peak annotation and identification. We encourage researcher from Danish institutions to submit an abstract for oral presentation of 15 min duration. As last year we will include a poster session and we urge participants to bring posters with metabolomics related research. Oral presentation and poster abstracts should be submitted to no later than 27th October.

For further details, please consult the event flyer.

14 Nov 2014

1st Nordic Symposium on Multidimensional Chromatography
Venue: Auditorium A2-70.03, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Thorvaldsensvej 40, Frederiksberg C
Date: Friday 14th November 8.30 – 16.30

Organizers: Jan H. Christensen and Nikoline J Nielsen, University of Copenhagen, Tuulia Hyotylainen, Steno Diabetes Center A/S, and Asger B. Hansen, Haldor Topsøe A/S.

The peak capacity of one-dimensional chromatographic systems such as LC, GC, CE and SFC is often insufficient to provide baseline separation of compounds in complex mixtures such as in environmental, biological, petrochemical, and food samples, but also in the pharmaceutical industry one-dimensional systems are often not able to provide sufficient separation of impurities. Multidimensional chromatography allows separation of complex mixtures by using multiple columns with different stationary phases. These columns are coupled with an interface that allows the fractions from the first column to be selectively transferred to other columns for additional separation. The main topics of the 1st Nordic Symposium on Multidimensional Chromatography cover the fundamentals of comprehensive multidimensional chromatography, where all fractions from the first (or second) column are transferred to the second (or third) column for additional separation. Four international experts will give 6 hours of lectures.

For further details, please consult the event flyer.

17-18 Nov 2014

Waters Metabolic Profiling Deminar in collaboration with Imperial College London
Venue: London, UK

Waters is happy to announce, in collaboration with Imperial College London, a special 1 & 1/2 day metabolic profiling event.

On day one attendees will meet at Heathrow for lunch and an introduction to the collaboration between Imperial College London & Waters. Guests will be transferred to the MRC NIHR National Phenome Centre where they will have the opportunity for a guided tour to see large scale metabolic phenotyping in action.

Day two will take place at the Imperial International Phenome Training Centre (IIPTC), Imperial College South Kensington campus, where participants will listen to guest speakers from Imperial College London and interact with both Imperial & Waters scientists who run the state of the art instrumentation through a series of planned interactive laboratory workshops.

In addition, registrants are encouraged to stay on for a few more days and participate in the “Metabolic Phenotyping in Disease Diagnosis & Personalised Health Care” course hosted by Imperial College London at the Imperial International Phenome Training Centre. This course offers seminars in the techniques and applications of LC-MS, GC-MS, MS imaging and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in the field of metabolic profiling, as well as metabolite identification and multivariate statistics. This is complemented by hands-on workshops focusing on data analysis using statistical techniques such as PCA and O2-PLSDA.

Learn more on Waters metabolomics and lipidomics.

For further details, please visit the event website.

18-21 Nov 2014

Workshop in Metabolic Phenotyping in Disease Diagnosis & Personalised Health Care
Venue: Imperial College London, London, UK

A lecture based course detailing 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.

Download the full programme here: Metabolic Profiling Disease Diagnosis

For further details, please visit the workshop website.

19-20 Nov 2014

Separation Science Asia 2014
Venue: Biopolis, Singapore

Taking place at Biopolis, Singapore this two-day conference offers a new format for 2014. Over the two days of the event, key separation science experts will provide comprehensive, tutorial-style presentations covering a combination of best practice, troubleshooting and method development. Each topic will be broken down into easy-to-follow manageable sections allowing attendees to build up their understanding in a logical and effective manner over the two day conference.

You will gain valuable practical, technical and solutions-based knowledge for getting the most out of your HPLC, GC, MS and sample preparation methods, improving your skills, knowledge and job productivity. In addition, you will be able to interact directly with these technology leaders at the conference:

Click here for more details on the programme.

For further details, please visit the conference website.

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.

25-28 Nov 2014

Hands On Data Analysis for Metabolic Profiling
Venue: Imperial College London, London, UK

This 4 day course provides a comprehensive overview of data analysis for metabolic profiling studies, using data acquired from both liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy. The course is taught by expert practitioners who have developed many of the approaches used, and takes place at one of the world’s leading research centres for metabolic profiling. Participants will come away with an understanding of data analysis tools and approaches which they will be able to implement in their own laboratories.

The course combines lectures and tutorial sessions to ensure a thorough understanding of both theoretical and practical applications. Throughout there will be an emphasis on understanding concepts rather than detailed mathematical derivations. No prior training in metabolic profiling or chemometrics is required.

Day 1: Introductory lectures and tutorials regarding the pre-processing of data acquired via MS and NMR.
Day 2: Lectures and tutorials to introduce basic chemometrics tools such as PCA and a look ahead to new technologies.
Day 3: Lectures and tutorials regarding the supervised and advanced chemometrics techniques e.g. PLS, OPLS and O2PLS, including tips and tricks for practical application.
Day 4: Using pathway based tools to interpret results and application of statistical tools to metabolite identification, e.g. STOCSY.

Online booking:

Please visit our website at, contact Dr Tim Ebbels ( or Dr Elizabeth Want on 0207 594 3023 ( for further information.

For further details, please visit

3-5 Dec 2014

2nd Australian Lipid 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 3-5 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".

  • Open: 1 August, 2014
  • Early bird: Closes 28 October, 2014
For further details, please see the event flyer or visit

11-13 Dec 2014

2nd ICAN (Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition) Conference Series 2014
Venue: St James and Albany Hotel, Paris, France
Diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases

Further Information:
Download the Flyer.

For further details, visit the conference website.

16-20 Feb 2015

EMBO Practical Course on Metabolomics Bioinformatics for Life Scientists
Venue: European Bioinformatics Institute, CB10 1SD, United Kingdom (Google Maps)


Participation: Open application with selection

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


This course is aimed at PhD students, post-docs and researchers with at least two or three year’s experience in the field of metabolomics who are seeking to improve their skills in metabolomics data analysis. Participants ideally must have working experience using R (including a basic understanding of the syntax and ability to manipulate objects).

For more details, visit

28 Mar to 1 Apr 2015

Plant Metabolism Session at the ASBMB Annual Meeting
Venue: Boston, Massachusetts

Plant Metabolism will be a 4 day-session at the ASBMB meeting: and

The abstract submission site is open and accepting abstracts at

Short talks will be chosen from the submitted abstracts. Volunteered abstract submission deadline is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2014 (a strict deadline for short talk programming consideration). Plant Metabolism abstracts should be submitted using ASBMB Abstract Topic Categories # 2350 – 2360.

For more information, click here and 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

You are invited to join us for Metabolomics 2015, the official annual meeting of the Metabolomics Society.

This stunning world-class venue will host the most exciting metabolomics conference of 2015. Your host institution, the University of California, Davis, will gladly welcome scientists from all around the world to feel at home and relax while hearing of the latest innovations and breakthroughs in metabolomics.

Details to follow. Please check back soon!

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.

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

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
Research Fellow in Molecular Toxicology
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK
University of Birmingham
Postdoctoral Researcher in Metabolomics of Pulmonary Medicine
Karolinska Institutet
Solna, Sweden
Karolinska Institutet
Research Fellow in -Omics
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School
Boston, USA 16-Oct-2014
Metabolomics Society Jobs
Masters Student - The Science of Adductomics: Application to Gestational Diabetes
Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand 14-Oct-2014
Metabolomics Society Jobs
Plant Systems Biology position
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
McGill University
Research Fellow - Metabolomics
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN, United States 15-Sep-2014

Mayo Clinic
Research Engineer in Metabolomics
The Roullier Group Dinard, France 11-Sep-2014

Réseau Français de Métabolomique et Fluxomique
Research Programmer
University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 2-Sep-2014

University of Alberta
PhD Studentship
International Pregnancy Research Alliance (IPRA)
Chongqing, China 27-Aug-2014
Metabolomics Society Jobs
Mass Spectrometry Technician International Pregnancy Research Alliance (IPRA) Chongqing, China 27-Aug-2014 31-Dec-2014 Metabolomics Society Jobs

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.
  • Postdoctoral position in an international metabolomics research group where I will be able to gain valuable experience in all aspects of metabolomics to eventually be able to get my own group going: [Candidate's CV] [Candidate's LinkedIn Profile]


  • For Sale (ex-lease equipment): Waters Synapt G2 Mass Spectrometer (2010), including 3 months warranty by Waters.
    • LockSpray Source with ESI probe
    • NanoLockSpray with Universal sprayer
    • MaxEnt V4.1
    • Transform V4.1
    • Mass Lynx v4.1
    • Available with Ion Mobility Upgrade if required

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