MetaboNews -- November 2017
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Published in partnership between
TMIC and the Metabolomics Society

Issue 75 - November 2017


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Welcome to the seventy-fifth issue of MetaboNews, a monthly newsletter published in partnership between The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC, and the international Metabolomics Society (, to keep metabolomics researchers and other professionals informed about new technologies, software, databases, events, job postings, conferences, training opportunities, interviews, publications, awards, and other newsworthy items concerning metabolomics. MetaboNews represents the one-stop-shop for the very latest and most critical news about the science of metabolomics. In this issue, we feature a Metabolomics Spotlight article by Philip Britz-McKibbin of McMaster University (Canada) titled "Exogenous Metabolites in Sweat of Cystic Fibrosis Infants Provide New Insights into Disease Pathophysiology".

This issue of MetaboNews is supported by:

Chenomx -- Metabolite Discovery &

Chenomx Inc.

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Metabolomics Society News


Metabolomics 2018
The 14th Annual Conference of the Metabolomics Society will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA, on June 25-28, 2018. The Society’s annual conference consistently features the latest and greatest advances in metabolomics science. In 2018, we converge on Seattle, a world-class metropolis set within the wild, beautiful, natural surroundings of the Pacific Northwest. Further details will be released regularly at
Proposals for Workshops, to be held on the Sunday and Monday mornings before the conference, are currently being accepted until November 10 at (scroll to the bottom).
A Call for Abstracts will be made in late November/early December.
We look forward to seeing you at the exciting Metabolomics 2018 meeting in Seattle!
Seattle, USA

Deadline extension for Expressions of Interest to host the 2020 Metabolomics Conference in Asia
The Metabolomics Society is calling for interested members in the Greater Asia region to express their interest in hosting the 2020 annual Metabolomics Society meeting ( We are extending the deadline of expression of interest (EOI) until 20th December 2017. Please send notice of your interest using this form by the deadline.

You should name individuals who will be key to forming a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), and outline the scientific plan for the conference. The LOC will report to the Metabolomics Society and assist A-S-K staff to select a suitable venue and organize the conference. The tasks of the LOC are to ensure national and regional support for the conference, to assist the Society in administrative planning and, most importantly, to chair and organize the scientific management of the conference, including forming an International Organizing Committee that is responsible for the scientific aspects of the meeting.

Please complete the application form outlining your ideas to maximize the scientific quality and outreach of the conference. For further enquiries, please contact the Society via A-S-K Associates (


Board of Directors
Words from the Chair
For the October Board of Directors meeting, we welcomed Horst Joachim Schirra and Charmion Cruickshank-Quinn to the Board and welcomed back Sastia Putri for another term. For our out-going directors, all the current board members would like to thank Darren Creek for his hard work on the board and in particular for chairing the conference and training committees. We also say goodbye to Stacey Reinke both as a board member and chair of the Early Members Network (EMN), and thank her for all her efforts in heading such a vibrant EMN. For those of you who don’t know our new board members, Horst was one of the co-organizers of the excellent Brisbane meeting (and has a particular fondness for ice cream!) and Charmion is the new chair of the EMN, having already served on the network as a committee member. Sastia will take over the chair of the Conferences Committee while Christoph Junot will chair a new Training Committee (which has unofficially met but is waiting on a change in the bylaws to be formally ratified). I hope that’s all clear; if you do want to contact us, there is a full list of board members and committee members on the Society’s websiteplease do drop us a line if you have any questions.

One of the agenda items was a report on the Society finances by the treasurer, Nichole Reisdorph. The overall message is the Society is in good financial health, helped further by the successful Brisbane meeting in June 2017. We are currently debating whether we should have a "Town Hall Meeting" each year so you, as members, get a feeling for the health of the Society. While this may not be the most thrilling of talks in Seattle, the plan is to have a Society presentation where you get to see how we are doing financially, and hear news about new affiliates and the work of our task groups. We hope this will encourage members to feel the society really is for them, and maybe we will be welcoming you to the board in the not too distant future!

Early-career Members Network (EMN)
2017-2018 EMN Committee
The EMN Committee is pleased to announce our six new members: Dara Daygon (Australia), Ricardo Heredia (UK), Christina Jones (USA), Zhanlong Mei (Denmark), Isabel Orf (UK), and Umaporn Uawisetwathana (Thailand). They will join six committee members who will continue their term for a second year: Tim Causon (Austria), Romanas Chaleckis (Japan), Charmion Cruickshank-Quinn (USA, new Chair), Johannes Fahrmann (USA), Julia Kuligowski (Spain), and Candice Ulmer (USA). Krista Zanetti will continue her role as the EMN Advisor; Stacey Reinke will join her in an advisory role as Past Chair.

We would like to cordially thank outgoing committee members: Devin Benheim (Australia), Nicola Gray (UK), Aoife O'Gorman (Ireland), Stacey Reinke (Australia), Jan Stanstrup (Denmark), Fidele Tugizimana (South Africa), and Baljit Ubhi (USA).

With our new committee members in place, we are currently allocating roles and working groups that will continue developing our webinar series, conference workshops, and new outreach activities for early career members. We would love to hear any suggestions at and would encourage you to visit our Facebook page.

New to metabolomics or stuck with a problem? We recommend Metabolomics wiki and Metabolomics Forum.

EMN Webinar series
Be on the lookout for emails from the Society with additional information on the next EMN webinar series session.

All the videos for the EMN webinar series from 2015, 2016, and 2017 can be found on the Metabolomics Society Website.


Metabolomics Spotlight

Exogenous Metabolites in Sweat of Cystic Fibrosis Infants Provide New Insights into Disease Pathophysiology

Feature article contributed by Philip Britz-McKibbin, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, McMaster University, Canada

Human sweat represents a unique biospecimen for deriving new insights into human health and environmental exposures. For instance, the sweat chloride test remains the gold standard for confirmatory diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF) as it reflects impaired chloride transport by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). However, sweat chloride suffers limitations for certain infants with ambiguous test results while not providing insights into disease progression that is highly variable among CF patients. In this context, we recently reported the first characterization of the sweat metabolome from screen-positive CF infants and identified novel metabolites associated with disease status that complement sweat chloride testing [1]. This work strived to address two main questions in support of expanded newborn screening programs for CF:
  1. What is the chemical composition of the sweat from screen-positive CF infants as revealed by nontargeted metabolites profiling?
  2. What other small molecules in sweat discriminate affected CF infants from non-affected carriers, which could also shed new insight into CF disease pathophysiology?
We used multisegment injection capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (MSI-CE-MS) as a high throughput platform in metabolomics that is ideal for resolving polar/ionic metabolites from small volumes (2-5 μL) of residual infant sweat samples. In this case, retrospective sweat specimens from a cohort of screen-positive CF infants were analyzed by MSI-CE-MS using an accelerated data workflow for biomarker discovery with quality assurance [
2]. We reported that sweat asparagine and glutamine discriminate between CF affected infants and unaffected carriers, as well as two unknown compounds that were excreted in the sweat at lower concentrations in CF cases. These metabolites were subsequently identified by MS/MS as enzyme-mediated hydrolysis products of the drug, pilocarpine used to stimulate sweat response (i.e., pilocarpic acid), and a metabolite of a ubiquitous phthalate ester plasticizer (i.e., mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate or MEHP) from environmental exposure. As shown in Figure 1, both these exogenous metabolites indicated an underlying deficiency of human paraoxanase in CF infants, an arylesterase/lactonase enzyme known to mediate inflammation and recurrent infections due to bacterial biofilm formation in lungs [1]. In essence, CF patients are at higher risk for paraoxanase deficiency that manifests early in life among asymptomatic CF infants as inferred by altered sweat metabolism, which is likely a result of linkage disequilibrium caused by close proximity of genes encoding for paraoxanases to severe mutations of CFTR [3].

The sweat




                                                          CF infants

Figure 1. The sweat metabolome from screen-positive CF infants revealed a panel of sweat metabolites associated with CF disease status among affected infants (sweat chloride ≥ 60 mM) as compared to unaffected carriers (sweat chloride ≤ 29 mM). Unexpectedly, CF infants were found to exhibit lower excretion of pilocarpic acid, the major drug metabolite following sweat stimulation by pilocarpine. In addition, CF infants also excreted lower concentrations of the ubiquitous plasticizer from environmental exposure, namely mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate or MEHP. Both exogenous metabolites were associated to an underlying deficiency in human paraoxanase that is weakly linked to mutations in the CFTR gene.

In summary, our metabolomics study represents an exciting development in the understanding of the pathophysiology of CF based on secondary testing of volume-restricted amounts of sweat from screen-positive infants. Remarkably, an infant’s differential responses to drug stimulation and their capacity to detoxify xenobiotics via sweat secretion reflected underlying CF disease status beyond defective chloride transport. Future work will validate the clinical utility of a panel of sweat metabolites for predicting disease progression in CF, as well as evaluating treatment responses to targeted therapeutic interventions optimal for CF patients.

  1. A. Nori de Macedo, S. Mathiaparanam, L. Brick, K. Keenan, T. Gonska, L. Pedder, S. Hill, and P. Britz-McKibbin. Characterization of the Sweat Metabolome in Screen-Positive Cystic Fibrosis Infants: Revealing Mechanisms Beyond Impaired Chloride Transport. ACS Central Science 2017, 3: 904-914. DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00299
  2. A. DiBattista, N McIntosh, M. Lamoureux, O. Y. Al-Dirbashi, P. Chakraborty and P. Britz-McKibbin. Temporal Signal Pattern Recognition in Mass Spectrometry: A Method for Rapid Identification and Accurate Quantification of Biomarkers for Inborn Errors of Metabolism with Quality Assurance. Analytical Chemistry 2017, 89: 8112-8121. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01727
  3. K. Schmiegelow, H. Eiberg, L.C. Tsui, M. Buchwald, P.D. Phelan, R. Williamson, W. Warwick, E. Niebuhr, J. Mohr, M. Schwartz, et al. Linkage Between the Loci for Cystic Fibrosis and Paraoxonase. Clinical Genetics 1986, 29: 374-377. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.1986.tb00507.x

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



Metabolomics Current Contents

Recently published papers in metabolomics:



Metabolomics Events 

6-8 Nov 2017

Metabolomics with the Q Exactive

Venue: Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

This three-day course will introduce you to using the Q Exactive mass spectrometer in your metabolomics investigations. The course is aimed at students and researchers with minimal previous experience of applying LC-MS in metabolomics. The course will be led by experts in the field and include lectures, laboratory sessions and computer workshops to provide:
  • An introduction to metabolomics and using the Q Exactive mass spectrometer in your studies
  • Polar and non-polar sample preparation for profiling and targeted studies
  • Data acquisition for profiling and targeted studies
  • Data processing and data analysis
  • Introduction to metabolite identification
The course will finish with a question and answer session with a panel of experts.

Bursaries are now available for PhD students funded by the BBSRC, MRC, or NERC.

For further information and registration details, please visit or contact

7-10 Nov 2017

Hands on Data Analysis for Metabolic Profiling

Venue: Imperial International Phenome Training Centre, Imperial College London, UK

Earlybird: £900
Standard: £1100

This 4-day course provides a comprehensive overview of data analysis for metabolic profiling studies with data acquired from NMR spectroscopy and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. It combines lectures and tutorial sessions to ensure a thorough understanding of the theory and practical applications.

Day 1: Introductory lectures and tutorials regarding the pre-processing of data acquired via NMR and LC-MS.

Day 2: Lectures and tutorials introducing exploratory chemometrics approaches, including PCA.

Day 3: Lectures and tutorials covering advanced chemometrics techniques including PLS and Orthogonal PLS.

Day 4: The next step - computational tools to aid metabolite identification and pathway analysis.

For more information, visit

13-17 Nov 2017

Hands-on LC-MS for Metabolic Profiling

Imperial International Phenome Training Centre, Imperial College London, UK
Earlybird: £1750
Standard: £1950

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

Day 1: Introductory lectures in mass spectrometry and chromatography, study design and sample preparation, followed by preparation of biological samples for analysis on subsequent days.

Days 2 and 3: Analysis of biofluids through global profiling and targeted analyses; an introductory session to liquid chromatography, followed by sessions on each of the newest QToF and TQ instrumentation. Instrument set up, method development and acquisition will be covered. We have set a maximum of 3 attendees per instrument allowing for hands-on participation by all.  Day 3 finishes with introduction to data analysis.

Day 4: Data analysis workshops where attendees will process the data acquired from the previous days, mixed with further statistics lectures, allowing for development of interpretation skills.

Day 5: Application lectures, tips, tricks and troubleshooting, optional trip to the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre.

For further information, please visit

20-27 Nov 2017

2nd International Electronic Conference of Metabolomics (IECM-2)

Held online

Building in the success of the 1st International Electronic Conference of Metabolomics (IECM-1) in 2016, Metabolites (ISSN 2218-1989), a peer-reviewed, scientific journal, edited by MDPI AG, is proud to be the organizer and sponsor of the second International Electronic Conference on Metabolomics. Contributions dealing with any discipline promoting metabolism and metabolomics will be welcomed.

The conference will be held online ( from 20–27 November 2017, enabling you to present your latest research to the scientific community and to have the opportunity to participate in fruitful exchanges of information with academic and industrial groups from all over the world. It is absolutely free of charge to participate as an author or a visitor; all you need to do is create an account on the home page. After the event, proceedings from the conference (abstracts) will be published in the online open access journal, Proceedings.

On behalf of our active scientific committee and dynamic editorial staff, we warmly invite you to join us at the second International Electronic Conference on Metabolomics and we look forward to posting your contribution.

Sincerely yours,

A/Prof Peter J Meikle

Chair of the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Metabolomics
Editor-in-Chief of Metabolites (ISSN 2218-1989)
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Program Head, Metabolism
Head, Metabolomics Laboratory
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
75 Commercial Road, Melbourne VIC 3004

For further information, please visit

1 Dec 2017

Introduction to Metabolomics for the Clinical Scientist

Venue: Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

This one-day course in partnership with the Phenome Centre Birmingham will provide clinicians with an overview of the metabolomics pipeline, highlighting the benefits of the technique to the medical field. The course will provide an:
  • Introduction to experimental design and sample collection
  • An overview of both the analytical and computational methods applied in the field
  • Case studies and panel discussions with the experts
Bursaries are now available for PhD students funded by the BBSRC, MRC, or NERC.

For further information and registrations details, please visit or contact

6-8 Dec 2017

Multiple biofluid and tissue types, from sample preparation to analysis strategies for metabolomics

Venue: Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

This 3-day course will provide a comprehensive overview of dealing with complex biological samples for LC-MS analysis. The course is targeted towards students and researchers who are actively applying metabolomics in their research. The course will be led by experts in the field and include:
  • An overview of quenching and extraction strategies for different biological samples
  • Hands-on sample preparation using different sample types
  • Hands-on HILIC and reversed phase LC-MS data acquisition
  • Solid phase extraction clean up methods
  • An overview of data analysis and metabolite identification
  • An opportunity to ask questions and seek advice to prepare samples in your own research
Bursaries are now available for PhD students funded by the BBSRC, MRC, or NERC.

For further information and registration details, please visit or contact

11-13 Dec 2017

MetaboMeeting 2017

Venue: University of Birmingham, UK

Make plans to attend the 10th successful MetaboMeeting conference. The meeting will bring together research scientists and practitioners from all areas of application and development of metabolic profiling, covering a wide range of experience from early career scientists to experts from throughout the international metabolomics field. MetaboMeeting 2017 continues to highlight the work of its attendees through both oral platform presentation and poster sessions.
The deadline for oral presentation abstracts is 15th July 2017.
The deadline for poster abstracts is 1st October 2017.

For further information, visit

14 Dec 2017

Free Practical Course - PhenoMeNal e-infrastructure: taking metabolomics data processing and analysis to the cloud

Venue: University of Birmingham, UK

No registration cost. Register here.

14-15 Dec 2017

Metabolite identification with the Q Exactive and LTQ Orbitrap

Venue: Birmingham Metabolomics Training Centre, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

This two-day course will provide a hands-on approach to teach the latest techniques and tools available to perform metabolite identification. We will apply these tools on the Q Exactive and LTQ Orbitrap mass spectrometry family. The course is targeted towards students and researchers who are actively applying metabolomics.

The course will be led by experts in the field and include significant hands-on experience using both the Q Exactive and LTQ Orbitrap instruments to perform:
  • Data dependent acquisition
  • Data independent acquisition
  • MS/MS and MSn data acquisition
The course will finish with a session on the tips and tricks from the experts and an opportunity to ask questions.

Bursaries are now available for PhD students funded by the BBSRC, MRC, or NERC.

For further information and registration details, please visit or contact

Late 2017
(To be confirmed)

Metabolic Phenotyping in Disease Diagnosis and Personalised Health Care

Imperial International Phenome Training Centre, Imperial College London, UK

Students: £500
Academic: £800
Industry: £1150

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.

Day 1: Registration followed by session 1 which will cover an analytical technology (either NMR or MS) for metabolic profiling. A laboratory tour of the facilities will follow.

Day 2: Session 2 will cover the alternative analytical technique (NMR / MS) and will be followed by session 3 which will introduce the theory to statistical analysis.

Day 3: Session 4 covers more advanced chemometrics, such as OPLS and O2PLS and includes hands-on workshops. Session 5 will introduce metabolite identification in both NMR and MS and cover some tips and tricks to avoid common pitfalls.

Day 4: The final day will cover some of the real life applications of NMR and MS for metabolic phenotyping.

For further information, please visit

8 Jan 2018

Metabolomics in Life Sciences

Learn about metabolomics principles and their applications in life sciences
Osaka University

About this course
This course is an introduction to metabolomics principles and their applications in various fields of life sciences.

We will provide a summary of all steps in metabolomics research; from experimental design, sample preparation, analytical procedures, to data analysis. The course also provides case studies of various kinds of research samples to attract students that are not familiar with metabolomics, providing them enough explanation to utilize metabolomics technology for their respective research fields.

Several examples of metabolomics applications will be introduced throughout the lectures. These include examples within food science and technology, metabolic engineering, basic biology, introduction to imaging mass spectrometry, and application in medical science.

No previous knowledge on metabolomics is needed but we recommend that students have an undergraduate-level understanding of Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Biostatistics, and that they learn about basic principles of multivariable analysis prior to taking this course.

For further information, please visit

5-9 Feb 2018

EMBO Practical Course on Metabolomics Bioinformatics for Life Scientists

Venue: European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) - Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge,  CB10 1SD, UK

Application opens: Friday August 04 2017
Application deadline: Friday November 03 2017
Participation: Open application with selection
Contact: Emily Rees
Registration fee: £350 including accommodation & food
Apply now

This course will provide an overview of key issues that affect metabolomics studies, handling datasets 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 one to two years of 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 further information, please 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 Fellowship in Human Metabolomics
Note: This position is still open
Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health
Limassol, Cyprus
2-Nov-2017 EURAXESS
Scientist (Bioinformatics)
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Lyon, France 31-Oct-2017 5-Dec-2017 International Agency for Research on Cancer
Postdoctoral Researcher in (Bio)Informatics/Statistics
The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM)
Helsinki, Finland 26-Oct-2017 12-Nov-2017 University of Helsinki
Engineer/Data-Scientist in Metabolomics and Lipidomics
Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN)
Paris, France 10-Oct-2017   Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition
Head of Business Development & Sales North America
BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG
Innsbruck, Austria 27-Sep-2017   BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG
Business Development Manager Pharma North America
BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG Innsbruck, Austria 27-Sep-2017   BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG
Regional Business Development Manager North America BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG Innsbruck, Austria 27-Sep-2017
BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG
Faculty position in Biological Mass Spectrometry Michigan State University East Lansing, USA 20-Sep-2017 Until filled