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Research Leader: Gwenaelle Le Gall

The Metabolomics Team develops techniques for comprehensive metabolite analysis applicable to a range of samples across the IFR science programme. As well as undertaking the actual measurements (by NMR, LC/MS, GC/MS or combinations of these) we advise on experimental design and carry out much of the statistical data analysis, compound identification and final interpretation of results.

Aims

  • Apply high throughput NMR techniques for measurement of metabolite profiles from human urine and plasma samples
  • Develop complementary LC/MS and GC/MS techniques that will extend the range of metabolites measured by NMR on the above samples
  • Investigate the factors that affect biofluid metabolite profiles in humans drawing on data from different nutritional interventions, experimental designs and modes of sample collection
  • Learn lessons for the design and data analysis of new metabolomics/nutrition projects that will help to cope with the high level of natural variation present in human studies
  • Use advanced chemometrics techniques to classify samples and identify metabolic markers related to effects of dietary interventions or onset of diet-related disease (with Bioinformatics & Statistics Group)
  • Develop data bases to assist automated chemical identification of compounds after marker signals have been located
  • Develop and optimise combined LC/MS/NMR approaches for the identification of unknown compounds identified as markers
  • Develop a similar range of methods appropriate to plant, food and microbial extracts

Overview

instrumentation in the metabolomics laboratory includes a 600MHz NMR spectrometer and an LC/MS with high mass resolution TOF mass spectrometerMetabolomics now brings the possibility to measure hundreds of components simultaneously in biological samples. By measuring the changes that occur (or do not occur) across all these compounds a much richer picture of the overall effects of a perturbation on the metabolic network is obtained than if only one or two directly affected compounds are measured. It is the richness of the metabolomics picture that offers promise for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying development of chronic diseases, the discovery of new diagnostic markers, or the functional characterisation of unknown genes. The ‘perturbations’ of interest to us include both those that can be imposed by the scientist (e.g. gene knockouts, altered growth conditions, dietary interventions) as well as natural differences such as age, gender and development of disease.

The instrumentation in the metabolomics laboratory includes a 600MHz NMR spectrometer and an LC/MS with high mass resolution TOF mass spectrometer. The NMR is equipped with a ‘dual-fit’ cryoprobe which allows conventional NMR measurements with tubes loaded from an autosampler, or LC/NMR operation using a flow microcell and an automated solid phase extraction unit which is linked to the LC/MS. There is also a second LC/MS system with a triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometer and a bench-top quadrupole GC/MS system.

Further information

The above tables are free to download but we do not accept responsibility for any errors they may contain. In particular the entries in red are awaiting re-running of samples or re-assignment. The tables will continue to be expanded and corrected. Please send comments and corrections to gwenaelle.legall@ifr.ac.uk