Metabolomics Expertise Center
Metabolism describes the whole of enzymatic and biochemical reactions occurring inside and outside the cellular environment. Understanding how this 'engine' of reactions works and more importantly, understanding this dynamic network of biochemical reactions alters during specific conditions and diseases, provides a powerful tool for the development of novel drug strategies.
For the analysis of metabolism, we have both gas and liquid chromatography (GC and LC) based mass spectrometers (MS) operational. These include a GC-QQQ (triple quadrupole) (Agilent), an LC-QQQ, LC-Q-Exactive, LC-Q-Exactive Focus and an LC-Q-Exactive OrbiTRAP Lumos equipped with the 1,000,000-resolution option (Thermo Scientific). This impressive set of "tools" allows us to offer great versatility for the study of diverse classes of metabolites. Our analyses range from studying relative metabolite levels (un-targeted metabolomics measuring up to 150-400 metabolites involved in diverse pathways) to highly specific targeted methods such as Multiple/Single Reaction Monitoring assays (MRM/SRM)).
The laboratory holds a unique expertise in 13C metabolic tracer studies. The technology is comparable to Google Maps where it uses non-radioactive labelled nutrients such as 13C glucose, 13C glutamine, and many others) and investigates in what extent the labelled atoms flow throughout the network. This powerful technology allows to visualize the routes and more especially the connection of metabolic pathways that are linked to the labelled nutrient. As such, a wealth of information is generated going beyond the level of relative differences between biological conditions. Our facility helps in the setup, data analyses and interpretation of the obtained labelling patterns and has already proven successful analyses in a multitude of in vitro cell cultures (including (primary) endothelial cells, macrophages, fibroblasts, cancer cells, etc), as well as in vivo labelling.
Our near future technologies will focus on fully understanding the metabolic network as a whole. It is our vision as expert technologists to provide intuitive and straightforward data towards the biologists, as such, delivering clear targets for follow-up analyses.