Programme

Course content this year has been selected to help provide a "kick start" to NMR- and MS- based metabolomics. We hope that anyone relatively new to metabolomics techniques will benefit from it!

The level of instruction is aimed at Year 1 & 2 PhD students working within the field of metabolism research, but anyone is very welcome to attend. Introductions to each topic will be given, to bring everyone to the same level at the outset. Exposure to basic NMR spectroscopy or basic MS techniques is advantageous, though not mandatory. Here is the daily schedule.

 

Monday 12th November

Day 1 - Introduction to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry (MS) (Instructors: Dr Beatriz Jimenez & Prof Warwick Dunn)

 Metabolic processes are, directly or indirectly, involved in almost all of every cell’s activities. Metabolic alterations are now thought to be at the core of many, if not most, diseases and illnesses. NMR and MS are the two predominant technologies used to obtain information about the metabolic network inside the cell. Dr. Jimenez will introduce us to the basic concepts of NMR and how we can use this fascinating technology to obtain metabolic information from body fluid samples, such as blood or urine, cell extracts, and even intact tissue samples. In the afternoon, Prof. Dunn will explain how mass spectrometry is able to provide data on even the smallest amounts of metabolites from very complex biological samples. Together, these lectures will provide the basis for more advanced topics to be discussed throughout the rest of this course. The day will close with an optional session where students can discuss their projects with course instructors.

 

Tuesday 13th November

Day 2 - Introduction to Metabolism and Metabolomics (Instructors: Prof Gareth Lavery & Dr Dan Tennant) 

Today the lectures will concentrate on the biological background for metabolomics and tracer-based metabolism analysis. What metabolic pathways are active in the cell? How do they interact? What is compartmentalisation? How does this affect the functioning of the cell? Why study metabolism using tracers? Prof. Lavery and Dr. Tennant, both experts in metabolism, will introduce the biological foundations for further metabolomic analysis of real world data. The day will end with informal discussions where the instructors will reveal their “tricks of the trade”.

 

Wednesday 14th November

Day 3 - Metabolomics, Data Analysis and Advance Topics (Instructors: Prof Rafael Brüschweiler & Prof Geerten Vuister)

 The topics covered today range from experimental design, on more practical aspects such as sample preparation for NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, to multivariate data analysis. In the afternoon, Prof. Brüschweiler will introduce fast NMR data acquisition techniques and discuss their pros and cons. We will discuss a few selected software packages aimed at analysis of metabolomics data and Prof. Vuister will explain how the CCPNMR software can help with metabolomic data analysis. The day will end with “scientific speed dating”, where students can meet with each other or instructors.

 

Thursday 15th November

Day 4 - Tracer-based Metabolism & Applications (Instructors: Prof Karsten Hiller & Dr Christian Ludwig)

The morning of the last day will focus on tracer-based metabolism analysis. Prof. Hiller will explain how mass spectrometry can be used for targeted metabolic analysis. Dr. Ludwig will focus on the benefits of combining orthogonal techniques such as NMR and MS to achieve a “model-free” isotopomer analysis. The course will end in the afternoon after a session filled with examples of NMR and MS based metabolic research, presented by Birmingham PhD students and junior post-docs.