Toxicological Metabolomics


We apply metabolomics to understand molecular mechanisms of toxicity and identify metabolic biomarkers with our industry and regulatory customers

Our work in toxicological metabolomics

Toxicological Metabolomics

Metabolomics is a growing field that aims to measure the complement of metabolites (the metabolome) in living organisms. The metabolome represents the downstream phenotype that arises from the interaction of an organism’s genome with its environment, including the effects caused by drugs, biocides and industrial chemicals.

Phenome Centre Birmingham is a collaborative metabolomics facility, providing services and techniques to characterise and understand the metabolome, and provide high-quality, confident conclusions. We work extensively with industry, government and regulatory agencies, applying metabolomics in the context of human health to find novel solutions in chemical safety science.

How metabolomics can support your research

Metabolomics is a powerful tool for studying toxicological processes in the context of human health, traditionally in animal models and increasingly using in vitro test systems. Metabolomics measurements can be used to group chemicals into categories, based on their shared metabolic responses, enabling chemical risk assessments to be parallelised and thereby accelerated.

Metabolomics measurements can also identify the potential hazards of chemicals by providing richly informative molecular mechanistic insights into the modes of action of chemicals. In addition, metabolomics data can be used to characterise a newly identified hazard in the form of metabolic dose-response curves.

Learn more about the impact that metabolomics can provide in your research

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Analyst reviewing LC-MS data
PCB's FXp Robot, Beckman Coulter

Our expertise in toxicology and human health

Our toxicological metabolomics theme lead, Professor Mark Viant, has developed and applied metabolomics in the fields of human and environmental toxicology for over 15 years. Mark is a past President and Lifetime Honorary Fellow of the Metabolomics Society, with a reputation for driving metabolomics forward, and developing excellence in the field.

Mark's work with industry includes long-established collaborators such as Unilever and AstraZeneca, who work with us to better understand and address the chemical safety science 'problem space' within the consumer products and drug discovery sectors.

Mark's work with regulatory agencies and governmental bodies is directed towards finding solutions for regulatory problems, with active collaborations with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, European Chemicals Agency, Health Canada and the US EPA supporting these goals.

Mark also leads international activities in defining best practice and reporting standards for metabolomics applied to toxicology, including the OECD’s Metabolomics Reporting Framework project.

These activities place Phenome Centre Birmingham in an outstanding position to conduct metabolomics studies in the context of human health, with the group's unique expertise in chemical safety science and regulatory requirements proving invaluable for our collaborator's projects.

Our track record in toxicological metabolomics

Some selected examples of previous projects can be found below:

Multiple metabolic pathways are predictive of ricin intoxication in a rat model
D'Elia RV, Goodchild SA, Winder CL, Southam AD, Weber RJM, Stahl FM, Docx C, Patel V, Green AC, Viant MR, Lukaszewski RA, Dunn WB
  • See full article
  • Collaborator: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

Toxicological Metabolomics Lead

Mark Viant

Professor Mark Viant
Executive Director


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