A closer look at metabolomics

Researchers in La Trobe’s Baker Department are at the forefront of lipidomic analysis

Within La Trobe’s Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation lies a hub of cutting-edge research known as the Metabolomics Laboratory.

Established in 2007 by Professor Peter Meikle, the Metabolomics Laboratory has been at the forefront of lipidomic analysis and has greatly contributed to our understanding of lipid metabolism and its implications for human health. The laboratory now has 28 members with three group leaders; Drs Kevin Huynh, Corey Giles and Yow-Keat Tham.

“Lipids are fatty, waxy, or oily compounds that play a crucial role in the body's structure and function. They serve as essential components of cell membranes, act as energy stores and are involved in signalling pathways,” explains Dr Kevin Huynh.

“Primarily, our laboratory specialises in lipidomic analysis – a branch of metabolomics that involves the comprehensive screening of lipids to better understand their roles in cellular function, health and disease.”

The Metabolomics Laboratory has been working on developing methods to conduct these analyses efficiently using state-of-the-art technology.

“We have also been involved in a number of collaborations and projects, from large-scale human population studies to detailed profiling of tissue and cellular models used in pre-clinical research.”

Recently, Dr Huynh led a team from the Metabolomics Laboratory in a successful Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant that aims to revolutionise lipidomic profiling.

“Our project seeks to condense the profiling process to a mere two minutes, utilising snapshot techniques and machine learning algorithms to extract comprehensive lipid measurements,” says Dr Huynh.

“This new approach to profiling would substantially increase the capacity to profile large-scale human population studies, which is critical for a comprehensive and systematic investigation into how our genes can regulate lipid metabolism.”

“I’m proud to be part of the work we do at the Metabolomics Laboratory, unravelling the mysteries of lipid metabolism and paving the way for advancements in human biology and health.”