April 2019 LMN meeting report

LMN Meeting – April 2019 – Burlington House (RSC)

The Spring meeting held by the London Metabolomics Network (LMN) took place at Burlington House on the 26th April 2019, that saw over 65 researchers meet to discuss the latest advances in separation techniques to aid metabolomic workflows. This meeting was organised to build on the LMN Spring series that has been previously focussed on separation science and to support early career researchers in developing their own analytical workflows.

Dr Hannah Florance (Agilent) presented an in-depth talk on the fundamentals of ion mobility mass spectrometry and went on to discuss the benefits of utilising the technology to benefit metabolomics studies by adding orthogonality to the analytical workflow to increase the number of detected features, enabling the separation of isobars/isomers and aiding identification of metabolic features. Dr Florance was followed Dr Joost Brandsma (University of Southampton) who focused on the application of supercritical fluid chromatography to enable superfast separations of complex biological samples for lipidomic experiments and discussed practical pitfalls that can be commonly encountered when using this technique. To add to the repertoire of techniques, Dr Alan Griffiths (LECO) gave a great talk (whilst wearing a very interesting suit!) on 2-dimensional gas chromatography to improve analyte identification which can be found here. Last but not least, Prof. Ian Wilson (Imperial College London) picked back up on the theme of ion mobility mass spectrometry, coupling the technique to LC-MS methods and went on to compare using rapid versus slow separations for experimental studies. Finally, the meeting was closed with a discussion panel involving the invited presenters which focussed on using advanced separation techniques and method development for metabolomics. This was a great opportunity to engage with experienced experts and the LMN encouraged early career researchers to come up with questions that they would like answered. There were a few tough ones, but overall the panel was very insightful, and we hope that this was beneficial session for any researchers that are developing new methods with alternative separation techniques.

As with all good scientific meetings, networking was extended to the local pub with a lively discussion on analytical techniques, separation science and future opportunities for the field.

The LMN committee wish to thank Agilent Technologies, Waters and Leco for sponsoring the event.