Medway Metabonomics Research Group (MMRG)

Introduction

Dr Ruey Leng Loo, together with Professor Jeremy Everett and Professor Frank Pullen, have recently formed a Medway Metabonomics Research Group (MMRG).  Metabonomics is concerned with the metabolic profiling of people, animals or other organisms in order understand the impact of genetic changes, environmental changes, clinical interventions or exercise. Pharmacometabonomics is a new branch of metabonomics that is concerned with the prediction of the effects of drugs on a person or animal, based on an analysis of their pre-dose metabolic profile. It is predicted to have much future importance for personalised medicine.

Purpose of the MMRG and Facilities

The main purpose of the MMRG is to develop and strengthen metabonomics and pharmacometabonomics capabilities in this region. The analytical facilities available to this group include 4 nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers (1 x 500MHz, 2 x 400MHz and 1 x 300 MHz) and 10 mass spectrometers (2 x LC-MS, 2 x LC-MSMS, 2 x GC-MS, 1 x LC-Qtof –MSMS, 2 x LC-ion mobility Qtof MSMS and 1 x MALDI).  In addition, we use advanced computational and statistical methodologies to help analyse the metabonomics data.

Projects

Our current projects involve the utility of metabonomics in the study of Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and Exercise, Nutrition and Obesity.

We welcome suggestions for new projects, collaborations and consultancy.

OmniHeart Metabonomics Study

This project focuses on metabolic phenotyping using high-resolution spectroscopy of urine samples from the OmniHeart study.  The global aim of this project is to identify the impact of different dietary interventions on the urinary metabolic phenotypes and to investigate specific urinary biomarkers associated with blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, using the metabolomics-wide-association approach.

This project is collaboration between Medway School of Pharmacy, Imperial College London and The Johns Hopkins University.  Ruey Leng is the lead of this MRC-funded project. This project is supported by a post-doc, Xin Zou, and a part-time technician, Viktorija Kuziene.

Diabetes and Exercise Metabonomics and Pharmacometabonomics Study

This project focuses on the metabolic profiling of urine and plasma samples from diabetic patients. The aim of the project is to evaluate and predict the efficacy of various combined drug and exercise regimes on the clinical outcomes for these patients.

This project is led by Jeremy Everett in collaboration Professor Stefano Balducci and Professor Silvano Zanuso at the University of Rome, Italy.

 

People

In addition to Professor Everett, Dr Loo and Professor Pullen, the members of this group also include a full-time research associate, 5 full-time PhD students and 2 part-time PhD students/part-time technicians.

Research Fellows

tracey yip
Xin Zou

Xin Zou got his PhD degree in statistical signal processing from the University of Birmingham. He worked in the same department for another two years as a research fellow. Then he changed his research interest to bioinformatics and took two postdoc positions in Ulster University and Sheffield University, respectively, before he came to Kent University. He is currently working as a bioinformatician in the Medway Metabonomics Research Group (MMRG). His main job is to analyse the NMR and MS metabolomics data collected in the group.

Research Interests

His principal research interests lie in the field of bioinformatics, omics data processing (e.g. metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics), statistical signal processing, machine learning, pattern recognition and computational neuroscience (neural network dynamics modelling study).

Publications
  • P. C. Wright, S. Jaffe, J. Noirel, X. Zou, “Opportunities for protein interaction network guided cellular engineering”, IUBMB life, 2012.
  • X. Zou, T. K. Pham, P. C. Wright and J. Noirel, “Bioinformatic study of the relationship between protein regulation and sequence properties”, Elsevier, Gemonics, 2012. SCI.
  • C. Evans, J. Noirel, S. Ow, M. Salim, A. G. Pereira-Medrano,T. K. Pham, N. Couto, J. Pandhal, X. Zou, E. Karunakaran, C. A. Biggs, P. C. Wright, “An insight into iTRAQ: where do we stand now?”, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2012. SCI
  • P. Jancovic, X. Zou, M. Köküer, Speech enhancement based on Sparse Code Shrinkage employing multiple speech models. Elsevier, Speech Communication 54, 108–118, 2012. SCI
  • X. Zou, D. Coyle, K. Wong-Lin, L. Maguire, “Beta-amyloid induced changes in A-type K+ current can alter hippocampo-septal network dynamics”. Journal of Computational Neuroscience Volume 32, Issue 3, Page 465-477, 2012. SCI
  • X Zou, D. Coyle, K. Wong-Lin, L. Maguire, “Computational Study of Hippocampal-septal Theta Rhythm Changes due to Beta-Amyloid-Altered Ionic Channels”, Plos One, 6:e21579, 2011. SCI
  • J. Hao, X. Zou et al, “A Hybrid Method of Applying Independent Component Analysis to in vivo 1H Magnetic Resonance Spectra of Childhood Brain Tumours”, NMR in Biomedicine, Wiley 2011, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1776. SCI
  • P. Jancovic, X. Zou, M. Köküer, “Underdetermined DOA estimation via Independent Component Analysis and and time-frequency masking”, Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, vol. 2010, 2010.
  • J. Hao, X. Zou, et al., “A Comparative Study of Feature Extraction and Blind Source Separation of Independent Component Analysis (ICA) on Children Brain Tumour 1H Magnetic Resource Spectra”, volume 22, issue 8, Pages: 809-818, NMR in Biomedicine, Wiley, 2009. SCI
  • X. Zou, P. Jancovic, J. Liu, M. Köküer, “Speech signal enhancement based on MAP algorithm in the ICA space”, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, volume 56, number 5, page 1812-1820, May 2008. SCI

PhD Students

tracey yip
Tracey Yip

Tracey completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Glasgow, focusing on spectrometric analysis of toxins in biological samples in Forensic Toxicology. Following this, she started her PhD at the Medway School of Pharmacy in October 2011 in collaboration with our partners at the Johns Hopkins University. Her project aims to examine how different healthy diets can cause alterations in the participants’ metabolic profiles. Additionally, Tracey has an interest in drug use and detection. She was involved in analysing athletic samples for prohibited substances during London Olympics (2012).

Dorsa Varsharvi

Dorsa completed her BSc in Biology at the University of Esfahan, Iran in 2007 and graduated with Distinction. Dorsa then completed an MSc in Biotechnology at the University in 2010, where she also graduated with Distinction. Following this, she started her PhD entitled Human Metabolic Profiling in July 2011 in a collaboration with our partners at the University of Rome. Her project is designed to answer questions about the utility of pharmacometabonomics for diabetic patients. Dorsa is fluent in English and Farsi.

kallie bladon
Kallie Bladon

Kallie graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2011 with her BSc (Hons) in Physiology, during which she completed a year-long placement as a research assistant at the Cardiopulmonary & Metabolism research laboratory in the University of Toledo, Ohio. She completed her MRes in Cardiovascular Health and Disease from the University of Manchester in September 2012. Kallie started her PhD at the Medway School of Pharmacy in October 2012. Her project aims to use mass spectrometry to discover new biomarkers indicative of the impact of exercise and potentially identify biomarkers which could predict in advance the extent of impact of exercise.

mark kelley
Mark Kelly

Mark completed his BSc degree in Pharmacology in 2012 where he focused on mechanisms of gastrointestinal disorders and novel therapeutic strategies. His PhD aims to investigate the nephrotoxicity of current transplant drugs, mediated through renal pericyte action but also to investigate the pharmacometabonomics of transplant drugs for particular metabolic pathway disruptions.

victorija kuziene
Viktorija Kuziene

Viktorija graduated from Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences with BSc in Chemistry in 2003 and spent time teaching chemistry at secondary school level in Lithuania. After this, she held a technician post at Townley Grammar School for Girls, Bexleyheath. Viktorija completed her MSc in Structural Molecular Biology at Birkbeck, University of London in 2009.

Viktorija joined the Medway School of Pharmacy in January 2008 as a teaching technician in the chemistry and drug delivery group. Since 2011, she works as a part-time research technician for the OmniHeart Metabonomics Study. In 2012, she started her part-time PhD study at the Medway School of Pharmacy. Her project aims to develop a high throughput method that can be used to identify and quantify amino acids using UPLC-SYNAPT-MS.

pat wright
Patricia Wright

After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BSc in Medical Biochemistry, Pat went on to undertake a Master’s degree in drug metabolism at Bradford University. In the subsequent years she built a career in the UK pharmaceutical industry, initially at GSK and then Pfizer, as a bioanalytical HPLC and mass spectrometry specialist. Pat has extensive experience of both qualitative and quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical molecules in biological matrices, having held the positions of team leader within the quantitative bioanalytical group and then scientific lead for metabolite identification.

Pat has always been interested in the fundamental mechanisms of ionisation and fragmentation in mass spectrometry and has a number of publications in this field. Pat started her PhD in 2012 and her project will build on her previous experience in understanding MSMS fragmentation, particularly the thermodynamics behind bond cleavages. The thermodynamics will be modelled using Density Functional Theory, a quantum mechanics based software tool which helps determine the site(s) of protonation of the molecule in the gas phase and then predicts the effect protonation will have on bond length and other molecular parameters.

Cristian Lapthorn

Information to follow.



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Last Updated 28/07/2015