2019 Board of Directors Election
All members of the Metabolomics Society are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the 2019 Board of Directors election. Voting is open now through August 30, 2019 at 11:59pm USA CST. Complete details on elections can be found here.
This webpage contains a list of nominees as well as biographies and statements of interest regarding serving on the Board. Please take a moment to review this information before placing your votes.
Standing for a second term:
- Richard Beger
- Karl Burgess
- Fabien Jourdan
- Hector Keun
- James MacRae
- Maria Eugenia Monge
- Louis Felix Nothias
- Thusitha Rupasinghe
- Hiroshi Tsugawa
- Fidele Tugizimana
- Candice Ulmer
- Merlijn van Rijswijk
How to Vote:
Each member has two (2) votes. You will need to enter your member email address to begin voting.
University of Queensland (Australia)
Biography: Dr Schirra is one of the leaders of NMR-based metabolomics in Australia. He studied Chemistry at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and received his PhD in Biochemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (Switzerland). In 1999, he joined the University of Queensland, where he was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Australian Research Council and a prestigious Queensland Smart State Fellowship. In 2009, Dr Schirra became an independent Lecturer in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at UQ, and in 2012 he joined UQ's Centre for Advanced Imaging, where he leads a multidisciplinary research program in Metabolic Systems Biology and administers the Centre’s facility for NMR-based metabolomics.
Dr Schirra uses NMR-based metabolomics to investigate the basic principles of metabolic regulation and the role they play in fundamental biological processes, environmental change, and in the development of disease. His research aims to integrate metabolomics with other –omics methods and metabolic simulations via genome-scale modelling, with a focus on C. elegans. Dr Schirra is one of the leaders of the "WormJam" international research community of C. elegans researchers.
Dr Schirra has been a Director of the Metabolomics Society since 2017, and is up for re-election. He is also a Board Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance (ANZMAG) and committee member of the Australian and New Zealand Metabolomics Network (ANZMN). He has been a member of the Metabolomics Society since 2008 and was Co-chair of the 13th International Conference of the Metabolomics Society in Brisbane 2017. He is Associate Editor of the journal Metabolites, and regional editor of Current Metabolomics.
Statement of Purpose: I have been a board member of the Metabolomics Society since 2017, and am now up for re-election for a second term. During my first term in office, I focussed my activities on the conference committee of the Society. I have re-organised and formalised the sponsorship scheme for minor conferences and Society affiliates, as both schemes have become increasingly popular over the past years. Up to two minor conference sponsorships will now be awarded per financial trimester, with one of them prioritised for conferences in Asia, Africa, or Latin America to encourage applications from these regions and foster the growth of metabolomics as field in these regions. In addition, I have served on the International Organising Committee for Metabolomics 2019, and am involved in the organisation of Metabolomics 2020.
With Sastia Putri stepping down from the Board after two terms, I have volunteered to serve as the Chair of the Conference Committee for the next two years should I be re-elected. The Conference Committee organises the most important and most visible activity of the Society, and I would like to use a model of steady growth and renewal of the conferences, where we stabilise the most important parts of the conferences, while catering for increasing participant numbers and actively growing diversity in terms of scientific topics (building bridges to cognate fields has been a hallmark of my mission since Metabolomics 2017), geographical distribution, and gender representation. I want to ensure that our conferences stay the most exciting event in the yearly calendar for all metabolomics researchers world-wide and grow in popularity and accessibility further, especially for students and EMCRs, who are the future of the field.
In addition, I would also like to continue to deepen networks between researchers in the Asia-Oceania region and be a voice for that region on the board. Metabolomics scientists from Australia and New Zealand are currently increasing their activities in terms of society representation/involvement and there will be much to come from this region over the next two years. The spectrum of potential engagement opportunities is wide and ranges from professional networks between Society affiliates in the region, regional off-cycle conferences (such as ANZMET) by Society affiliates, assistance in establishing further regional society affiliates, to the potential establishment of an Asia-Oceania chapter of the Metabolomics Society.
Finally, I am currently one of the ex officio Associate Editors of "Metabolites", the new partner journal of the Society, and if re-elected I would like to continue serving in that role, represent the interests of the Society on the Editorial Board of "Metabolites", and grow the profile, quality and relevance of the journal over the coming years.
US FDA (USA)
Biography: Dr. Beger received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1991 and completed NMR postdoctoral training at Wesleyan University and Johns Hopkins University Medical School. In 1998, Dr. Beger joined the National Center for Toxicological Research as a NMR spectroscopy researcher and he is currently the Branch Chief of the Biomarkers and Alternative Models Branch (BAMB) in the Division of Systems Biology. In 2002, Dr. Beger initiated an NMR-based metabolomics research program and in 2008 he added LC-MS metabolomics research capability. Dr. Beger is an Editor of Metabolomics journal since 2004 and co-hosted the 2012 Metabolomics Society in Washington DC. Dr. Beger was the co-leader of the Data Quality Task group (DQTG) from 2014 until 2019 and he is currently an active member of the Pharmacometabolomics and Personalized Medicine Working Group (PPMWG) since 2015. His is a member of SOT and in 2016 he won the Translational Impact Award for his metabolomics research on acetaminophen overdose. He is currently the special Editor for Metabolites special issue on pharmacometabolomics.
Statement of Purpose: Dr. Beger’s goals are to expand metabolomics capabilities globally by continuing his efforts in community accepted best practices in quality control and updating reporting standards in Metabolomics. His participation as co-leader of DQTG, and subsequent participation in the qMET, mQACC, MERIT and OECD initiated MRF projects shows his sustained efforts in defining and improving quality control for Metabolomics. Another interest is to increase the amount of pharmaceutical metabolomics research in the Metabolomics Society. This can be attained through continued efforts in the Pharmacometabolomics and Personalized Medicine Working Group via publications of White papers, workshops and collaborative efforts. Efforts in both QC and pharmacometabolomics will play a role in expanding in clinical, epidemiology and biomedical metabolomics research globally.
University of Edinburgh (UK)
Biography: Karl has been fascinated by biology and the natural world from an early age, in concert with a deep interest in computing. When, during an MSc project, he was offered the chance to work with lasers and robots to do biology, he jumped into mass spectrometry and chromatography, where he's been ever since. Karl led the Glasgow Polyomics metabolomics core facility for ten years, which provided a huge diversity of exciting biological questions to work on, and has recently moved to the University of Edinburgh as a Senior Lecturer. His focus remains on methods, software and techniques for metabolomics, particularly in the area of industrial biotechnology. He is particularly interested in developing networks and international collaborations, as founder of the Scottish Metabolomics Network, and an enthusiastic partner in projects in Colombia, South Africa and China.
Statement of Purpose: I would be very keen to expand membership of the society towards more core facility staff and developing nations. Metabolomics core facilities are valuable resources, often with difficult goals: supporting academic science while recovering costs and keeping at the forefront of technology. Metabolomics society conferences and activities are wonderful opportunities to learn new techniques and standards, and core facilities can put these into practice for whole institutes, but core staff are often excluded. They are often at junior career grades while being several years post PhD, or are not postdoctoral researchers. I would aim to provide more support for facility staff to attend conferences and workshops, while also driving for the outputs of working groups to be disseminated wider, via videos, protocols, translated documents etc. My experiences of teaching in South Africa and collaborations with China and Colombia have demonstrated the huge potential to bring together researchers in these areas to develop networks in metabolomics and expand the Society's membership. These would be great places to focus our efforts on affiliate societies, which is starting to happen with Metabolomics South Africa, Metabolomics China and Metabolomics South America. More than anything, my goal is to meet new and interesting people in the field of metabolomics!
Biography: Fabien Jourdan is a senior research scientist at INRA (the French National Research Institute for Agricultural Research) Toulouse, France. He graduated with a PhD in computer science at the University of Montpellier (France) in 2004, working on the premises of social networks, in particular studying their topology. He then shared his time between a software startup company and a research assistant position. In 2005 he was hired by INRA (Toulouse, France) to develop computational solutions for metabolomics studies (mainly NMR). In 2006 he spent a year as a visiting researchers at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) working with Pr. Michael Barrett on metabolic profiling (HRMS) of Trypanosoma brucei, a parasite and causative agent of sleeping sickness.
Fabien Jourdan has pioneered bioinformatics methods to study Genome-Scale Metabolic Networks using metabolomics (and other omics data, e.g. transcriptome/proteome) to predict impacts on metabolism and phenotype associated with genetic or environmental perturbations. His research team is currently applying these approaches to food toxicology and more broadly in studying the link between metabolism and human health (e.g. in cancer). Since 2009, Fabien Jourdan has led the development of MetExplore open and its open access web server (www.metexplore.fr) which is used by more than 700 users worldwide and maintained and developed by a group of 8 computational biologists. Fabien Jourdan is member of the board of the French National infrastructure for metabolomics and fluxomics, MetaboHub. He was president of the French-speaking Metabolomics and Fluxomics Network (RFMF) from 2015 to 2019.
Statement of Purpose: Being an active member of a scientific society offers a wonderful way to give back to the community what it has brought to me over my career. The six years I spent on the board of directors, then four years as President, of the French-Speaking Metabolomics and Fluxomics Network (RFMF) were a great privilege and fantastic learning experience. We organized annual conferences with around 250 attendees, initiated key networking actions and, most importantly, supported early career scientists through provision of awards and travel grants. As President, I also introduced a programme of promoting training for young scientists and also any colleagues eager to discover the huge potential of metabolomics. I also initiated the organization of a European scale conference in 2020 bringing together all regional and national societies of the “old continent” (most of them being affiliated to the metabolomics society). Globally I am involved in training programmes all around the world with a special focus on metabolomics data analysis in the context of metabolic networks (e.g. courses in South Africa, Brazil, Singapore ...).
If elected I would particularly like to contribute to the Society’s collective efforts in:
- supporting early career members in developing their scientific trajectory
- helping regional and national initiatives to establish and affiliate with the society.
My own experiences in both receiving and giving mentorship have convinced me of the value of clear and professional knowledge transfer in helping others reach their potential and move forward in academic or industrial careers. Membership of the board of the Metabolomics Society would enable me to work with committee to continue development of mentorship programmes.
I would also like to continue and extend the great efforts made by the Society to involve early career scientists by offering the opportunity to Early-career Members Network (EMN) to organize an annual week-long research workshop similar to that we have created and rolled-out successfully in France.
I am also enthusiastic to assist in the development of other regional initiatives, since I believe the strength in metabolomics research has been underestimated in many countries given the lack of connectivity between different laboratories. My involvement in the inaugural conference of the “Metabolomics South Africa” showed me just how much vitality and motivation metabolome scientists in Africa have, and how eager they are to share their knowledge. Relatively little is required in terms of advice and guidance to bring them up to the standard of other regional initiatives allowing affiliation to the Metabolomics Society. Inclusivity, while retaining robust standards, is, to my mind, one of the main roles of an international Society.
Last but not least, since networking within a Society is also based on social relationships, I would like to promote the RFMF #GoodFoodGoodScience mantra by building with you a Society promoting scientific collaborations in a benevolent environment.
Imperial College London (UK)
Biography: Hector Keun completed a DPhil in structural biology at the University of Oxford before joining the Nicholson group at Imperial College London in 2001. There he worked on methodology for NMR-based metabolomics developing a particular interest in applications to toxicology and oncology. In 2006 he became a lecturer and group leader and in 2018 became Professor of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at ICL. Prof Keun now heads the Cancer Metabolism & Systems Toxicology group and the metabolomics capacity for the Imperial Experimental Cancer Medicine Network. He has previously co-organised UK metabolomics conferences such as Metabomeeting and also helped to establish the London Metabolomics Network with over 200 members. Combining in silico, experimental, clinical and population-based studies, his group is working to advance our understanding of and ability to target metabolic processes that promote cancer, and also to define the influence of lifetime environmental exposure (‘the exposome’) on human health.
Statement of Purpose: At this exciting point in time for the field of metabolomics, the Society is of even greater importance for fostering emerging talent, increasing levels of cooperation, public resources and standardisation across the international metabolomics community, and helping to drive growth and investment in metabolomics globally. I would be hugely honoured and excited to serve on the board of directors of the Metabolomics Society, seeking to achieve these aims. I have worked over many years with numerous metabolomics researchers in both academia and industry, across North America, Asia & Europe and have been a part of multiple European consortia advancing application of metabolomics, particularly with respect to toxicology and environmental health. I have also worked on behalf of a wide range of funders to evaluate metabolomics facilities and research in many different countries. This experience has led me to really value the diversity in our field, and I believe that the Society can and must play a critical role in supporting the expansion of local metabolomics societies across the globe, promoting collaboration, communication and a sense of community. It is on this foundation that we can continue to enhance the quality and impact of metabolomics research through greater data sharing, training and interlaboratory cooperation. I am also passionate about supporting others’ careers and several of my former group members are now independent group leaders. I will work hard with the Early-career Members Network to find new ways to recognise and support young researchers and will seek to expand the support for mid-career researchers as well.
The Francis Crick Institute (UK)
Biography: James has 18 years’ experience in mass spectrometry and metabolomics. He completed his PhD on structural glycobiology in trypanosomatid parasites in 2005 at the University of Dundee, before moving to the University of Melbourne. Here, he expanded these interests into developing novel biochemical and metabolomics techniques in order to study the metabolism of apicomplexan parasites, including the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii. Since 2013, James has been of Head of Metabolomics at The Francis Crick Institute in central London, where he is developing new analytical and software tools for metabolomics research in a number of areas (e.g. cancer metabolism, heart disease, mitochondrial dysfunction), while maintaining interests in host-parasite metabolism.
Statement of Purpose: My Metabolomics lab at The Francis Crick Institute works in a wide variety of analytical and biological areas: from stable isotope labelling of host-pathogen metabolism to the surface architecture of Drosophila hydrocarbons, from cancer biomarker discovery to lipid profiling of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and from fruit VOC profiling to the environmental impact of breakdown of pharmaceuticals. To cover this wide range of disciplines, my lab uses LC-MS, GC-MS, NMR, and SFC-MS, while also developing software for data analysis.
As such, I believe that I have a broad understanding of the analytical challenges many of us face on a daily basis and I am very enthusiastic about promoting a community and culture where we can work together to solve these. Of course, the flagship event of the Metabolomics Society calendar is the Society conference. Since 2014, I have co-organised 34 metabolomics/mass spectrometry symposia here in the U.K. and so I believe that I have the experience to bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm for the future development of our annual meeting.
My key belief is that for the metabolomics community to continue to develop, we need to promote closer communication, interaction, and support for each other. This can be achieved by developing our workgroups, forums, and online community, with adequate representation of the ideas and concerns coming from all levels and disciplines.
Centro de Investigaciones en Bionanociencias (Argentina)
Biography: I obtained my Ph.D. in Inorganic, Analytical, and Physical Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2006. In 2014, I was recruited by the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), after having worked in Italy, France, and the USA, to start a new laboratory at CIBION, a recently founded research center of CONICET, where I lead the Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry (MS) Group and the MS facility at CIBION. My research group applies MS for biomarker discovery and early disease detection, with special emphasis on untargeted metabolomics-based diagnostics. The applications we are currently working on include biomarker discovery studies for kidney cancer and prostate cancer detection in collaboration with Argentine biobanking systems and hospitals. We are also involved in collaborative studies applying metabolomics workflows to address health-related scientific questions. In addition, we are conducting ambient MS-based untargeted metabolomics experiments to investigate marine chemical environments in collaboration with different European research groups. Since my return to Argentina, I have coordinated metabolomics courses in CIBION for South American students, and have participated in promoting awareness of metabolomics and its advantages throughout Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia with the hope of broadening and strengthening the South American metabolomics community. I have participated in past Latin American Metabolic Profiling Symposiums, and now I serve on the organizing committee. I am a member of the Metabolomics Society and the Metabolomics Quality Assurance and Quality Control Consortium (mQACC), where I participate on the Defining Best Practices working group, and I am also guest editor of a special issue in the journal Metabolites.
Statement of Purpose: My intended goals, if elected, include the promotion of the metabolomics field in the South American region to show that metabolomics technologies can be transformative for health and nutrition, agriculture, and for understanding marine chemical environments, among others. I would also try to promote collaborative international studies involving different geographical locations as well as training initiatives in South America with metabolomics experts. Implementing multipurpose metabolic profiling platforms in resource-limited research settings is a priority as it helps to ensure global health equity and move this exciting, comprehensive, and versatile field forward in developing countries.
University of California San Diego (USA)
Biography: I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Pieter Dorrestein’s laboratory (UC San Diego, https://dorresteinlab.ucsd.edu), part of the Center for Microbiome Innovation (http://cmi.ucsd.edu/). During my PhD at the CNRS (Paris area) and at the University of Corsica, I expanded the use of mass spectrometry-based molecular networking (LC-MS/MS) into the discovery of novel plant metabolites with the GNPS web-platform (http://gnps.ucsd.edu). As part of my research I enjoyed carrying out the structure elucidation of novel small molecules by NMR spectroscopy. Following my PhD, I obtained a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship (European Commission funding) to continue my training and research at the UC San Diego in California, where I develop and apply methods for the study of plant-microbial interaction and of other natural ecosystems (http://www.earthmicrobiome.org/). In addition, I am actively engaged in creating the next generation of LC-MS-based structure annotation tools informed by genome mining and NMR analysis. Since 2019, I am part of the European coordination action for Microbiome research (https://www.microbiomesupport.eu/).
Statement of Purpose: What I love about the Metabolomics Society is the diversity of its members and expertises that constitutes an inclusive and innovative ground for research and networking opportunities. If elected, I would do my best to serve the Metabolomics Society, and learn from the more experienced Board Directors. Personally, I would be very excited to participate in the creation of a “Microbiome” task group that would focus on methodological development and initiative for the integration of next-generation microbial sequencing and metabolomics. In addition, I would also be very excited in contributing regularly to the Society’s social media communication channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Website ...), such as animating topic-centric channels that would broadcast novel articles and funding opportunities.
Metabolomics Australia, Bio21 Institute (Australia)
Biography: I obtained my PhD in Analytical Chemistry at the LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia. In 2005, I joined Centre for Drug Candidate and Optimisation at Monash University, where I developed LC-MS based methodologies to analyse drug metabolite in biological fluids. In 2008, I took a position as a research scientist at Metabolomics Australia (MA), at the University of Melbourne, which is funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) through Bioplatforms Australia Ltd. For the past 11 years, I have been one of the main instrumental researchers, who developed analytical methodologies based on LC-MS for metabolomics. Having developed many methodologies for small molecule analysis for targeted and untargetted metabolomics as well as lipidomics, which has been great input for many researchers, nationally and internationally, I have been recognised by a numerous number of publications. In 2010, I established Australian Lipid Meeting (ALM), a national meeting for lipidomics, which is held every two years in Australia. In addition I was an active committee member for Australasian Metabolomics Network, Asian-Oceanian Symposium on Plant Lipids (ASPL) and organised a number of conferences in metabolomics and lipidomics. I am also an active member in promoting women in science, as well as diversity and inclusion at the University of Melbourne, which is something I am always passionate about. I would like to use my knowledge, experience and courage to bring changes, helping develop to the metabolimics society into the future and be a voice for all walks of life.
Statement of Purpose: If I am elected, my intend goals as Director to serve the society’s growth and promotion, making decision to achieve the best outcome. I will promote metabolomics society in early careers and women in metabolomics with future leadership in the world.
RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (Japan)
Biography: After obtaining Doctor of Engineering in 2012 at Osaka University (Supervisor: Prof. Eiichiro Fukusaki), I started my career as a researcher at RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (Team Leader: Dr. Masanori Arita). Through the collaboration with Prof. Oliver Fiehn at UC Davis for more than 4 years, I have been developing MS-DIAL and MS-FINDER software programs (http://prime.psc.riken.jp/) for untargeted metabolomics and lipidomics. Since 2017 I have a joint appointment at RIKEN Center for Integrated Medical Sciences (Team Leader: Dr. Makoto Arita), and also serve as Visiting Associate Professor at Yokohama City University, Japan.
Statement of Purpose: Metabolomics is the core of my research, and the Society is always supportive for the “computational mass spectrometry”. I would like to contribute to the entire community through computational acceleration for both experts and beginners. If the society can promote the use of appropriate analysis methods with appropriate guidelines, there will be more users of metabolome data, especially non-academic members. Such promotion will eventually accelerate exchanges of not only data but also human resources as I traveled many countries through informatics research. Since I am standing from Japan, I would like to promote research in the Asian communities as the potential power to lead future science. As a software developer, I would like to contribute to (A) the metabolomics data standardization to be easily linked to the other omics layers and (B) the continuous platform updates (with document/video tutorials) to facilitate biological researches using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics. In metabolomics conference, I will plan to organize the workshop of computational metabolomics using mass spectrometry where the state-of-the-art software programs can be learned and the active discussions for future improvements are performed together with biologists, chemists, and informaticians.
University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
Biography: Dr. Fidele Tugizimana – is currently (i) a research scientist in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa (SA), (ii) a research Scientist and management team in the International R&D division, at Omnia Group (Pty), Ltd, SA and (iii) a scientific consultant in L.E.A.F. (L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals LLC), USA-Rwanda. After the completion of a B.Phil. degree in Philosophy (magna cum laude) from the Urbaniana University, Rome in 2004, Dr. Tugizimana enrolled in a B.Sc. Biochemistry-Chemistry degree program at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa in 2006. Dr. Tugizimana acquired his M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry (cum laude) in 2012; and obtained his PhD degree in Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg in 2017. Dr. Tugizimana has attended different workshops and advanced courses on metabolomics/metabolism including the EMBO metabolomics workshop (Cambridge, UK, 2013) and the metabolic modelling and pathway analysis course (at the Wageningen University, Netherlands, 2014). He has gained extensive experience (skills, knowledge and hands-on experience) throughout the metabolomic pipeline from experimental design to advanced analytical platforms (such as GC-MS, LC-MS and NMR) and the downstream data analysis and interpretation. Dr. Tugizimana applies metabolomics approaches (complemented with gene expression analyses) to interrogate cellular biochemistry at global level, particularly in plant-environment interactions. His work has led to several publications in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and has also been presented at different local and international conferences, including the last five international conferences of the metabolomics society (San Francisco–2015, Dublin–2016, Brisbane–2017, Seattle–2018 and The Hague–2019).\
Dr. Tugizimana was involved in setting up a metabolomics research group and Plant Metabolomics Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg, SA. He is also involved in metabolomics training in SA as an organizer and a trainer: e.g. the SIMCA-based data analysis workshop (2015, with an Imperial college team), annual Metabolomics training workshops (since 2016, with an international team: Drs. Reza Salek, Karl Burgess, Fabien Jourdan, Justin van Hooft, Naomi Rankin and Jos Hageman). Dr. Tugizimana has been involved in establishing the Metabolomics South Africa (MSA), of which he is the chairperson / president, an official international affiliate to the Metabolomics Society since June 2018. Dr. Tugizimana is an active member of the Metabolomics Society: (i) a committee member and secretary of the Early-career members Network (EMN) committee (2016-2017); (ii) a member of the Society Strategy Task group; (iii) the Data Standards Task group and (iv) the International Organizing Committee (IOC) for the Metabolomics Society Conference 2017 and 2019. In addition to being an active member of the Metabolomics Society, Dr. Tugizimana is also a member of other South African scientific societies (including ChromSA, SAAMS and SASBMB). Dr. Tugizimana is a guest-editor for a special issue “Metabolomics in Agriculture” of the Metabolites, a MDPI journal.
Statement of Purpose: If trusted and elected for a Director position on the BoD of the Metabolomics Society, I would like to continue serving the Metabolomics Society (and the metabolomics community in general) in ways that promote the growth, use and understanding of metabolomics in the life sciences across the globe, and particularly in South Africa and in Africa in general. Recently, in 2017, the Metabolomics Society effected a comprehensive membership survey to evaluate its current success in pursuing its mission, define opportunities for improving its services to the community and discern the future goals and direction of the Society. As shown by the results of this membership survey, as published in the journal of Metabolites and presented at the metabolomics conference, one of the areas of focus is increasing membership in geographical regions such as South America and Africa. Being active member (chair) of the newly established affiliate, Metabolomics South Africa (MSA), if trusted and elected for a Director position on the BoD of the Metabolomics Society, I will contribute in developing initiatives and framework to increase interactions between the Society and MSA, which will open opportunities and channels for networking, collaborations and increasing membership in Africa. The metabolomics training workshops we (MSA) have started in South Africa are always highly attended in numbers, showing the great need for understanding and use of metabolomics in life sciences in South Africa and Africa in general. And this, visibly, predicts a significant growth of metabolomics in Africa. Furthermore, I look forward to contribute in the aspects of data quality and data standards initiatives; to fostering metabolomics training in different aspects of the metabolomics workflow. Additionally, I believe and see science as a collective effort, hence, when elected as a Director, I will enthusiastically promote communication and collaborations between different research groups or individuals, from different multidisciplinary expertise, and from different parts of the globe; suggesting programs or networking platforms for this end; and indeed, networking has been identified as a focus area by the abovementioned recent membership survey. Thus, when elected as a Director, and as part of the team, promotion of metabolomics in South Africa and Africa, training, data quality and standardization initiatives and member networking will be my areas of contribution and focus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)
Biography: Candice Z. Ulmer, Ph.D. received a B.S. degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC (USA) in 2012. While there in the honors college, she was first introduced to mass spectrometry and investigated the pharmaceutical photodegradation of NSAIDs using ESI-LC-MS/MS under the direction of Dr. Wendy Cory. As a McKnight Doctoral Fellow, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida (USA) in 2016 under the direction of Dr. Richard Yost and the guidance of Dr. Timothy Garrett. For her doctoral work, she applied UHPLC-HRMS techniques to profile the metabolome/lipidome of human cells and tissues to better understand the disease etiology of Type 1 Diabetes and melanoma skin cancer. Her research comprised experience with various modes of ionization (e.g., MALDI, ESI, APCI, DESI, FlowProbe, and DART) and multiple sample matrices. She also incorporated novel stable isotope labeling methodologies such as Isotopic Ratio Outlier Analysis (IROA) with Dr. Chris Beecher to aid in the identification of metabolites as compound identification was still considered a bottleneck in metabolomics studies. During her graduate tenure, Dr. Ulmer was also an active researcher and contributor to the NIH-funded Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics (SECIM).
Dr. Ulmer continued her studies in metabolomics and lipidomics during her National Research Council (NRC) post-doctoral research associate appointment with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the direction of Dr. John Bowden. She was actively involved with multi-omic UHPLC-HRMS method development, environmental exposure monitoring on human/marine life, as well as the first international interlaboratory study on lipidomics. While there, she designed and implemented three lipidomics software (LipidMatch, LipidPioneer, and LipidQC) alongside Dr. Jeremy Koelmel and Dr. Christina Jones to aid in the harmonization of lipid measurements.
Dr. Ulmer is currently an Associate Service Fellow working as a Clinical Research Chemist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA (USA). She is involved with the planning and execution of programs to standardize metabolite measurements to improve the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases/conditions for patients. Dr. Ulmer has implemented immunocapture and mass spectrometric techniques to develop accurate mass spectrometric reference measurement procedures to improve clinical laboratory tests.
Dr. Ulmer has been an active and continuous member of the Metabolomics Society since graduate school. She served two years as an elected Early-Career Members Network (EMN) committee member (2016-2018). She is also a member of the MetSoc Training Committee, which aims to promote training activities within metabolomics and identify/support new training needs, particularly in regions where efforts are emerging or in the developmental stage. Outside of her MetSoc duties, Dr. Ulmer serves as the co-chair for the ASMS Clinical Chemistry committee, an elected board member of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) Committee on Bone Metabolism, a member of the ASMS Publication Committee, and chair of the ACS Women in Chemistry Scholarship committee for the Atlanta division. With over 20 publications and a patent as an early-career chemist, her innovations in the field of small molecules and mass spectrometry were recently highlighted in the June 2018 edition of the Faces of Mass Spectrometry for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
Statement of Purpose: As the scope of metabolomics continues to expand, harmonized practices and reporting measures have become even more important. My involvement in the metabolomics field has been greatly focused on mitigating areas of need/challenges in harmonizing and standardizing metabolomics protocols within the biomarker discovery workflow. If elected, I would like to aid the society’s efforts in establishing harmonized quality assurance /quality control (QA/AC) measures to assess the quality of metabolomics data. My expertise in the development of reference measurement procedures and reference materials for targeted metabolomics applications can be of use in this area as many of the strategies/policies employed can be adopted/modified for untargeted metabolomics platforms. As a previous EMN committee member (see above), I was actively involved with organizing various aspects of the annual MetSoc meeting, including the pre-meeting workshops. Building on these experiences within EMN and leadership roles outside out of the society, I am interested in increasing the visibility of the society and promoting Metabolites amongst other established organizations. In addition, I am also passionate about highlighting and supporting the needs of metabolomics programs in developing countries/regions. If elected, I would like to continue serving on the MetSoc training committee and establish a stronger connection with the professional metabolomics societies in these areas to help advance the field.
Netherlands Metabolomics Centre (The Netherlands)
Biography: My name is Merlijn van Rijswijk, I am the Director of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre. Some of you may know me as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of Metabolomics2019 in The Hague, others from my work in the International Affiliates Taskgroup of the Society. I studied Chemistry and Biotechnology, and thereafter I pursued a career in government, working for over 10 years at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. I have set up and coordinated many large public-private research initiatives, served as policy maker on life sciences, foresight and entrepreneurship and was a project leader serving the Innovation Platform, a think tank of our Cabinet chaired by our Prime Minister. After policy making I decided to go back to my roots, the life sciences field and joined the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre as Director and completed a Masters of Business Administration at the Rotterdam School of Management.
Statement of Purpose: I would like to serve on the Board of the Metabolomics Society with a focus on empowering the Early Career Member Network, strengthening the ties with Industry, and increasing the collaboration between International Affiliates, in particular in those countries where a metabolomics community is emerging like in South America and Africa. Lastly I would like to initiate more dialogue with research policy makers in Brussels and NIH, regulators like FDA/EMA, and the society at large on the impact of (metabol)omics on societal challenges and personalized medicine.
Some examples of initiatives I have taken in the last year to illustrate these goals: in organizing Metabolomics2019, we have worked from assembling our bid for Metabolomics2019 with the EMN-network. This has resulted in a very well-attended Career Night, where young research could meet (potential) future employers in a speed-dating session, as well as have round-table discussions on career-related topics. We have modernized the conference with the introduction of a conference App and e-Posters during our conference. A record number of travel grants for young researchers has been made available by International Affiliates, and we had for the first time in years a session on the regulatory aspects of metabolomics as part of the New Frontiers track. Prior to the conference we organized a meeting between NIH and BBMRI on the (common) challenges in biobanking research. I cannot emphasize enough, that this only has been possible with the help of many who believed and supported these initiatives.
I would be proud to serve on behalf of you on the Board of the Society and continue to work with members on new initiatives, and thereby enabling scientists to make our field more mature and impactful.