Dr David Sumpton

Head of Metabolomics Facility

The Metabolomics facility employs state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques to measure small molecule (metabolite) changes in cancer cells, to support cancer metabolism research projects within the Institute.

Using high-resolution Thermo Scientific Q-Exactive mass spectrometers and HILIC chromatography, we have well-established LC-MS methods for both targeted and untargeted analysis of small polar molecules. With our targeted approach to metabolomics, we measure approximately 100 metabolites per sample, encompassing a broad range of metabolites of different classes. Experiments using stable isotope tracers (often 13C glucose) enable us to examine the intracellular kinetics of many metabolites produced from the tracer. Using an untargeted approach, metabolomics is used to look for novel metabolic changes, by identifying compounds showing altered abundances in cancer cells.

Our Thermo Scientific Altis triple quad mass spectrometer is used for specific targeted LC-MS/MS analysis, such as the measurement of lysophosphatidic acids. Our LC-MS systems are complemented with our Agilent Technologies GC-MS/MS triple quad instrument, for measuring compounds such as fatty acids and acetate.

We provide advice for sample preparation for a range of sample types, including cell extracts, plasma, urine and tumour tissue, and support for data analysis, based on Thermo Scientific TraceFinder and Compound Discoverer software.