Collaborative partnerships continue to fuel the success of Metabolomics in South Africa

There has been a recent wave of successful training workshops, webinars and weekly journal club meetings organized and facilitated by active researchers and students in the field of Metabolomics in South Africa.  These events have been a true testament to how collaborative partnerships in science can be beneficial for all. Metabolomics South Africa (MSA) aims to promote Metabolomics in South Africa and Africa and has frequently partnered with the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) in pursuit of this aim. The partnership also includes many individuals from the University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa (UNISA), University of Pretoria, North-West University (NWU) and Tshwane University of Technology who are on the committee of directors and/or the different subcommittees and working groups.

The shared duties approach means that responsibilities in coordination and execution of agenda are spread out and are as inclusive as possible. The different individual and institutions also offer their respective expertise and guidance in navigating the metabolomics field and this has resulted in significant increase in following and participation in events. So far, 2022 has been to a great start with the number of planned meetings and training events that have already taken place and those that are still pending. Below are some of the events that have taken place in 2022:

Weekly journal clubs have been held since the beginning of April 2022 to empower young researchers from within the MSA partnerships and to promote constructive dialogue.  These weekly virtual journal clubs are led by Dr Shayne Mason from NWU and here are a few that have taken place:

  • Dr Shayne Mason (NWU) and Prof Gerhard Prinsloo (UNISA) – An introduction to NMR held on 7th April 2022.
  • Dr Fidele Tugizimana (UJ) – An introduction to LC-MS and GC-MS held on 21st April 2022.
  • Chandré Liebenberg (NWU) on characterising the serum immunometabolic profile of HIV/TB co-infection using untargeted GCxGC-TOF-MS analyses and flow cytometric cytokine measurements held on 28th April 2022.
  • Ms Kgalaletso Othibeng (UJ) – investigating the effects of biostimulants on maize plants under normal and stress conditions held on 28th April 2022.
  • Dr Ilse du Preez (NWU) – non-alcoholic liver disease held on 19th May 2022.
  • Ms Lerato Nephali (UJ) – Metabolomics studies to elucidate the biochemistry underlying the effects of biostimulants on maize held on 22nd June 2022.
  • Mr Wilson Bamise Adeosun (UNISA) – metabolomics approach to investigate the effect of environmental factors on the chemical profile and antimicrobial activities of Helichrysum aureonitens held on 9th June 2022.
  • Journal Club: Miss Anza Ramabulana (UJ) – Metabolomics and computational tools to characterise the metabolomes of Momordica species (23rd June 2022).

The Introductory Metabolomics Workshop was held virtually on the 12th of May 2022. About 85 participants from different parts of South Africa attended the workshop was well attended by roughly from different institutions in SA. facilitated by:

  • Dr Mari van Wyk (NWU) – The considerations for designing a metabolomics experiment
  • Dr Wilma Augustyn (TUT) – GC and UPLC considerations in a metabolomics study
  • Dr Maxleene Sandasi (TUT) – Data handling and mining topics.

The recordings for all these events  are available on the MSA YouTube channel. Unfortunately, the MSA website is still down (under construction) and the directors ask for patience during this time. There will be many other upcoming events and meetings. Here are a few in the chamber:

  • Multiple webinars on various topics – Dates will be announced.
  • Advanced Metabolomics Workshop – Dates to be confirmed.

The ACGT is looking forward to your participation in future webinars and events. The ACGT continues to pursue synergies and consortiums such as the MSA for collaborative initiatives. This approach continues to bear fruits and is one of the tools that demand continued use. For more Information and suggestions about future events and potential collaborations, please contact Mr Molati Nonyane at or .