The Second MSA Symposium exhibits South African talent in the field of Metabolomics

The second Metabolomics (MSA) Symposium was held on the 20-21 October 2021. This was another installation of efforts by members of the MSA committee of directors, the MSA subcommittees, the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) and the many other partners. What started off an idea three years ago, has grown into a very useful coming together of researchers and students with a common interest. The symposium was a to demonstrate the Metabolomics work that has been taking place in South Africa and by some of the members of the association.

The symposium was held over two days and attracted a crowd of over 100 participants. There were 24 speakers of diverse backgrounds and research experience. The event was especially designed to offer the younger speakers an opportunity to present their work and get some exposure. The sessions were chaired by Dr Aurelia Williams (North-West University), Dr Fidele Tugizimana (University of Johannesburg) and Prof Duncan Cromarty (University of Pretoria).

Here are some highlights from the symposium:

Keynote speakers included:

  • Prof Alvaro Viljoen from Tshwane University of Technology whose talk was titled Metabolomics – an indispensable tool in medicinal plant research.
  • Dr Tiffany Thomas from Columbia University Medical Center in the United States who presented on the structural and metabolic changes of red cells in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • Dr Volker Kruft from SCIEX who gave a talk on Clinical Metabolomics: The path to finding new markers.

Training sessions:

  • Molecular Networking by Dr Fidele Tugizimana and his young team from the University of Johannesburg.
  • Validation of Metabolomics Data by Dr Mari van Wyk from North-West University (Potchefstroom).

The AGM

The annual general meeting was held at the end of Day 1 and was used as an opportunity for MSA leadership to provide feedback of progress from the previous periods as well as insights into future MSA plans.

Best Speaker Awards:

  • Anza T. Ramabulana from the University of Johannesburg was awarded the best speaker award for her talk titled Metabolomics and computational tools to characterize the chemical space of Momordica plant species.
  • Chanel Pretorius from the University of Johannesburg was the other best speaker for her talk titled Metabolomic analysis of oat (Avena sativa L.) plants: A strategy for cultivar identification and differentiation.

The first MSA symposium was held not too long ago during the launch of MSA in 2019. This ACGT has been very invested in doing eve thing possible to facilitate the growth of MSA.  It is very encouraging that momentum from all previous efforts has not been lost and that the MSA and its initiative is still ongoing. We would like to thank the speakers for donating their time and the attendees for making time to attend this event. We would like to thank the sponsors of this event and we look forward to future to working with you again in future events.