The first of many more metabolomics workshops to come in Gauteng.

Central to all metabolomics studies is the accurate identification and elucidation of changes in small molecule profiles related to changes stimulated by the environment or pathogen attack whether in humans, animals or plants. This approach makes use of analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance and has received more attention in recent years. Compounds identified through metabolomic profiling represent a range of intermediate metabolic pathways that may serve as important biomarkers in animal and plant research and is therefore considered a valuable approach for elucidating metabolic changes associated with a phenotypic change.

An exciting 5-day Metabolomics workshop was hosted between the 7th and 11th of March 2016 in series of ‘omic-based workshops hosted and funded by the ACGT and Bioinformatics Service Platform (BSP). The workshop aimed to provide a platform for discussion of the key questions and challenges in the field of metabolomics, from study design to metabolite identification. This workshop was designed to include lectures, computer-based tutorial sessions, participant presentations and interactive group discussion.

The ACGT were extremely privileged regarding the facilitation of these workshops as they managed to secure several international and local trainers; all of whom possess a wealth of expertise and knowledge in different aspects of Proteomics and Metabolomics. International trainers included: Dr Reza Salek (University of Cambridge), Dr Karl Burgess (University of Glasgow) and Prof Ron Wehrens (Wageningen University). South African trainers included: Prof Ian Dubery, Dr Edwin Madala and Mr Fidele Tugizimana (all from the University of Johannesburg), as well as Prof Alvaro Viljoen (Tshwane University of Technology).

The workshop kicked off with a fun “ice-breaker” session, where attendees had a few minutes to introduce themselves, their research interests and their expectations from the workshop. The remainder of the workshop was made up of a combination of lecturers, hand-on tutorials, group presentations, group discussions and computer-based exercises. The workshop ended positively, as participants and trainers were enthusiastic about setting up a South African metabolomics community moving forward, where the community are able to learn from each other based on shared experience. Possible future collaborations were also discussed.

With the great success of this workshop, the ACGT look forward to hosting many more future workshops like these in the future! For more information on upcoming bioinformatics training events, visit the events page on the ACGT website (, like us on Facebook ( or contact Farhahna Allie at

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