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UK Lipidomics Biomarker Initiative to Use Thermo Scientific Mass Specs

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Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that the Human Nutrition Research unit of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, will use the Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap Velos, MALDI LTQ Orbitrap XL, and Exactive mass spectrometer systems for research in metabolomics and lipidomics.

The purchase comes as part of a £2 million ($3.3 million) award that Dietrich Volmer, head of the Bioanalytical Sciences division at HNR, recently received to establish the Cambridge Lipidomics Biomarker Research Initiative.

In line with this, the MRC purchased four mass specs based on Orbitrap technology: an LTQ Orbitrap Velos biomarker discovery platform, a MALDI LTQ Orbitrap XL instrument, and two Exactive benchtop LC-MS systems. The Exactive instruments will be used in the high-throughput biomarker screening stages of the CLBRI projects, whereas the Orbitrap Velos will be applied to more detailed structural identification research such as those performed in biomarker qualification applications.

Thermo said that MRC selected the Orbitrap technology for high-throughput and high-performance metabolomic and lipidomic profiling "that has not been possible using traditional mass spectrometry instrumentation."

Volmer will use the technology to support research into nutrition-related human diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The group aims to build a population-based lipidomics platform that will enable studies of 10,000 or more samples and identify biomarkers of nutritional intake, health, and disease.

Thermo said that "initial experiments" performed by Volmer’s team in collaboration with company researchers "have demonstrated the unique capability of Orbitrap technology to perform both targeted and non-targeted lipidomics profiling experiments in large sample sets."

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