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Development and validation of a high throughput clinical lipidomics platform

The Metabolomics Group at the Baker Institute studies the role of lipid metabolism dysregulation in the development and progression of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. To enable this work, we have developed world-class technology which allows us to measure hundreds of different lipids within biological samples through the use of HPLC and tandem mass spectrometry. We are now in the process of translating these research-based protocols for use in a clinical setting, forming the Clinical Lipidomics Platform. The Clinical Lipidomics Platform will comprise two recently developed research capabilities working in concert and translated to a clinical setting. Firstly, from a single blood spot or plasma sample, currently available liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) technology will be employed to measure the concentration of several hundred clinically relevant lipid biomarkers in the patient’s blood; those found to be closely associated with disease outcomes. Secondly, using the resultant data, artificial intelligence (AI) based statistical modelling will be employed to determine the patient’s overall metabolic health, presented as a series of easily interpreted Metabolic Risk Scores, and subsequently used by clinicians and patients to predict future disease (Figure 1). Translating our current research protocols for the clinical platform will require the development of several different components, including a sample collection pipeline, robotic automation of sample processing, LC-MS/MS method development, automation of data collection and analysis, artificial intelligence and statistical modelling as well as a clinical interface to communicate results effectively with clinicians. Once established we will validate the platform using population and clinical cohorts as well as real-time testing of patients attending cardiac clinics. This project is suitable for a PhD or Masters student, who will work within the Metabolomics Group to help adapt our mass-spectrometry technology for a clinical setting.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Lipid metabolism, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mass spectrometry, statistical modelling
Baker Institute
Available options 
Masters by research
Masters by coursework
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Year 1: 
Year 2: 
Year 3: 
Physical location 
Baker Heart & Diabetes Instititute, Prahran (Next to Alfred Hospital)
Thomas Meikle

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