Metabolomics Research at the University of Johannesburg
Metabolomics research at the University of Johannesburg has grown exponentially since 2008 and now encompasses multiple research components in the Department of Biochemistry, mainly the newly established Center for Plant Metabolomics Research (CPMR) and the infectious and acquired disease metabolomics unit.
Prof. Ian Dubery (Director of the CPMR) and Dr. Fidele Tugizimana (CPMR) apply metabolomics to interrogate cellular biochemistry underlying the plant-environment interactions. The plant metabolomics research is strongly underpinned by the elucidation of molecular mechanisms governing the responses of naïve or primed plants to biotic or abiotic stresses.
For the infectious and acquired disease metabolomics research, Prof. Debra Meyer (Dean of the Faculty of Science) and Dr. Lungile Sitole apply metabolomics to better characterise infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, HIV-associated comorbidities and elucidate treatment response mechanisms.
Since 2017, Prof. Liza Bornman has also started to integrate metabolomics in her research that focuses on human genetic and epigenetic factors influencing susceptibility to infectious diseases, specifically tuberculosis. The bioanalytical facilities and expertise in both NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry-based metabolomics at the University of Johannesburg are world class, and the plant metabolomics research group has made significant contributions in development of methodologies in data acquisition, metabolite annotation and data analysis.
Dr. Fidele Tugizimana is an active member of the international Metabolomics Society (IMS): in committees and tasks groups, such as the Data Standards and Strategy Tasks Groups.