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The Britz-McKibbin Laboratory

“The scientific spirit does not rest content with applying that which is already known, but is a restless spirit, ever pressing forward towards the regions of the unknown…rejecting that which is worthless, and restraining too eager flights of the imagination and too hasty conclusions”

- Sir Archibald Garrod, “The Scientific Spirit in Medicine” (1912).

 

Research in the Britz-McKibbin group is focused on both fundamental and applied studies in bio-analytical chemistry when using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) for rapidly expanding metabolomic initiatives. Metabolomics is an exciting field of functional genomics research whose ultimate goal is the comprehensive analysis of all low molecular weight metabolites that exist in a cell or biofluid. As metabolites are “real-world” end-products of gene expression and environmental exposures, metabolomics offers a powerful approach for revealing underlying mechanisms of action, and identifying and quantifying novel biomarkers for improved diagnosis, prognosis or risk assessment for disease prevention. Our group is interested in addressing several major obstacles that hinder progress in metabolomics, including sample throughput, data quality and the identification of unknown metabolites of clinical significance in complex biological samples. Our innovative research program is unique in bridging the major gap between fundamental science and applications in clinical medicine and population health. Together with our many collaborators, we strive to contribute to new advances in drug screening and biomarker discovery, with particular interest in universal newborn screening, epidemiological studies and occupational health, developmental origins of health and disease, and lifestyle interventions based on diet and physical activity that promote human health on an individual level.

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Fig. 1 An overview of the human metabolome as compared to other “-omics” domains for functional understanding of the complex interactions between genes and environment that is closely associated with phenotype and physiological responses, which is important to elucidate the impact of diet, physical activity, pharmacological agents and lifelong chemical exposures on human health.