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News & Events

Expanding Lipidomic Coverage

Check out Ritchie's newest publication in Analytical Chemistry from his PhD work. Here he explores a novel derivatization protocol for lipids based on 3-methyl-1-p-tolyltriazene (MTT) as a safer alternative to diazomethane for quantitative phospholipid (PL) methylation. This charge-switch derivatization strategy expanded his lipidome coverage when using MSI-NACE-MS under positive ion mode with improved resolution, greater sensitivity, and higher throughput.

Expanding Lipidomic Coverage in Multisegment Injection–Nonaqueous Capillary Electrophoresis–Mass Spectrometry via a Convenient and Quantitative Methylation Strategy

Publication in collaboration with David Mutch

What a month for publications it has been for our research group. As they say, when it rains, it pours! A big congratulations to Brittany from David Mutch's research group at the University of Guelph on her most recent publication. It's great to be able to collaborate alongside local researchers! We would be remiss to not also congratulate members of our research group for their contributions to this work. Congrats to Meera and Zach, as well as our former undergraduate co-op students Na-Yung and Vanessa for their critical work in this research. Check out the work where we discovered urinary metabolites that could be used to non-invasively monitor omega-3 index in urine to assess individuals undergoing, EPA or DHA supplementation for 12 weeks.

Urinary Metabolite Profiling to Non-Invasively Monitor the Omega-3 Index: An Exploratory Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial in Young Adults

New biomarkers of O3I

Congratulations to our former PhD student Ritchie Ly who recently published some of his thesis work where he discovered blood lipid biomarkers to more readily assess changes in the omega-3 index following high-dose fish oil, DHA or EPA only supplementation. This work was published in the Journal of Lipid Research. We also were recently featured in a McMaster University media release because of this work and it's significant impact on human nutrition and health. 

Lipidomic Studies Reveal Specific Circulating Phosphatidylcholines as Surrogate Biomarkers of Omega-3 Index

Omega watch: Researchers develop new test to measure omega-3 fatty acids in blood

Celebrating Masahide's work

It was great to be able to take Masahide, a Japanese summer student completing some research in our group this summer to a local microbrewery to celebrate all of his work before he leaves on Sunday. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication this summer and best of luck back in Japan. Masahide worked on developing and optimizing CE-iUV methods for the detections of cations and anions in human saliva!

Postdoctoral Research Scientist Position in Exposomics

We are hiring!  A funded postdoctoral scientist research position is available in metabolomics to objectively assess dietary and smoke exposures relevant to population health at McMaster University.

The Britz-McKibbin laboratory at McMaster University ( is a member of The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) and is focused on applying high throughput methodologies for biomarker discovery using multiplexed capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry technology.
This position involves an exciting multidisciplinary project related to the assessment of dietary, tobacco smoke and other exposures on clinical events in a prospective cohort of participants from 14 countries with colleagues at the PHRI Population Health Research Institute in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Qualifications and How to Apply:

Seeking a qualified candidate with a PhD in chemistry/biochemistry (or related field to metabolomics or exposomics) with laboratory experience in method development/validation using liquid chromatography or capillary electrophoresis with high-resolution mass spectrometry together with computational skills in data pre-processing and statistical analysis using R, and unknown metabolite or lipid identification by MS/MS.

Candidates with excellent organizational and communication skills are sought after with a passion for scientific integrity, data transparency, QC/QA, and trainee mentorship.
Start date for this position is November 2023 (up to 2 years, renewable after first year) - later start dates may also be considered.

Please forward a cover letter and a curriculum vitae ASAP by email to Dr. Britz-McKibbin ( that also includes contact information for at least 3 references.

Jacqueline's MetaboNews interview

Our summer co-op student was recently featured in MetaboNews after being awarded 1st place for her oral presentation at the CanMetCon2023 conference held at Niagara on the Lake. Not only was her presentation one for the books we love seeing our student's work highlighted and recognized. Jacqueline is a talent for sure and we consider ourselves lucky to have her as a co-op student until December. 

If you want to check out her interview with MetaboNews you can access it here (Volume 13, Issue 6): MetaboNews

WAE McBryde Medal

Back at the beginning of the month, Dr. Britz was honoured by receive the WAE McBryde medal award in analytical chemistry at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver (CSC 2023) Thank-you to the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition for this award and to Dr. Christina Bottaro from Memorial University who serves as Director of Awards at the CSC. 

Metabolomics 2023

What a great week hosting the Metabolomics 2023 conference in the beautiful Niagara Falls last week. It was great catching up with former students and watching all the wonderful presentation. Some extra congratulations to Stellena and Sandi, former PhD students in our group who received travel awards for the conference as well as Alicia (former PhD student), Sandi and Zach on a wonderful presentations. Looking forward to Metabolomics 2024 being hosted in Japan!

Chemistry International Excellence Scholarship

A big congratulations to Patricia, in our lab group, on being awarded the Chemistry International Excellence Scholarship. We couldn't think of a better candidate who works more diligently.

TA Award: Patricia Pissolatti

We are proud to announce that another one of our graduate students, Patricia Pissolatti was just awarded a TA award for all her hard work with the third year analytical chemistry course (CHEM 3AA3). Great work Patricia and thanks for all your help!!

OGS Scholarship: Erick Helmeczi

A very big congratulations to Erick Helmeczi, a Chemical Biology PhD candidate within our lab group on his recent OGS scholarship. We couldn't think of a more deserving candidate.

Congrats Prem and Natasia!

Congratulations to two of our undergrad thesis students, Prem and Natasia who won first and second place respectively for this thesis talks last week within the analytical chemistry stream. A group of professors score each presentation and they received the top two scores. 

Prem's research focused on studying the urinary metabolome of irritable bowel disease (IBD) patients, with the objective to try and confirm/discover urinary metabolites that differentiate the IBD subtypes (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). 

Natasia studied the fecal metabolome of mice who were B9 and B12 deficient to try and better understand the role B vitamins play with respect to the gut microbiota.

Great work once again!

Undergrad Thesis Presentations

We got to celebrate our undergrad students today as they presented their thesis talks. A big congratulations to Jacqueline, Prem, Claire, and Natasia on your successful research projects. It has been such a privilege to walk alongside each of you this past year during your research projects. We cannot wait to see what you all accomplish and we wish you all the best of luck on what's next. If you are interested in completing a thesis project in our research group, reach out!

Analytical Science Magazine

Did you know we were recently featured in Analytical Science Magazine on our CE-MS metabolomics research program. Take a look at the interview for yourself if you are interested in some of our more recent research projects and developments. 

Q&A with Philip Britz-McKibbin


Two of our undergraduate students, Claire and Jacqueline, were at Trent University this past weekend presenting their undergraduate thesis research at the annual Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference. Great work ladies on your thesis work this past year. We are looking forward to your thesis presentations, along with the rest of our undergraduate students in April. 

Urinary Thiocyanate as a Robust Biomarker of Active Tobacco Smoking

Check out the groups most recent publication featuring Stellena's (currently a post-doc at the University of Toronto) work validating urinary thiocyanate as a biomarker of active tobacco smoking from participants in the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study. They examined the associations between urinary thiocyanate and self-reported never and current smokers among 1000 participants from 14 countries using capillary electrophoresis and analyzed urinary thiocyanate in light and heavy smokers as compared to never-smokers from high-, middle-, and low-income countries. The work was also featured in a McMaster press release, how exciting!

Validation of Urinary Thiocyanate as a Robust Biomarker of Active Tobacco Smoking in the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study

McMaster researchers find tobacco users in Canada are exposed to higher levels of cyanide than other regions

W.A.E. McBryde Medal

The W. A. E. McBryde Medal is presented to a young scientist working in Canada who has made a significant achievement in pure or applied analytical chemistry. We are so pleased to announce that Philip Britz-McKibbin is the 2023 recipient. We are looking forward to CSC to accept this prestigious honor.

Dynamic metabolic signatures of choline and carnitine across healthy pregnancy and in cord blood: Association with maternal dietary protein

Congrats to Meera and Zach on their most recent publication exploring the importance of choline and carnitine during fetal development. They discovered that despite inadequate choline intake, serum free choline was elevated in late pregnancy and enriched in cord blood compared to maternal serum. Serum carnitine declined in late pregnancy despite a high protein diet. The higher cord:maternal concentrations in choline and carnitine metabolites suggests active uptake in late pregnancy.

Join us at Metabolomics 2023

We are very excited to host Metabolomics 2023 in picturesque Niagara Falls! Abstract submissions are now open, we hope to see you there!

The conference will cover the major scientific themes of: Technology Advances; Computational Metabolomics, Statistics, and Bioinformatics; Metabolomics in Health and Disease; and Metabolomics of Plants, Food, Environment and Microbes. A special theme for this conference will focus on Mental Health, Drug Addiction and Medicinal Cannabis. 

Ritchie has graduated!

We are always very happy to see our grad students defend and a massive congratulations needs to be extended to Ritchie Ly for successfully defending his PhD thesis where he focused on expanding our groups repertoire of lipids we can detect using NACE-MS. Ritchie has not only gained a respect from everyone in our lab that he has mentored but is well known across campus by all of the students he has TA'd winning McMaster's TA award in 2020. Congrats Ritchie and all the best on your future endeavours in Japan!

MSc: Megan Magee

Another successful defense in our research group. A big congratulations to Megan who successfully defended her Masters thesis this past Thursday. Her contributions on the proper handling and storage conditions of fecal samples will be used in the lab for generations to come. We cannot wait to see where you are off to next and all that you accomplish.

Iodine deficiency article in Globe & Mail

We are very exciting to be sharing a recent feature article in the Globe & Mail featuring a former PhD student's work. Congratulations to Stellena on having your research on the prevalence of iodine deficiency and state of iodine nutrition across Canada featured in this article. Check it out!!

Why you need to put iodine on your nutritional radar

ICASS 2022

We really enjoyed our time at ICASS last week in Kingston. From the sunset dinner cruise to the presentations from our lab group we had a great time. Great work Zach, Vanessa, and Erick on your presentations.

Congratulations to Biban on an excellent PhD defense!

A big congratulations to Biban who successfully defended her PhD today. Over the past couple years, Biban focused on several studies that took advantage of multiplexed capillary electrophoresis separations for applications in metabolomics and exposomics. This ranged from rapid screening of urinary hydroxypyrene to monitor PAH exposures from tobacco smoke/ambient air pollution to investigating and deducing risk assessment from smoking between high, middle and low income countries using data from over 63 countries.


Congratulations again and best of luck on your future endeavours. 



Our new PhD graduate: Dr. Stellena Mathiaparanam

A very big congratulations to Stellena who successfully defended her PhD defense today. Over the past 5 years Stellena has had two major research themes that take advantage of capillary electrophoresis (CE) separations, including (1) the targeted analysis of urinary iodide and thiocyanate for assessment of nutritional adequacy and tobacco smoke exposures in the population, and (2) the discovery of new biomarkers in sweat specimens that may improve universal newborn screening programs for cystic fibrosis (CF) infants that goes beyond impaired chloride transport.

The lab won't be the same without you but we cannot wait to see all that you accomplish.

Erick's Vitamin D Paper Published + McMaster Daily News Feature

Congratulations to Erick on his recently published work in the Journal of Lipid Research on high throughput screening for Vitamin D status for an ongoing clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Vitamin D supplementation to improve outcomes in clinically ill children.


McMaster Daily News Link:

Using exposomics to assess global disparities in smoking hazards

Congratulations to our colleagues at PHRI and to Biban for your recent publication using exposomics for more reliable assessment of global disparities in smoking hazards. Separate studies suggest that the risks from smoking might vary between high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries, but this has not yet been systematically examined within a single study using standardised approaches. We examined the variations in risks from smoking across different country income groups and some of their potential reasons.

Variations in risks from smoking between high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: an analysis of data from 179 000 participants from 63 countries

Britz Group - Christmas 2021 Outing

Pictures from our group outing at Nique for a 2021 Christmas dinner. Celebrating milestones reached by Meera and Zach for a large scale project.

Pictures from our group outing at Nique for a 2021 Christmas dinner. Celebrating milestones reached by Meera and Zach for a large scale project.


Group Xmas 2021 - 1


Ritchie's MSI-NACE-MS

Congratulations to Ritchie on your most recent publication in the Journal of Proteome Research featuring your breakthrough lipidomics MSI-NACE-MS work done in collaboration with Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT) in Japan!

Welcome new undergrad students

It's a new academic year in the Britz-McKibbin group and that means we have new undergrads to introduce. Welcome Vanessa, Claire, and Luxiga to our research group, we can't wait to see all your progress this year! Welcome back to Na-Yung, Navneet, Hani, and Michael as well who have all returned for further research opportunities. Glad to have all of you back!!