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News & Events

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!!

MSI-CE-MS versus 1H NMR

Check out our newest publication that features the first inter-method comparison of MSI-CE-MS with 1H NMR for serum metabolite quantification, as well as the identification of serum biomarkers associated with liver fibrosis progression in hepatitis C patients. Congratulations to Meera and Zach as well as our previous thesis students, Holly and Richel for this publication. Thanks to all of our collaborators as well including Dr. Sarfaraz and Dr. Wishart for your ongoing support and collaboration.

A Cross-Platform Metabolomics Comparison Identifies Serum Metabolite Signatures of Liver Fibrosis Progression in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients

Welcoming Navneet to the group

The Britz group would also like to welcome Navneet Kang to our research group as an NSERC undergraduate summer student. Navneet comes to us from the Chemical Biology program here at McMaster. We can't wait to see what exciting research you are apart of this summer.

Check out our newest publication

The Britz-McKibbin group would like to congratulate one of our former members, Mai Yamamoto, for her recent publication seeking to identify urinary metabolic signatures of pediatric IBD at diagnosis, and during induction treatment. We are always excited to see one of our current (or former) student's work get published. In Mai's work over 122 urinary metabolites were reliably measured from pediatric IBD patients and dynamic changes in sum-normalized urinary metabolites were also monitored following exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) or corticosteroid therapy (CT) in repeat urine samples collected over 8 weeks. Take a look at her results!

Urinary Metabolites Enable Differential Diagnosis and Therapeutic Monitoring of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Undergraduate Thesis Night

A big congratulations to all of our undergraduate thesis students who defended their theses tonight! A great job done by all. Everyone in the Britz-McKibbin group wishes each of you nothing but the best in your future endeavors. Also a HUGE congrats to Sriprada Thallpalli on winning the Analytical section's award for best presentation!

New publication alert!

Congratulations to Meera, Zach, Biban and everyone else who contributed to our most recent publication in Nature Protocols. Over 7 months, 4 cohorts or pregnant women from across Canada were profiled (n = 1004) using metabolomics. Stringent quality controls were used to ensure samples were analyzed both accurately and precisely using multisegment injection-capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. We also report reference intervals for 53 serum metabolites from a diverse population of women in their second trimester of pregnancy. Take a look at the publication!

The maternal serum metabolome by multisegment injection-capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry: a high-throughput platform and standardized data workflow for large-scale epidemiological studies

Welcome Na-Yung to the research group

It's a new semester and that means a new co-op student is starting in the Britz-McKibbin group. Welcome to the group Na-Yung, we are looking forward to your contributions this semester to our lab group's research particularly with the large-scale epidemiological PURE study. With it being the end of last semester too we also have to say good-bye to Eric. Thanks for all of your help as a co-op student. With that being said, we are happy to still have you in the research group as you finish your final semester at McMaster as a research student.

Check out our newest IBD paper

A big congratulations to Julie-Anne, a former undergrad in the Britz-McKibbin group currently in Medical School at McGill University for her recent publication in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. Therein she validated two methods for determination of 3 short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and 5 electrolytes in lyophilized fecal extracts using CE-iUV. She was able to study how these SCFAs and electrolytes varied among Crohn's and ulcerative colitis patients who were treated with exclusive enteral nutrition or corticosteroid therapy. Check out her work!!

Lyophilized fecal short-chain fatty acid and electrolyte determination by capillary electrophoresis with indirect UV detection for assessment of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease


Recently accepted CE-MS ring trial our group participated in is out now!

Article link:


Capillary zone electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) is a mature analytical tool for the efficient profiling of (highly) polar and ionizable compounds. However, the use of CE-MS in comparison to other separation techniques remains underrepresented in metabolomics, as this analytical approach is still perceived as technically challenging and less reproducible, notably for migration time. The latter is key for a reliable comparison of metabolic profiles and for unknown biomarker identification that is complementary to high resolution MS/MS. In this work, we present the results of a Metabo-ring trial involving 16 CE-MS platforms among 13 different laboratories spanning two continents. The goal was to assess the reproducibility and identification capability of CE-MS by employing effective electrophoretic mobility (µeff) as the key parameter in comparison to the relative migration time (RMT) approach. For this purpose, a representative cationic metabolite mixture in water, pretreated human plasma and urine samples spiked with the same metabolite mixture, were used and distributed for analysis by all laboratories. The µeff was determined for all metabolites spiked into each sample. The background electrolyte (BGE) was prepared and employed by each participating lab following the same protocol. All other parameters (capillary, interface, injection volume, voltage ramp, temperature, capillary conditioning and rinsing procedure, etc.) were left to the discretion of the contributing labs. The results revealed that the reproducibility of the µeff for 20 out of the 21 model compounds was below 3.1% vs. 10.9% for RMT, regardless of the huge heterogeneity in experimental conditions and platforms across the thirteen labs. Overall, this Metabo-ring trial demonstrated that CE-MS is a viable and reproducible approach for metabolomics.