Wishart Node of The Metabolomics Innovation Centre

The Wishart Node Story

Dr. David Wishart is a pioneer in the field of Metabolomics and a founding member of The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC).  TMIC is a nationally funded core facility supported by some of Canada’s top metabolomics scientists.  Dr. Wishart’s focus has always been on making metabolomics matter.

In striving towards this goal, Dr. Wishart has dedicated his career to providing open accessible, affordable metabolomics services to not only the scientific and academic community, but to a wide range of hospitals, clinics, businesses, government organizations, charities and other clients from more than 20 countries.

The Wishart Node in TMIC includes a diverse team of committed, hard-working professionals who have brought their knowledge of and expertise in metabolomics, bioinformatics and analytical chemistry from around the globe to create one of the top metabolomics service labs in the world.

The nationally funded Wishart Node currently houses >$8 million in state-of-the-art metabolomics equipment.  Over the past decade researchers in the Node have developed nearly 30 different metabolomic assays that can quantitatively measure >1000 compounds in almost any biological or environmental sample.

The Wishart Node’s dedication to research and innovative thinking has helped clients make important metabolomics discoveries in fields such as clinical diagnostics, precision medicine, pharmaceutical chemistry, environmental science, veterinary medicine, agri-food research, forensic testing and food analysis.

The Wishart Node is ready to help you make exciting discoveries too!

Three examples of discoveries that we helped make for our clients:

Successful Development of Colon Polyp Screening Test

Ever Wondered What Is In Cow’s Milk?

Key Triggers for Alzheimer’s Disease

In 2013 Metabolomics Technologies Incorporated (MTI), discovered a panel of 12 urinary metabolites that could be used to detect colonic polyps and early colon cancer using NMR spectroscopy.  The test is called PolypDx.  However, NMR instruments are not used in clinical settings. MTI asked the Wishart Node at TMIC to help them convert this 12-compound PolyDx assay into a 3-compound assay that was compatible with clinically approved mass spectrometers.  By 2016, the Wishart Node had successfully converted the assay to a 3-metabololite test that worked on clinical mass spectrometers.  Now the PolypDx test is offered in dozens of clinical labs in the USA as a laboratory-developed test (LDT) for rapid, non-invasive colon polyp screening.

Development and Validation of a High-Throughput Mass Spectrometry Based Urine Metabolomic Test for the Detection of Colonic Adenomatous Polyps
Deng L, Chang D, Foshaug RR, Eisner R, Tso VK, Wishart DS, Fedorak RN.  Metabolites. 2017 Jun 22;7(3):32. doi: 10.3390/metabo7030032. PMID: 28640228; PMCID: PMC5618317.

Milk production is a trillion dollar a year business.  As big as it is, not much is known about the many chemicals or nutrients that can be found in commercial cow’s milk.  In 2019, in collaboration with dairy scientists at the University of Alberta, the Wishart Node at TMIC completed the most comprehensive chemical analysis of milk ever undertaken.  Using a combination of 5 different in-house metabolomic assays (NMR, ICP-MS, GC-MS, LC-MS) and extensive literature mining, they identified nearly 2400 compounds (Nutrients, breakdown products, antibiotics, pesticides) that can be found in commercial cow’s milk.  All this information, along with detailed descriptions of these molecules and their roles, is now available in the milk composition database (MCDB).

Chemical Composition of Commercial Cow’s Milk
Foroutan A, Guo AC, Vazquez-Fresno R, Lipfert M, Zhang L, Zheng J, Badran H, Budinski Z, Mandal R, Ametaj BN, Wishart DS.  J Agric Food Chem. 2019 May 1;67(17):4897-4914. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b00204. Epub 2019 Apr 17. PMID: 30994344.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects almost one-third of people over the age of 85 and costs the North American health system >$350 billion a year. While amyloid fibrils and deposits play a role in the etiology of the disease, it is not clear what actually triggers AD. The Wishart Node at TMIC, in collaboration with AD researchers across the US, recently helped in the discovery that bacterially derived bile acids can be found in the brains of AD patients. This unexpected finding suggests that a breakdown in gut integrity and blood-brain barrier permeability may be a key trigger leading to the inflammatory response that ultimately results in amyloid build-up, brain damage and dementia.  This discovery opens new avenues to detect, prevent and possibly treat AD.

Metabolic Network Analysis Reveals Altered Bile Acid Synthesis and Metabolism in Alzheimer’s Disease
Baloni P, Funk CC, Yan J, Yurkovich JT, Kueider-Paisley A, Nho K, Heinken A, Jia W, Mahmoudiandehkordi S, Louie G, Saykin AJ, Arnold M, Kastenmüller G, Griffiths WJ, Thiele I; Alzheimer’s Disease Metabolomics Consortium, Kaddurah-Daouk R, Price ND. Cell Rep Med. 2020 Nov 17;1(8):100138. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2020.100138. PMID: 33294859; PMCID: PMC7691449.