Linnaeus Lecturer: Jeremy K. Nicholson
Thursday February 10, 09.00-11.30
Exploring Host, Microbiome and Immuno-Metabolic Interactions in Health and Disease using Molecular Phenomics
Jeremy K. Nicholson, Director of the Australian National Phenome Center, Murdoch University
10.00 - Short break
Spatial metabolomics: combining the where? with the what?
Ingela Lanekoff, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry-BMC, Uppsala University
Electrochemical and Mass Spectrometry Imaging Measurements of Subcellular Vesicles
Andrew Ewing, Professor at the Department of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg
Moderator: Daniel Globisch, Associate Professor and SciLifeLab Fellow, Department of Chemistry-BMC, Uppsala University
Jeremy K. Nicholson
Professor Nicholson obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School (Kings College, London University) in 1980. After a series of academic appointments at Birkbeck College and University College, London University, he was made Full Professor of Biological Chemistry in 1992. He was appointed to be the University of London Established Chair in Biological Chemistry and Head of Biological Chemistry at Imperial College London in 1998. Subsequently appointed Head of the Department of Biomolecular Medicine in 1997, then Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer in 2009. In 2012 he founded, and became director of, the world’s first National Phenome Centre – the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Center at Imperial. He founded and chairs the International Phenome Centre Network (2016-to date). He left Imperial in late 2018 to become the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at Murdoch University and to direct the new Australian National Phenome Center in Perth, Western Australia which opened in October 2019.
Nicholson has authored over 850 papers and articles on spectroscopy, informatics, metabolic biochemistry, and systems medicine. His major research focus is on the development of diagnostic and prognostic molecular phenotyping and computational technologies as applied to problems in personalised healthcare, microbiome-host metabolic signalling, metabolic diseases. For the last 18 months he has been leading an international team working on the metabolic sequelae of COVID-19.
Changes in climate and population densities and distributions with increasing socioeconomic stresses placed on healthcare systems pose a unique series of challenges in 21st Century medicine. A tension also exists between the development of new investigative, diagnostic, and prognostic technologies and the ability of healthcare professionals to deliver effective translational solutions. The complex gene-environment interactions that create individual and population disease risks are also responsible for the expression of metabolic phenotypes in different body compartments and fluids. Thus, metabolic phenotyping offers an important window on human systemic activity and spectroscopic tools can be employed to help characterize personalised profiles, disease processes and responses to therapy.
Epidemiological studies can help us understand gene-environment interactions that influence disease and life outcomes, but also provide a benchmark for studying normal population biology and metrics to assess the long-term impacts of emergent diseases. These approaches also provide a powerful adjunct to conventional procedures for disease assessment that are required for future developments in “Precision Medicine”. The “Metabolome Wide Association Study” concept also provides a powerful tool to generate disease risk biomarkers, e.g., for common non-infectious diseases. Such population risk models can also link to individual patient healthcare models, thus closing the personal and public healthcare modelling triangle.
The ultimate challenge is to take complex validated data sets and models on human biology and to visualise these in engaging formats and forms that clinically actionable in an ever-changing background of human health. COVID-19 has emerged as the current major challenge to human health and will be used as an exemplar to illustrate the metabolic journey from health to disease and back in a systems medicine framework. This journey and the COVID-19 story does not yet have an ending of course, but we do now have the systems tools to monitor, map and understand the disease both at the individual and population level.