Metabolomics Facility

The Duke-NUS Metabolomics Facility 



Alterations in cellular metabolism are fundamental features of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infection, and neurobehavioral disorders. Thus, the application of metabolomic technologies could facilitate the identification of biomarkers and therapeutics for virtually all diseases which impact human health.  The Duke-NUS metabolomics facility uses mass spectroscopy methods to conduct targeted measurements of metabolites in 4 different classes:

  • Acylcarnitines (representing precursors of mitochondrial fatty acid, amino acid, and carbohydrate oxidation)
  • Organic Acids (products of mitochondrial oxidation of glucose and amino acids)
  • Amino Acids (including urea cycle intermediates)
  • Lipotoxic Mediators  (ceramides, hexosylceramides, sphinogomyelins, sphingosines and phosphatidylcholines)

Under development:

  • Diacylglycerols and triacylglycerols
  • Free Fatty Acids
  • Total Fatty Acids (free + esterified)
  • Acyl-CoAs

Although these represent only a small fraction of the metabolome, they report on the major pathways of metabolism of the three classes of nutrients (i.e. lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins) and their quantification has been shown to shed considerable insight into mechanisms underlying energy homeostasis and disease pathology.  Measurement of these analytes in a targeted fashion can be achieved by adding known quantities of stable isotope-labeled internal standards to almost any type of biological sample, including cultured cells, bodily fluids, and tissue extracts.  Because of the remarkable sensitivity of these approaches, considerable information can be obtained with a very small amount of tissue, rendering them particularly well suited for the analysis of precious clinical specimens.



For more information on the Duke-NUS Metabolomic Facility, kindly contact:

Jean-Paul Kovalik, Email:

Jianhong Ching, Email: