Introduction to metabolomics



Name of course:
Introduction to metabolomics

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course (with participation of a few Master’s students)
Semester/quarter: April/May 2019
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like:

  • 3 days of lectures and exercises (24 h)
  • Preparation by reading book chapters, articles and preparing data for analysis (20 h)
  • Writing report (16 h)

Capacity limits: Minimum 10 and maximum 25 participants. PhD students have highest priority.

Objectives of the course:
The purpose of the course is to give an up-to-date introduction to the basic methods in metabolomics. The course will cover nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and gas and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/LC-MS) methodologies used in metabolomics, as well as design of experiments.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Arrange the place of metabolomics in context of genomics, proteomics, *omics
  • Compare and contrast the methods for a metabolomics study considering the benefits and the pitfalls of the methods
  • Describe and explain how to prepare samples from different foods and bio-fluids for metabolomic analyses
  • Evaluate and apply the appropriate experimental design in a metabolomics study
  • Describe appropriate design of experiments for metabolomic analyses
  • Explain the principles of metabolite detection and identification in LC-MS, GC-MS and NMR
  • Outline applications of metabolomics to your field of research
  • Apply multivariate data analysis methods relevant for metabolomic data
  • Critically evaluate metabolomic data described in scientific literature and describe your own results in a scientific way

Compulsory programme:
Attendance for a minimum of 80% of the theoretical and practical lessons is required to obtain the course diploma. Approved report.

Course contents:
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life and metabolites is the end products of these chemical reactions. Metabolomics is the systematic study of metabolite profiles in any biological sample and tissue. Set in a systems biology context, the metabolomics is the most recent member of the omics-family and it is complementary to genomics and proteomics.

The course gives an introduction to the use of metabolomics and its methods. The objectives are to give participants knowledge of advanced NMR and MS techniques, including hands-on experience with processing, analysis and identification of metabolites in such data.

Theoretical and practical aspects of these methods, including design of experiments, sample preparation, data acquisition, processing and further analysis will be discussed. The course will cover NMR- and MS-based metabolomics applied to various types of samples – meat and vegetable extracts, cells, milk, urine, blood, and feces – will be used as examples.

Enrolled in a science-based PhD programme. Master’s students can participate as a part their Master’s project in agreement with the supervisor.

Name of lecturer:
Assistant Professor Ulrik Kræmer Sundekilde, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures and exercises

Selected chapters and papers will be announced on BlackBoard. You will receive a folder with information and printouts from the lectures at the beginning of the course.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Passed/not passed assessment based on the written report considering the learning outcomes.

Department of Food Science, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:
Course fee: 750 DKK for PhD and Master’s students and AU-FOOD staff (covers 1 year software license and coffee/bread/fruit in the morning and afternoon), 3000 DKK for others.

The course is organized in combination with the PhD-course ‘Introduction to multivariate data analysis (chemometrics)’ and it is encouraged to follow both courses, although the courses can be taken individually if necessary. There will be a discount if you follow both courses – see below.


  • Thursday 25 April: Lectures
  • Friday 26 April: Lectures
  • Tuesday 7 May: Data preparation, workshop
  • Tuesday 14 May: Deadline for handing in report
  • Tuesday 21 May: Notice of assessment


  • Monday 29 April: Lectures
  • Tuesday 30 April: Lectures
  • Monday 6 May: Lectures
  • Tuesday 7 May: Workshop: Working with own data
  • Tuesday 14 May: Deadline for handing in report
  • Monday 20 May: Examination seminar (peer-feedback, teacher-feedback)

AU Konferencecenter, Fredrik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus

Deadline for registration is 1 April 2019. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than two workdays after registration deadline.

A link to registration will be announced here once it is ready.

The course fees are:
Metabolomics only (covering bread/coffee/fruit and folder):
PhD students and master students enrolled at Danish Universities and AU-FOOD staff: 750 DKK
Others: 3000 DKK

Chemometrics only (covering bread/coffee/fruit, folder and LatentiX license):
PhD students and master students enrolled at Danish Universities and AU-FOOD staff: 1750 DKK
Others: 5000 DKK

Metabolomics and Chemometrics (covering bread/coffee/fruit, folder and LatentiX license):
PhD students and master students enrolled at Danish Universities and AU-FOOD staff: 2000 DKK
Others: 7500 DKK


If you have any questions, please contact Ulrik Sundekilde, e-mail:

15375 / i43