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Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Technology Selected by the Medical Research Council for Groundbreaking Metabolomics and Lipidomics Research

1106MRC1.jpgSAN JOSE, Calif. (November 6, 2009) –Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced that the Human Nutrition Research (HNR) unit of the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Cambridge, UK, has selected the Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap Velos, MALDI LTQ Orbitrap XL and Exactive mass spectrometers. These systems leverage proprietary Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass-analyzer technology, the recognized standard for accurate mass and high-resolution measurement, to provide precise and reliable information. The MRC is using Orbitrap™ technology for high-throughput and high-performance metabolomic and lipidomic profiling that has not been possible using traditional mass spectrometry instrumentation.
The Bioanalytical Sciences division at HNR, led by Professor Dietrich Volmer, is a center of excellence for developing innovative approaches to measure biomarkers for processes such as insulin resistance, energy expenditure and the availability of dietary nutrients within the body. The division uses modern biochemical and mass spectrometry techniques to conduct research aimed at identifying biomarkers for diagnosing and detecting the progress of nutrition-related human diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Professor Volmer’s goal is to build a unique population-based lipidomics platform allowing the application of studies of 10,000 or more samples. This platform will be used to establish biomarkers of nutritional intake, health and disease. For the MRC, a solution that offered high resolution and enhanced sensitivity was imperative to enable the development of its groundbreaking lipidomics platform.

Professor Volmer, head of Bioanalytical Sciences at MRC HNR and Dr. Albert Koulman, senior research scientist in the Bioanalytical Sciences division comment: “We are delighted that our unit will feature cutting-edge technology dedicated to lipidomic research. Our primary focus will be on the development of high-throughput lipidomic profiling methods, but we also have the facilities to analyze specific lipids in large sample sets. The Orbitrap instruments are very reliable and maintenance-free while providing the high resolution and sensitivity that is essential to our research.”

Metabolomics and lipidomics are relatively new scientific disciplines, currently driven by the performance of the analytical instrumentation used. Professor Volmer recently received an award of £2 million from a translational medicine funding call of the MRC to establish the Cambridge Lipidomics Biomarker Research Initiative (CLBRI) within his research division. The MRC has recently purchased four mass spectrometers based on Orbitrap technology: an LTQ Orbitrap Velos™ biomarker discovery platform, a MALDI LTQ Orbitrap XL™ instrument as well as two Exactive™ benchtop liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) systems. The Exactive instruments will be used in the high-throughput biomarker screening stages of the CLBRI projects, whereas the Orbitrap Velos will be applied to more detailed structural identification research such as those performed in biomarker qualification applications.

The initial experiments performed by Professor Volmer’s team in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific have demonstrated the unique capability of Orbitrap technology to perform both targeted and non-targeted lipidomics profiling experiments in large sample sets. The MALDI LTQ Orbitrap XL provides unparalleled sensitivity for MSn analyses, a rapid scan rate, high mass accuracy and up to 100k resolving power. This enables the MRC to perform targeted analysis of phospholipids as well as unbiased profiling. The ability to apply both strategies in one experiment is an important step forward in the comprehensive analysis of the metabolome and the lipidome in particular.

The Thermo Scientific Exactive is fast, easy-to-use and cost-effective to operate, making it an ideal instrument for non-experts and experienced mass spectrometry users. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry with instruments capable of measuring m/z ratios with relative mass measurement uncertainties of 1 ppm or less and sufficient scan speeds, researchers at the MRC are able to combine two strategies, allowing unbiased profiling of biological samples and targeted analysis of specific compounds in a single analysis without compromise.

For more information on the LTQ Orbitrap XL, LTQ Orbitrap Velos or Exactive mass spectrometers, please call +1 800-532-4752, email or visit

Thermo Scientific is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science.

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With 2008 revenues of $10.5 billion, we have approximately 34,000 employees and serve over 350,000 customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control settings. Serving customers through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, we help solve analytical challenges from routine testing to complex research and discovery. The Thermo Scientific brand represents a complete range of high-end analytical instruments as well as laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents to enable integrated laboratory workflow solutions. Fisher Scientific provides a complete portfolio of laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. Together, we offer the most convenient purchasing options to customers and continuously advance our technologies to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, enhance value for customers and fuel growth for shareholders and employees alike. Visit

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