VIB Metabolomics Core

Intro    General context

Metabolomics provides a functional readout of the cells biochemistry. It holds great potential to link the observed differences in the phenotype to the underlying biochemical and molecular mechanisms.

The Metabolomics Core at VIB consists of two platform sites, located in Ghent and Leuven. Both sites provide contemporary mass spectrometry (MS) based metabolomic services and offer customized solutions for your experimental setup if requested.

The site in Ghent is embedded in the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology and specializes in secondary metabolism. By constructing a unique in house library with over 5000 secondary metabolites, the team developed a high throughput pipeline for comparative metabolic profiling. The introduction of Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry and the use of advanced data processing software (including basic statistics) ensures a straightforward and high quality data output. Additional characterization of unknown compounds through CSPP (Candidate Substrate Product Pairs) network analysis or compound purification are also available, but optional.

The site in Leuven is linked to the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology and specializes in primary metabolism. It also holds unique expertise in tracer (13C, 15N, 18O, 2H, etc) based metabolomics, this technology provides crucial insights into the activity of metabolic pathways by administration of non-radioactive isotopically labeled substrates (such as glucose, glutamine, palmitic acid, etc) to the medium (in vitro) or organism (in vivo). Using state-of-the-art high resolution mass spectrometry, the fate of these labeled isotopes is followed throughout the metabolic network and it reveals the (in)activity of metabolic pathways and enzymes. The team is specialized in the experimental design, data analyses and visualization of tracer metabolomics. The team also provides services for metabolic profiling of primary metabolites (using an in house library of over 400 metabolites).

All services are open to the VIB community, academic researchers and industry. Both teams are always willing to assist you in formulating biological conclusions, if needed. To always ensure a high quality service, we constantly invest in the following up and implementation of novel and cutting-edge techniques for metabolomics.

The Gent platform is embedded in the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology.

The Leuven platform is embedded in the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology.

Intro    Services

The Ghent platform

The Metabolomics Core provides mass spectrometry-driven metabolomics, and our services include, but are not limited to:

  • SOPs for experiment setup
  • Comparative metabolic profiling (UPLC-IMS-MS)
  • High throughput data analysis (including basic statistics)
  • Retention time, fragmentation data and Ion mobility (CCS) based compound identification through our in house library PhytoComp (> 5000 entries)
  • CSPP network analysis for de novo characterization of unknown compounds of interest (optional)
  • Compound purification for de novo identification (optional)

The Leuven platform

The Metabolomics Core provides mass spectrometry-driven metabolomics, and our services include, but are not limited to:

  • SOPs for experiment setup
  • Metabolic Profiling of Primary Metabolism (targeted and untargeted)
  • In house library of > 800 metabolites (primary metabolites)
  • Tracer based Metabolomics
  • Data-analysis and visualization


The Metabolomics Core has immediate access to the following state-of-the-art mass spectrometers:


  • UPLC-Vion HDMS Qtof (Waters)
  • UPLC-PDA-Synapt G1 HDMS Qtof (Waters)
  • 2D-UPLC-PDA-LTQ Ion Trap (Thermo Scientific)
  • Autopurification System (Waters)


  • LC- Q-Exactive OrbiTRAP (Thermo Scientific)
  • LC- Q-Exactive OrbiTRAP Focus (Thermo Scientific)
  • LC- QQQ (Quantiva, Thermo Scientific)
  • GC-QQQ (Agilent)
  • HPLC (Agilent)

Intro    Team

Our team consists of the following members:

The Ghent platform

The Leuven platform

VIB Metabolomics Core team
VIB Metabolomics Core (Oct 2018) - Ine Dehandschutter