Metabolites are the small molecules that float around in our body. They enter the body via food or drugs or are formed internally by chemical reactions. The study of metabolites provides much information on the biochemical state of our body. Medical and pharmaceutical research laboratories therefore developed “metabolomics” technologies. This allows them to detect many different types of metabolites from a single sample (i.e. blood or urine) to obtain a comprehensive metabolic overview. However, the bottleneck of this approach is to fully identify each of the metabolites in terms of their full molecular structure. In this research, the researchers have shown that infrared ion spectroscopy, which uses very powerful infrared lasers (such as the FELIX laser located at Radboud University), is able to measure unique structural “fingerprints” of metabolites. They have applied this new strategy in pharmaceutical and medical research.
Rianne van Outersterp (Amersfoort 1994) obtained her BSc and MSc degree from the Radboud University in Nijmegen. She performed internships at the University of Amsterdam, Syngenta and the FELIX laboratory, gaining experience with infrared ion spectroscopy and chromatography. In 2018, she started her PhD research at FELIX in the group of prof. dr. Jos Oomens. Her research focussed on the identification of metabolites using infrared ion spectroscopy.