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Introduction to metabolomics (2020)



ECTS credits:

Course parameters:

: English
Level of course
: PhD course (with participation of a few master students)
: October 2020
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: max. 15, min 8 participants. PhD students have highest priority. In case physical presence is made impossible due to Covid-19, the teaching will be carried out as online teaching through Blackboard and Zoom.    

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 students can participate as a part their master 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 assessment:
Passed/not passed assessment based on the written report considering the learning outcomes.


Department of Food Science.

Special comments on this course:

The course is organized in combination with the PhD course ‘Introduction to multivariate data analysis’ and it is encouraged to follow both courses, although the courses can be taken individually if necessary. The fee covers coffee and bread in the morning and afternoon.



  • 1 October: Lectures
  • 2 October: Lectures
  • 9 October: Data preparation, workshop
  • 16 October: Deadline for handing in report
  • 23 October: Notice of assessment


  • 5 October: Lectures
  • 6 October: Lectures
  • 8 October: Lectures
  • 9 October: Workshop - working with own data
  • 16 October: Deadline for handing in report
  • 21 October: Examination seminar (peer-feedback, teacher-feedback)

Department of Food Science
Agro Food Park 48
8200 Aarhus N
Building 5910, room 214

Deadline for registration is 1 September 2020. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than two workdays after registration deadline.

For registration: Opens later.

If you have any questions, please contact Ulrik Sundekilde, e-mail: uksundekilde@food.au.dk  


Course fee:

Metabolomics only (covering bread/coffee/fruit and folder):

PhD students and master students enrolled at Danish Universities and AU staff: 500 DKK

Others: 2500 DKK


Chemometrics only (covering bread/coffee/fruit, folder and LatentiX license):

PhD students and master students enrolled at Danish Universities and AU 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 staff: 2250 DKK

Others: 7500 DKK

19147 / i43