The Singapore Lipidomics Incubator, established by Markus Wenk and based at the National University of Singapore, is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to innovation, education and partnership in lipidomics research. Here, four of the team members – Markus Wenk, Anne K Bendt, Federico Torta and Amaury Cazenave Gassiot – discuss the growing importance and impact of lipidomics.
Why focus on lipids?
Anne K Bendt: Coming from a proteomics and transcriptomics background, I used to consider lipids “the slime” you tried to get rid of! I was amazed to discover that lipids constitute 50 percent of the brain, and that popping a painkiller directly influences lipid signaling.
Amaury Cazenave Gassiot: I came to the lipidomics field almost accidentally after my PhD in analytical chemistry, and never left. The analytical challenges brought up by lipids, their chemical diversity, and the potential they offer – for instance in clinical research – are of tremendous interest to me.
Federico Torta: My interest in lipidomics grew from my interest in mass spectrometry, and proteomics in particular. A few years ago I was looking for new and exciting applications of MS, and the lipidomics field seemed an obvious choice. As I learnt more about lipids, I realized how ubiquitous these molecules are and how many important roles they play in biology.
Markus Wenk: I was motivated by a single question: “Why are there so many different lipids in nature?”
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