Emily Wu

Emily Wu staff profile picture

School of Food and Nutrition
College of Health


Thesis Title
Optimisation and application of MS-based metabolomics to tissue metabolic profiling and diabetes risk biomarkers discovery in obese patients

Research Description
Metabolomics is a top-down systematic approach which comprehensively measures and studies the complete set of metabolites in biological samples. Metabolism is the functional endpoint of biological process hence the metabolic pattern and signature under a given condition is a functional readout of the cells. Comparison of metabolic snapshots from two or more conditions will provide an insight into the biological responses to homeostatic perturbation and disturbance, disease mechanism, and may facilitate a better prediction of disease outcome. My PhD thesis focuses on the development and application of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to the study of human metabolic health. The first project aims at obtaining a range of human tissue metabolic profiles in a bariatric surgery obese cohort, with the hope to unravel the mechanism and cellular pathway that is responsible for the bariatric surgery-induced metabolic improvement and weight loss. The ultimate goal is to design an effective method of nutritional intervention in order to tackle obesity and provide a non-invasive alternative to surgery. The second project will apply MS-based metabolomics to discover blood biomarkers for pre-diabetes, which will be subsequently used as a measurement of the effectiveness of treatment or intervention in pre-diabetic and/or metabolic syndrome patients.

Personal Description
I obtained my bachelor degree in biochemistry at University of Bristol, UK and pursued my masters study in the field of pre-clinical medicine at Imperial College. During my time at Imperial College I was given the opportunity to take part in two research projects. It was during this time that I was first introduced to metabolomics and I was immediately captivated. My passion for the subject continued to thrive and is what ultimately led me to pursue my PhD at AgResearch and Massey.

Prof Marlena Kruger
Prof David Harding
Dr Karl Fraser
Professor Sally Poppitt