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After his BSc and MSc in 'Molecular Sciences' in Wageningen, The Netherlands, Justin also did his PhD in Systematic Metabolite Identification and Annotation at the WUR. His PhD resulted in papers in metabolomics-oriented peer-reviewed scientific journals like Analytical Chemistry and Metabolomics. Justin also presented his work at international meetings such as the Metablomics2010 meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the International Conference on Polyphenol and Health, 2011, Sitges, Spain, and the Metabomeetings in 2012, Manchester; and in 2014, London, UK.
Most importantly, he gained skills and hands-on experience in different aspects of the metabolomics pipeline: the use of mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (for metabolite annotation and identification) and data analysis of comprehensive data sets. In addition, Justin gained knowledge in plant polyphenol production and analysis and the human metabolism of ingested polyphenols. After his PhD, he held postions as a junior researcher at Plant Research International (NL), and as research associate in Glasgow (UK) at the group of Prof. Alan Crozier where he investigated the fate of (-)-epicatechin in human and rat using radioactivity monitoring, mass spectrometry, and NMR based approaches.
He then moved to Glasgow Polyomics to work with Dr Karl Burgess and Prof. Mike Barrett and different partners from Glasgow Polyomics. Justin obtained an ISSF Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to work on method development and implementation of fragmentation approaches to enhance the metabolite annotation capacities of the high-resolution LC-MS systems focusing on small polar metabolites in urine, beer, and bacterial extracts. The fellowship resulted in three first-author papers, of which one describes the implementation of Molecular Networking (http://gnps.ucsd.edu/) to perform drug and drug metabolite screening in urine extracts.
In collaboration with Dr Simon Rogers (Computing Science, University of Glasgow, UK), Justin published a PNAS paper where topic modelling often used in text-mining is used for unsupervised substructure exploration in metabolomics data sets using a newly developed software tool MS2LDA. Justin has been working on metabolomics projects thereby exploiting the information-rich fragmentation data that modern mass spectrometers generate and alleviate the bottleneck of metabolite annotation and identification in untargeted metabolomics approaches. He now moved to the WUR to take up a shared Postdoc position between WUR and the group of Prof. Pieter Dorrestein at the UCSD, USA. The work will be focusing on how to combine workflows developed for genome and metabolome mining to aid in functional annotations of genes and structural annotations of metabolites.
Justin has been an active member of the Metabolomics Society for several years. He was part of the founding Early-Careers Members Network (EMN) committee and chaired the committee in the lead-up to Metabolomics2016 in Dublin. Recently, Justin joined the Board of Directors. He is part of the Strategy Task Group and the Metabolite Identification Task Group something which is close to his heart.
MS2LDA tool: http://www.ms2lda.org
MAGMa tool: https://www.emetabolomics.org/