dr. JJJ (Justin) van der Hooft

dr. JJJ (Justin) van der Hooft


Accurate monitoring of people's lifestyles will be key to prevent chronic illnesses and deliver personalised medicine. Metabolomics is an excellent tool to detect traces of our lifestyles. I am an analytical biochemist and metabolomics expert fascinated by pattern mining. Unraveling complex extracts of small molecules is the core of my research. 

Core qualities: motivated, communicative, analytical thinking, and project-oriented.

Core skills: spectroscopist, data analysis, mass spectrometry fragmentation, structural elucidation, metabolomics.

I am combining computational and analytical workflows to extract and visualise hidden information from rapidly growing metabolomics data sets. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Bioinformatics Group at Wageningen University and aim to continue a scientific career path. In my current project, I am exploring novel approaches to combine information from genomics and metabolomics to discover specialised microbial molecules. This will greatly enhance our ability to monitor gut microbial metabolism. Together with my previous and ongoing collaborative research on food and drug metabolism, my research will contribute to timely and accurate monitoring of the most important aspect of our lifestyles. This will impact the treatment and more importantly prevention of chronic illnesses like metabolic syndromes and obesitas, instead of only recognising them when it is too late. Furthermore, I foresee that metabolomics-based lifestyle monitoring will be of benefit to people to change lifestyle in the future.

I 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, I gained knowledge in plant polyphenol production and analysis and the human metabolism of ingested polyphenols. After my PhD in Wageningen, I held different postions as a junior researcher and as research associate before moving 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 which resulted in three first-author papers. Most importantly, 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 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/