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Developing strategies to combat the metabolic underpinnings of cardiometabolic disease

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Laboratory head

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Professor Peter Meikle

Senior Principal Research Fellow | NHMRC L3 Investigator

Phone:+61 3 8532 1770

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Professor Peter Meikle Senior Principal Research Fellow | NHMRC L3 Investigator
We are defining the relationships between lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic disease to advance diagnosis and treatment.

Research projects and Student research opportunities


About the Metabolomics laboratory

Dysregulation of lipid metabolism underpins multiple diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and age related dementia. While lipid metabolic pathways are well characterised, their dysregulation resulting from environmental and genetic influences are less well understood, particularly in a setting of chronic disease. The Metabolomics laboratory has utilised state-of-the-art tandem mass spectrometry to developed the only high-throughput lipidomic platform in Australia and has performed some of the largest clinical and population lipidomic studies yet reported. These have enabled the characterisation of metabolic pathways and identified lipidomic biomarker profiles that are able to better predict disease risk and therapeutic efficacy. Modulation of the same pathways now holds potential as an interventional strategy to prevent, attenuate or treat the major chronic diseases.

The overarching goal of the Metabolomics laboratory is to develop strategies to elucidate and combat the metabolic underpinnings of cardiometabolic disease.

We are applying our state of the art lipidomic capabilities to characterise the relationship between lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic disease. Clinical translation of the outcomes from these studies will deliver new diagnostic/risk assessment/monitoring tests and therapeutic interventions for chronic disease.

Metabolomics laboratory

Building on our substantial body of work over recent years, the laboratory has five specific areas of focus:

  1. Population metabolism and biomarker discovery
    Application of high-throughput lipidomic technology to profile large population and clinical cohorts and identify new lipidomic biomarker profiles for chronic disease.
  2. Lipidomic/Genomic integration to identify causal pathways to metabolic disease
    Generation of combined lipidomic/genomic datasets for Mendelian randomisation studies to identify causal links between lipid metabolism and metabolic disease.
  3. Preclinical/mechanistic studies in metabolic therapy
    Our discovery strategies (themes 1 and 2) have identified several metabolic pathways that represent potential therapeutic targets. We are characterising the mechanisms and validating these targets in preclinical models.
  4. Translational metabolomics — new therapies for metabolic disease
    We have progressed one new therapeutic strategy to a phase 0/1 clinical trial with promising results. We are now moving towards the clinical validation required for commercialisation of this and other new therapeutic targets.
  5. Development of lipidomic and metabolomic capabilities in Australia
    We will continue to develop our lipidomic and metabolomic technology and make this available to the broader research community.

Our research program aims to characterise the environmental and genetic influences on metabolism and provide the fundamental understanding to select the optimal biomarkers for risk assessment and monitoring of therapy and to assist in the development of policy in order to maintain metabolic health in an aging population. Our established commercialisation/translational pipeline through Trajan Scientific and Medical will enable us to realise the clinical translation of these new biomarkers.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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