Nominee: Panagiotis Chrysanthopoulos – Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University (QLD, Australia)
Nominated By: Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen – Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University (QLD, Australia)
Supporting Comments: Dr Panos Chrysanthopouls joined my research group at the beginning of 2015. Although his previous experience was outside that which was directly needed for my research project, Panos demonstrated exceptional enthusiasm and a broad and successful skill base that suggested a new instrument challenge would only be a minor hurdle. My instinct to make this call has proven to be right. Panos has since been trained by the instrument manufacturers (Bruker Daltonics) and I am told questioned the trainers more than any other researcher in Australia before him. He has already made a major contribution to my research project, quickly grasping the instrument and improving methodology and data analysis, plus taking the time to use his expertise to assist higher degree research students as well as come up with a new project of his own suited to our Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometer (FTMS) instrument. I think Panos has potential as a great young ambassador for the role of analytical methods to underpin future scientific advances.
What made you choose a career in bioanalysis? (100 word limit)
I would dare say that bio-analysis chose me. Starting with my diploma thesis, I was assisting a PhD student to set up a gas chromatography–mass spectrometer (GC-MS) based metabolomics facility. It was only a month later that she decided to follow another career path. That was exactly the moment when my career in the field of mass spectrometry based bio-analytics commenced; my supervisor proposed to me to lead the project that the PhD student had left behind and it all begun. The challenges, the projects’ diversity and my admiration for the technological advancement in mass spectrometry are what have kept me in the field.
Describe the main highlights of your bioanalytical work, and its importance to the bioanalytical community (200 word limit) (i.e. a new analytical technique developed, new method developed which reduced cost/increased efficiency of an assay, diagnostic tool developed)
During my first steps in the bio-analytics field, I focused on unravelling the biases in GC–MS metabolomics. In close collaboration with Dr. Harin Kanani we published a highly cited study titled “Standardizing GC–MS metabolomics” in which we presented experimental evidence of a number of overlooked weaknesses of the method. We then moved forward proposing approaches towards the standardization of a holistic methodology towards accurate GC–MS metabolomics which have significantly contributed to the improvement of the particular mass spectrometric application.
Another highlight of my work is the first ever GC–MS metabolomics analysis of industrial scale perfusion cultures of mammalian cells. All the measurements related to cell growth, protein productivity and metabolic activity monitoring the cellular physiological state, suggested consistency across bioreactors. Nonetheless, metabolomics profiling enabled us to differentiate cell cultures based on reactor scale, cell age and cell source proving that metabolomics could be used as a high resolution analysis in cell culture engineering.
What is the impact of your work beyond your home laboratory? (I.e. an example of your works implementation in an external setting) (150 word limit)
I have been fortunate enough to participate in a study on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) during which I performed a comparative, open profile, mass spectrometry based, metabolomics analysis of the plasma and urine of 27 adolescents with T1D and 27 controls. Non targeted GC–MS revealed a “marker” distinguishing the two groups without any bias. That molecule is 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG), a metabolically inert polyol that is a short term marker of glycaemic control (7-14 days). Although there is a targeted blood assay measuring 1,5-AG, it hadn’t been routinely applied in Australian pathology laboratories. However, due to discussions that followed our study, it has now become available helping physicians to assess recent glycemic control and suggest unrecognised postprandial hyperglycaemia in moderately-controlled (HbA1c 6.5-8%) patients.
Describe the most difficult challenge you have encountered in the laboratory and how you overcame it (200 word limit)
The biggest challenge that I have encountered in the lab happens to be my first step in research. It was then when I was presented with a non-operating GC–MS and was instructed to repair it in order to perform a metabolomics study on hypothyroidism. Being a member of a small group with very limited funding and no technical support, I soon realized that I would have to do a lot of research on the technical side of the GC–MS.
It needs to be mentioned that my knowledge of mass spectrometry at that stage, was somewhere between none and very limited. After spending endless hours reading about the theory of mass spectrometry and the manuals of the instrument I faced the biggest challenge of all; it was the moment when I had to take some tools in my hands and start pulling apart the machine. That was when I learned that fear is one of the biggest inhibitors in the laboratory for a young scientist; fear of failure, fear of damaging something valuable. The minute I managed to overcome my fears, I was able to repair the GC–MS and develop methods towards untargeted metabolomics that eventually led to my first publications.
Describe your role in bioanalytical communities/groups (i.e. bioanalytical focus groups, inter-disciplinary groups) (200 word limit)
Working as a metabolomics specialist for the Queensland Node of Metabolomics Australia, I had participated in several cross university collaborations. Metabolomics Australia is a nationwide network of 8 metabolomics facilities and ~30 analytical experts/bioinformaticians that offers high throughput metabolomics services to all life science researchers in Australia & beyond. Therefore, my responsibilities extended to engaging in scientific discussions, guiding with the experimental planning and presenting results to external collaborators such as Dr.Friday Obanor (CSIRO Plant Industry), Dr. Donna Glassop (CSIRO Plant Industry), Dr. Louise Conwell (Queensland Childrens Medical Research Institute), Dr. Yasmina Sultanbawa (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation) (QAAFI) and others.
Additionally, as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, a leading research institute within The University of Queensland I was a member of an extremely multidisciplinary group and was required to manage and collaborate with scientists of various backgrounds such as biologists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists on an everyday bases.
Please list up to five of your publications in the field of bioanalysis (posters and presentations accepted):
- Kanani H, Chrysanthopoulos PK, Klapa MI. Standardizing GC-MS metabolomics. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 871(2), 191–201 (2008).
- Chrysanthopoulos PK, Constantinou C, Klapa MI. Metabolomic analysis of Hypothyroid Adult Mouse Brain. J Proteome Res. 10(2), 869–879 (2011). (First 2 authors contributed equally)
- Vickers C, Bydder S, Bongers M, Chrysanthopoulos PK, Hodson M. Protocols for the Production and Analysis of Isoprenoids in Bacteria and Yeast Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Protocols. Springer 2015.
- Chrysanthopoulos PK, Goudar CT, Zhang C, Klapa MI. Metabolomics for High-Resolution Monitoring of the Cellular Physiological State in Cell Culture Engineering. Metab Eng. 12(3), 212–222 (2010)
- Conwell LS, Hodson MP, Chrysanthopoulos PK, Greer RM, Nielsen LK, Baskerville T. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol, an indicator of short term glycaemic control, is the most discriminatory metabolomic marker in adolescents with type 1 diabetes compared to control subjects. Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. (Suppl 1): P2 (2015).
Please select one publication from above that best highlights your career to date in the field of bioanalysis and provide an explanation for your choice (100 word limit)
The publication that highlights my career to date would be the one on Diabetes type 1 (number 5). I have focused all my efforts in trying to make a direct impact in our society using my bio-analytics skills. Having worked with almost every type of organism, I accumulated knowledge and expertise that allowed me to participate in this case study. The impact was very significant as due to our results, Australian doctors started introducing a new biomarker in their pathology exams while monitoring type 1 diabetes patients.
Find out more about this year’s New Investigator Award, the prize, the judging panel and the rest of our nominees.