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The History and Future Plans of the UMass Metabolic Network

Date Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2022
By: David Guertin, PhD

The Creation of MetNet

The inspiration for creating the UMass Metabolic Network (MetNet) came in 2015, when it was clear that interest in cell metabolism, which already had a strong presence in Molecular Medicine, was rapidly growing in diverse labs across campus. I felt that our research community would benefit from a platform that promoted crosstalk and collaboration. As a former Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences student turned faculty member, I knew our environment was unique among institutions where cross-disciplinary interactions such as this could thrive. 

Thus, I was thrilled in 2016 when my good friend and colleague Dohoon Kim, then a brand new MCCB cancer metabolism recruit, agreed to joined me in creating the MetNet to provide a unique forum for the Medical School's rapidly expanding metabolism community. Our main goals were to promote interaction between labs interested in metabolism and to facilitate the expansion of metabolomics technologies on campus.

With generous support from the Departments of Molecular Medicine and Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology, The UMass Cancer Center, as well as Pfizer and Agilent Technologies, we've had an outstanding five year run with external and internal speakers. It has led to exciting collaborations, new UMass hires, job placement for MetNet trainees, and establishment of new technologies. 

Kicking off the 2022-23 MetNet Season

As we begin the new MetNet season, we're excited that Jessica Spinelli (Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine, Mitochondria Biology) will join me (Dave Guertin, Professor, Molecular Medicine, Nutrient Sensing) and Dohoon Kim (Assistant Professor, MCCB, Toxic Metabolites) on the MetNet organizing team. The three of us share common roots, having trained during different times in the same post-doctoral laboratory. We are thrilled to be working together to advance metabolism research at UMass Chan Medical School!

New MetNet Members

We welcome new members who have recently joined our community. Learn about them and their research on the MetNet website

The Metabolog

This new blog can also be found on our website. It will include "Feature Stories" about upcoming speakers, "News in the Network" articles, such as this one, about science and scientists in the UMass Chan metabolism community, and "Paper Spotlights" written by MetNet participants that discuss groundbreaking metabolism research. If you have an idea for a story, please let us know!  


We've added Twitter @UMassMetNet which we (the organizers) will use to interact with the global metabolism community. The MetNet Twitter will mainly be used as a real-time medium to celebrate UMass MetNet members and guest speakers. It will not be used to post personal viewpoints. 

Seminar Series

As part of our monthly seminar series we've added Fluxing Star Talks. They will feature up-and-coming investigators who are nearing the end of their post-doctoral training or in the first few years of their independent research. It will be a great format to introduce the UMass Chan metabolism community to future leaders, and maybe even recruit one or two! In the future, we plan to add tech talks, mini symposia featuring MetNet trainees, and of course, a seasonal social event.

Growing Our Metabolomics Platform

With generous support from Molecular Medicine and the Office of Research leadership over the last few years, we are thrilled to have established the nucleus of what will become a state-of-the-art metabolomics platform housed in Molecular Medicine. While still in early development, it currently includes GCMS, LCMS & Seahorse capabilities, and we envision in the not-to-distant future having a mature staffed platform accessible to all MetNet participants. Stay tuned for exciting developments on this front...

We are ever grateful to members of the MetNet community who have supported this experiment by attending seminars and events over the last five years. Moving with the momentum into the future, we look forward to seeing you again soon, and in person!