Current research activities focus on Metabolomics: the non-targeted and comprehensive analysis of all metabolites in biological material detecting unforeseen metabolic changes.
Metabolomics is the sum of a well designed and performed experiment, sampling strategies, sample preparation, instrumental analysis, raw data conversion, signal processing, data analysis, and data interpretation.
The outcome of a Metabolomics experiment and interpretability of data very much depend on all members of a skilled team and their tools. In order to minimize sources of variability and bias, robust methods and protocols have been developed in a team effort orchestrated by Prof. John Draper at IBERS over the last 15 years, and are the subject of future activities.
As an analytical chemist I am interested in maximising the information content of Metabolomics data through signal processing and data mining, metabolite identification and characterisation of unknown signals. I am responsible for the functionality of the IBERS High Resolution Metabolomics Laboratory and concerned with method development and optimisation of the following Metabolomics techniques:
- High through-put ultra-high resolution Flow Infusion Electrospray Mass Spectrometry (FIE-MS)
- High through-put ultra-high resolution LC-MS
- High through-put GC-tof-MS
- Metabolite targeted analysis and quantification.
I am particularly interested in applying Metabolomics methodologies to study the effect of diet on urinary and plasma metabolome and resulting changes in physiology. In collaboration with clinical/veterinary institutions in academia and industry, we are currently determining dietary exposure and individual responses to diet constituents in humans and domesticated animals. A key mission is the search for biomarkers of 'health and wellbeing'.
Dr Beckmann obtained his doctorate in analytical chemistry at the C.v.O. University Oldenburg, Germany, on the identification of pheromones in marine polychaetes. Since then he has contributed as a marine chemical ecologist to the understanding of chemical communication and antifouling (HKUST, Hongkong), to measure and estimate production of green house gases in wetlands (Cardiff University) and to the investigatigation of metabolic changes in GM-crops, during host-pathogen interactions and dietary effects on mammalian biofluids (Aberystwyth).
He is now a research lecturer and Metabolomics Champion in the High Resolution Metabolomics Laboratory at Aberystwyth University. His research interests are in high through-put ultra-high resolution Metabolomics of difficult matrices and 'real world samples'.