Imperial College London

Dr Toby Athersuch

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 3806toby.athersuch Website




101Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





During my postdoctoral research at Imperial College London, I was funded by the EU FP6 Project carcinoGENOMICS . The principal aim of the project is to develop in vitro assays as an alternative to the current chronic rodent bioassay for assessing the genotoxic and carcinogenic potential of chemicals.  I was involved in generating metabolic profile data describing sample sets provided by in vitro workpackages focusing on liver, kidney and lung cell systems. The project includes profiling of cell growth media and cell extracts using NMR and LC-MS based analytical platforms. This has given insight into the endogenous changes caused by exposure to chemical carcinogens in a range of in vitro systems that could potentially be used as the basis for high-throughput screening in chemical risk assessment.

I have also been involved in the EU FP7 Project EnviroGenomarkers  and continue to do so as a collaborator. This project is the first large-scale application of multiple omics technologies in parallel in a population study aimed at deriving intermediate biomarkers related to chronic diseases that may have an environmental component. Prospectively collected biological samples from human biobanks (Northern Sweden Health & Disease Study, EPIC-Italy) are being characterised using metabonomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and epigenetic profiling to find molecular signatures that link measures of environmental exposure to high-priority pollutants (PAHs, heavy metals) to disease risk (breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).

Both of these projects have required the development of new data handling/pipeline tools and novel methods for analysis.

Research interests

  •  Metabolic profiling in human health and disease
  • Novel analytical approaches for metabolic profiling
  • Expanding the coverage of metabolic profiling platforms for improved biomarker discovery
  • Emerging materials and nanoparticle toxicology
  • Omics biomarkers for exposure assessment
  • Structure-metabolism relationships and computational chemistry
  • Development of chemometric tools for data analysis and omics integration e.g. statistical total correlation spectroscopy (STOCSY)

Guest Lectures

The contribution of global metabolite profiling to omics-led molecular epidemiology, Workshop on Holistic Analytical Technologies for BioMedical, Food and Plant Sciences. Athens University / Hellenic Pasteur Institute., Athens, Greece, 2012

Metabolic Profiling Approaches for Understanding Human Health and Disease: Fundamentals and Recent Advances, Human Genetics Foundation (HuGeF), Turin (Torino), Italy, 2012

Metabolic Profiling: A Versatile and Powerful Approach to Understanding Human Health and Disease., Royal Society of Chemistry - Emerging Analytical Professionals, Knutsford, 2012

Plasma Metabolomics in Transplantation, 3rd International Conference on Transplantomics and Biomarkers in Organ Transplantation, San Diego, USA., 2012

Cancer – An Integrated Approach – Epidemiology and Prevention, College of Medicine, London, UK., 2011

Metabolomics: An Agnostic Strategy to Assess Exposures, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain., 2011

Adventures in metabolic hyperspace: an overview of metabonomic approaches and applications, University Autonoma Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain., 2011

Designed Biofluid Mixtures Allow Feature-Wise Evaluation of Metabolic Profiling Analytical Platforms, Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, UK., 2011

Metabolomics in Principle and Practice, CNR Milan, Milan, Italy., 2010

Advancing Metabonomics Techniques for Assessing Environmental Effects on Human Health, JRC & ICCA-LRi Workshop, Stresa, Italy., 2010

Statistical Spectroscopy: Tools for Metabolic Profiling, EUROMAR 2010, Milan, Italy., 2010

Research Student Supervision

Jeyapalan,S, Development and Application of Novel Chiral Analytical Methods for Metabolic Profiling

Selley,L, miRNA biomarkers of inflammatory lung pathophysiology arising from administered pharmaceuticals and air pollution components

van Veldhoven,K, Exposure to Environmental Pollutants: Biomarkers based on Omics Technologies and Breast Cancer Risk