prof. Lynn Vanhaecke (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Lynn Vanhaecke

Principal investigator - Lab of Integrative Metabolomics, Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health (UGent)
Full professor (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UGent)


Research focus

For many conditions linked to poor gut health, personalized preventive strategies and diagnostic, prognostic, or predictive biomarkers of disease are currently lacking. It is our belief that unraveling the molecular basis by which the exposome (diet, gut microbiome, etc.) impacts the human metabolome may address this hurdle.
Therefore, our research aims to

  • develop a true molecular high-resolution mass spectrometry-based metabolomics platform (including both polar to medium apolar metabolites, lipidomics and DNA adductomics) to discriminate the metabolic phenotypes of healthy vs. diseased individuals (human and animal studies), and
  • unravel the impact of the exposome on host metabolome (e.g. impact of red meat consumption on digestive metabolome in relation to CRC promotion).

In this context, methodologies for the most frequently reported specimens that allow exploring systemic alterations of metabolites and DNA in humans (i.e. feces, saliva, tissue, blood and urine) are available at LIMET (Vanden Bussche et al., 2015; Hemeryck et al., 2015; Van Meulebroek et al., 2017; De Paepe et al., 2018; Wijnant et al., 2020). More recently, we have also successfully optimized and implemented rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS)-based methodologies (Plekhova et al., 2021) for multiple biofluids, moving metabolomics from bench to bedside by e.g. eliminating the need for extensive sample preparation. The application of the above-mentioned methodologies for the discovery of reliable and robust biomarkers to enable early diagnosis, screening, surveillance, and primary prevention of the disease, through e.g. dietary recommendations, belongs to LIMET’s current research objectives.

Expertise to offer

The team of Prof. Vanhaecke has ample expertise in DNA adductomics (read more on the intranet section), lipidomics (read more on the intranet section), in situ/point-of-care metabolomics: REIMS (read more on the intranet section) and metabolomics (read more on the intranet section). This expertise can be shared with other research teams as a service or in collaborative research projects.


Lynn Vanhaecke holds a Ph.D. in Bioscience Engineering (2008) and is at present full professor and head of the Laboratory of Integrative Metabolomics at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Ghent University) while holding a 20% chair at Queen’s University Belfast. The holistic analysis of small molecules through metabolomics and lipidomics using advanced high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) in relation to veterinary public health belongs to her major research objectives. Her team has a specific interest in optimizing HRMS-based analytical methods and is working on different strategies to bring metabolomics from the lab to the clinic. She is the author and co-author of > 200 peer-reviewed international publications (H-index 47), several patents, and leads/is co-PI within many national and international research programs. At present, she is a board member of the Metabolomics Society and the Nutritional Genomics (NuGO) Society.

Research team

  • Prof. Lynn Vanhaecke (PhD) - principal investigator, full professor
  • Dr. Lieselot Hemeryck (PhD)  - post-doctoral fellow 
  • Dr. Marilyn De Graeve (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • Beata Pomian - technician
  • Dirk Stockx -technician 

Key publications

  • 'Increased oxidative and nitrosative reactions during digestion could contribute to the association between well-done red meat consumption and colorectal cancer.' Food Chemistry, 2015. (PMID: 25976994)
  • 'High resolution mass spectrometry based profiling of diet-related deoxyribonucleic acid adducts.' Analytica Chimica Acta, 2015. (PMID: 26388482)
  • 'Reducing Compounds Equivocally Influence Oxidation during Digestion of a High-Fat Beef Product, which Promotes Cytotoxicity in Colorectal Carcinoma Cell Lines.' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016. (PMID: 26836477)
  • 'Diet-related DNA adduct formation in relation to carcinogenesis.' Nutrition Reviews, 2016. (PMID: 27330144)
  • 'Mass Spectrometric Mapping of the DNA Adductome as a Means to Study Genotoxin Exposure, Metabolism, and Effect.' Analytical Chemistry, 2016. (PMID: 27362284)  
  • ‘In vitro DNA adduct profiling to mechanistically link red meat consumption to colon cancer promotion.’ Toxicology Research, 2016. (PMID: 30090439)
  • ‘DNA adductomics to study the genotoxic effects of red meat consumption with and without added animal fat in rats.’ Food Chemistry, 2017. (PMID: 28407925)
  • ‘Holistic lipidomics of the human gut phenotype using validated ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to hybrid orbitrap mass spectrometry.’ Analytical Chemistry, 2017. (PMID: 29053249)
  • ‘DNA adduct profiling of in vitro colonic meat digests to map red vs. white meat genotoxicity.’ Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2018. (PMID: 29458163)
  • ‘Untargeted metabolomics of colonic digests reveals kynurenine pathway metabolites, dityrosine and 3-dehydroxycarnitine as red versus white meat discriminating metabolites.’ Scientific Reports, 2018. (PMID: 28195169)
  • ‘A validated multi-matrix platform for metabolomic fingerprinting of human urine, feces and plasma using ultra-high performance liquid-chromatography coupled to hybrid orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry.’ Analytica Chimica Acta, 2018. (PMID: 30172316)
  • ‘Nutrimetabolomics : an integrative action for metabolomic analyses in human nutritional studies (2018) Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 2018. (PMID: 30176196)
  • ‘Validated comprehensive metabolomics and lipidomics analysis of colon tissue and cell lines.’ Analytica Chimica Acta, 2019. (PMID: 31027537)

Contact & links

  • Lab website 
  • Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium,
  • Phone: + 32 9 264 74 57 
  • LinkedIn
  • Bibliography          
  • prof. Vanhaecke is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks