Researcher in the Spotlight October

Read the interview with the new Chair of PlantLink, Thomas Moritz!

-What is currently on top of your research agenda?

Since 1st of March I’ve started a new position at  University of Copenhagen. The position is at the NovoNordisk Foundation Centre for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR), and currently I’m dividing my time between SLU, Umeå and UPCH. At CBMR I’m setting up a metabolomics platform, and I’ll develop and apply metabolomics methodology in different biomedical projects. Although this is different from my SLU position where I’m focused on plant development, there are similarities too, as I’ve been involved in quite many different biomedical projects the last 10 years due to the metabolomics interest I’ve had.

-Tell us about your latest publication?

Although this is not my latest publication, and I’m not main author on it, I think the publication “Functional metabolomics as a tool to analyze mediator function and structure in plants” is worth mention as it shows the potential of metabolomics as tool for phenotyping plants. Published in PlosOne 2017, showing that metabolomics can be used for prediction of biochemical function. With metabolomics and appropriate data analysis tools, we could predict where in the Mediator complex the different subunits are located.

-What led you into your particular field of research?

I am interested in chemistry, and especially to use analytical chemistry (say mass spectrometry) to study biological relevant questions. The last 15-years, I’ve been putting a lot of effort in metabolomics oriented research, partly connected to my interest in chemistry, but mainly due to  that 17-18 years ago the word “metabolomics” started to be used within the scientific community.  During that time several of us at Umeå Plant Science Centre started to discuss if we should  also develop something similar in Umeå. And so …

-What are the implications of your research for the society?

I am doing basic research and hope that as much as possible of my research will lead to new knowledge. Whether it will have an impact on society in the longer term cannot be predicted. In general, however, I believe that strong basic research at universities is a prerequisite for research to be of practical importance to society.