VIME mission

Metabolomics, the unbiased profiling of all small molecules in biological samples, has developed into a core technology for functional genomics, biobased economy and personalized medicine in the last decade. Recently, ecological metabolomics has emerged in ecosystem research and metagenomic studies. The quality of state-of-the-art metabolomics technology depends on the quality of the preparation workflows, the quality of metabolite libraries and workflows for structural elucidation of novel structures.

Because of the diversity of the metabolomes from organisms in functional and biomedical studies as well as the complexity of exo-metabolomes in environmental samples from marine, fresh water and terrestrial ecosystems an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to tackle this problem. Internationally recognized labs at the University of Vienna distributed over three faculties for Chemistry, Geosciences and Life Sciences consolidate their specific and complementary metabolomics platforms and application fields to build a Vienna Metabolomics Center.

New light shed on interaction of tumor cells with immune cells


New research from our lab has identified a novel mechanism by which tumor cells interact with immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, we have shown that different types of human and murine cancer cells release branched-chain α-ketoacids (BCKAs) into the extracellular space, which can influence macrophage polarization in a manner that depends on monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1).

Using a combined metabolomics/proteomics platform, we found that uptake of BCKAs fueled macrophage tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates and increased polyamine metabolism. Furthermore, the three BCKAs we tested had different effects on various cellular pathways, including inflammatory signal pathways, phagocytosis, apoptosis, and redox balance.

These findings reveal cancer-derived BCKAs as novel determinants for macrophage polarization, which could be selectively exploited to optimize antitumor immune responses. Ultimately, this research may pave the way for the development of targeted therapies that improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Read full paper "Branched-chain ketoacids derived from cancer cells modulate macrophage polarization and metabolic reprogramming"

Targeting the cancer microenvironment


In a new study published in Cell Reports the research teams of the system biologist and biochemist Wolfram Weckwerth and the immunologist Thomas Weichhart have found a novel biochemical switch involved in the polarization and proliferation of M2 macrophages. These macrophages play an important role within the immune system and in the prevention of cancer.

Combination of Fasting and Metformin Impairs Tumor Growth


Tumor growth can be prohibited with the right combination of fasting-induced hypoglycemia and metformin treatment. This was shown in a recent paper by Elgendy, Minucci and colleagues in collaboration with the Vienna Metabolomics Center.

In mice exposed to 24-h feeding/fasting cycles, metformin impaired tumor growth, but only when administered during fasting-induced hypoglycemia.

Synergistic anti-neoplastic effects of the metformin/hypoglycemia combination were mediated by glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) activation downstream of PP2A, leading to a decline in the pro-survival protein MCL-1, and cell death. Mechanistically, specific activation of the PP2A-GSK3β axis was the sum of metformin-induced inhibition of CIP2A, a PP2A suppressor, and of upregulation of the PP2A regulatory subunit B56δ by low glucose, leading to an active PP2A-B56δ complex with high affinity toward GSK3β.

Get access to this paper on

The Austrian Austrian Metabolomics and Proteomics Conference 2018


APMRS 2018 will take place in Vienna from August 29 - 31, 2018

The Symposium on Building blocks of Life – from Metabolomics and Proteomics to Systems Biology is jointly organized by VIME (The University of Vienna), Medical University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Science.

View the Program -> PROGRAM

Register for the Conference -> ONLINE REGISTRATION  

Submit an Abstract -> ABSTRACT SUMBISSION

More Information:

Click on Flyer to download

VIME in space - MOMEDOS


How do microbes in cosmic dust adapt to outer space conditions?

VIME collaborates with Dr. Tetyana Milojevic from the Department of Biophysical Chemistry to investigate the molecular mechanisms of microbial adaptation to outer space conditions such as cold and radiation. The project is funded by the FFG and will investigate samples from the TANPOPO mission.

Read more about this project:

Stardust Dust Collector with aerogel (Source:

VIME works on Alzheimer diagnostics


Early and accurate Alzheimer diagnostics allow patients to delay the deseases' effects and preserve daily functioning for some time.

VIME collaborates with Maria Zellner, an expert on Alzheimer Disease and Jürgen König on early and rapid Alzheimer diagnostics. Dr. Maria Zellner coordinates LOAD, a Marie Curie Action for Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) on the development of a late-onset- Alzheimer’s disease profile for accurate diagnosis and identification of potential therapeutic approaches.

Neurofibrillary tangles in the Hippocampus of an Alzheimer patient.

Source: Patho -



The human gut system hosts a vast amount of different microorganisms who influence metabolism and health. This is also reflected in metabolomic profiles.

The Vienna Metabolomics Center is part of the expert consortium of the recently established Austrian Microbiome Initiative (AMICI) headed by Christoph Steininger. In the close collaboration of VIME and AMICI potential fields of collaboration will be explored.




Researching the effects of ageing and lifestyle activities at cellular and molecular levels

In a close collaboration with the coordinator of the research platform Active Aging Karl-Heinz Wagner the Vienna Metabolomics Center will contribute metabolomic profiles of large cohorts of elderly participants.


VIME goes proteomics: Exo-proteomics of marine samples


Dissolved organic material in ocean water - what ist it composed of, and what role do microorganisms play in structuring this dissolved matter?

Roberta Hansman received a four-year Else Richter grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) to analyze dissolved proteins found in seawater. Proteins comprise about 50% of all living organisms, including the millions of microbes present in every liter of seawater, and thus become a major component of the dissolved organic material found in the ocean. This work will identify and quantify proteins dissolved in seawater in combination with analysis of the exo-metabolome in order to gain insight into what organic material in the ocean is composed of and what role microorganisms play in structuring dissolved organic matter composition. The project will be conducted within the Vienna Metabolomics Center. Roberta Hansman is member of the Microbial Oceanography lab headed by Gerhard Herndl.


Metabolic adaption of pollen grains and tubes to drought


ViMe collaborates with Gerhard Obermeyer to answer the question how pollen tubes survive drought stress during their journey through the pistil.

A successful fertilisation in plants guarantees the production and high crop yield for human food, e.g. seeds and fruits but also bread, beer and beef! Drought periods inhibit this process and thus dramatically reduce crop yields.
In this project, molecular mechanisms are investigated that enable the pollen to adapt to drought stress conditions adjusting its metabolism to continue its growth to the ovule. The project is financed by the FWF (P29626)

Project summary:
Website of Gerhard Obermeyer (Molecular Plant Biophysics, and Biochemistry Lab, Univ. Salzburg) :

Papillar cells on the Arabidopsis stigma provide pollen grains (arrow) with water for their growth to the ovule

VIME - Vienna Metabolomics Center