Tao Huan

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Tao Huan


Research and Teaching Interests

Metabolomics, a newly emerging field of ‘omics’ research, is the study of the entire sets of small molecules (termed metabolome, molecular weight < 1500 Da), in a given biological system, such as a cell, organ, whole organism or biofluid. The metabolome is a close counterpart to the genome, the transcriptome and the proteome. Together these four ‘omics’ constitute the building blocks of systems biology. Unlike genes and proteins whose functions are subject to epigenetic regulation and post-translational modifications, respectively, metabolites serve as a direct functional readout of a current cellular state and therefore easier to correlate with phenotype. This fact has made metabolomics particularly useful in the study of environment-gene interactions, the identification of disease biomarkers, and the discovery of drugs.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is an excellent analytical platform to study metabolomics as it is highly sensitive, reproducible and versatile. It measures the masses of metabolites and their fragments to assist in elucidating structure. The goal of our research program is to develop analytical and bioinformatic tools for MS-based metabolomics with a focus on understanding colorectal cancer (CRC) metabolism and seeking its relationship with gut microbiome, environmental exposures, and therapeutics. Our long-term research goal is to drive metabolomics forward and bring it into the toolbox of biological scientists to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of human health and disease.

Our research interests include:

  • Integration of metabolomics with other ‘omics’ (epigenomics, genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics) data for the systems-level interrogation of biological problems
  • Application of state-of-art metabolomics technologies in various biological challenges, such as mechanistic understanding of cancer metabolism and disease biomarker discovery
  • Synergetic development of analytical and bioinformatic techniques to enhance metabolomic coverage and improve the confidence of metabolite identification


Highly motivated students interested in pursuing graduate studies in our research areas are encouraged to contact Dr. Huan (thuan@chem.ubc.ca) during the application process. 

To apply online:



Real name: 

Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla), USA (2015 - 2018)

Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, University of Alberta, Canada (2010 - 2015)

B.Sc., Chemistry, Zhejiang University, China (2006 - 2010)



Warth, B. ; Raffeiner, P. ; Granados, A. ; Huan, T. ; Fang, M. ; Forsberg, E. M. ; H Benton, P. ; Goetz, L. ; Johnson, C. H. ; Siuzdak, G. Metabolomics Reveals That Dietary Xenoestrogens Alter Cellular Metabolism Induced By Palbociclib/letrozole Combination Cancer Therapy. Cell chemical biology 2018.
Guijas, C. ; J Montenegro-Burke, R. ; Domingo-Almenara, X. ; Palermo, A. ; Warth, B. ; Hermann, G. ; Koellensperger, G. ; Huan, T. ; Uritboonthai, W. ; Aisporna, A. E. ; , Metlin: A Technology Platform For Identifying Knowns And Unknowns. Analytical chemistry 2018.
Forsberg, E. M. ; Huan, T. ; Rinehart, D. ; H Benton, P. ; Warth, B. ; Hilmers, B. ; Siuzdak, G. ; Wolan, D. W. ; Spiker, M. E. ; Benton, H. P. ; Siuzdak, G. Data Processing, Multi-Omic Pathway Mapping, And Metabolite Activity Analysis Using Xcms Online. Nature protocols 2018, 13, 633-651.


J Montenegro-Burke, R. ; Aisporna, A. E. ; H Benton, P. ; Rinehart, D. ; Fang, M. ; Huan, T. ; Warth, B. ; Forsberg, E. ; Abe, B. T. ; Ivanisevic, J. ; Wolan, D. W. ; Teyton, L. ; Lairson, L. ; Siuzdak, G. Data Streaming For Metabolomics: Accelerating Data Processing And Analysis From Days To Minutes. Analytical chemistry 2017, 89, 1254–1259.
Huan, T. ; Forsberg, E. M. ; Rinehart, D. ; Johnson, C. H. ; Ivanisevic, J. ; H Benton, P. ; Fang, M. ; Aisporna, A. ; Hilmers, B. ; Poole, F. L. ; Thorgersen, M. P. ; Adams, M. W. ; Krantz, G. ; Fields, M. W. ; Robbins, P. D. ; Niedernhofer, L. J. ; Ideker, T. ; Majumder, E. L. ; Wall, J. D. ; Rattray, N. J. ; Goodacre, R. ; Lairson, L. L. ; Siuzdak, G. Systems Biology Guided By Xcms Online Metabolomics. Nature methods 2017, 14, 461.
Warth, B. ; Spangler, S. ; Fang, M. ; Johnson, C. H. ; Forsberg, E. M. ; Granados, A. ; Martin, R. L. ; Domingo-Almenara, X. ; Huan, T. ; Rinehart, D. ; Montenegro-Burke, J. R. ; Hilmers, B. ; Aisporna, A. ; Hoang, L. T. ; Uritboonthai, W. ; Benton, H. P. ; Riichardson, S. D. ; Williams, A. J. ; Siuzdak, G. Exposome-Scale Investigations Guided By Global Metabolomics, Pathway Analysis, And Cognitive Computing. Analytical chemistry 2017, 89, 11505–11513.


Su, X. ; Wang, N. ; Chen, D. ; Li, Y. ; Lu, Y. ; Huan, T. ; Xu, W. ; Li, L. ; Li, L. Dansylation Isotope Labeling Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry For Parallel Profiling Of Human Urinary And Fecal Submetabolomes. Analytica chimica acta 2016, 903, 100–109.
Geng, S. ; Zhou, C. ; Chen, W. ; Yu, S. ; Huang, W. ; Huan, T. ; Xu, J. ; Yan, X. Fatty Acid And Sterol Composition Reveal Food Selectivity Of Juvenile Ark Shell Tegillarca Granosa Linnaeus After Feeding With Mixed Microalgae. Aquaculture 2016, 455, 109–117.
Luo, X. ; Zhao, S. ; Huan, T. ; Sun, D. ; R Friis, M. N. ; Schultz, M. C. ; Li, L. High-Performance Chemical Isotope Labeling Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry For Profiling The Metabolomic Reprogramming Elicited By Ammonium Limitation In Yeast. Journal of proteome research 2016, 15, 1602–1612.
Huan, T. ; Xian, J. Wen; Leung, W. Nang; Li, L. ; Chan, C. Wai Cerebrospinal Fluid Metabolomics After Natural Product Treatment In An Experimental Model Of Cerebral Ischemia. Omics: a journal of integrative biology 2016, 20, 670–680.
J Montenegro-Burke, R. ; Phommavongsay, T. ; Aisporna, A. E. ; Huan, T. ; Rinehart, D. ; Forsberg, E. ; Poole, F. L. ; Thorgersen, M. P. ; Adams, M. W. W. ; Krantz, G. ; Fields, M. W. ; Northen, T. R. ; Robbins, P. D. ; Niedernhofer, L. J. ; Lairson, L. ; Benton, H. P. ; Siuzdak, G. Smartphone Analytics: Mobilizing The Lab Into The Cloud For Omic-Scale Analyses. Analytical chemistry 2016, 88, 9753–9758.


Huan, T. ; Tang, C. ; Li, R. ; Shi, Y. ; Lin, G. ; Li, L. Mycompoundid Ms/ms Search: Metabolite Identification Using A Library Of Predicted Fragment-Ion-Spectra Of 383,830 Possible Human Metabolites. Analytical chemistry 2015, 87, 10619–10626.
Sapkota, S. ; Tran, T. ; Huan, T. ; Lechelt, K. ; MacDonald, S. ; Camicioli, R. ; Li, L. ; Dixon, R. A. Metabolomics Analyses Of Salivary Samples Discriminate Normal Aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, And Alzheimer’S Disease Groups And Produce Biomarkers Predictive Of Neurocognitive Performance. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association 2015, 11, P654.
Huan, T. ; Wu, Y. ; Tang, C. ; Lin, G. ; Li, L. Dnsid In Mycompoundid For Rapid Identification Of Dansylated Amine-And Phenol-Containing Metabolites In Lc–Ms-Based Metabolomics. Analytical chemistry 2015, 87, 9838–9845.


R Friis, M. N. ; Glaves, J. Paul; Huan, T. ; Li, L. ; Sykes, B. D. ; Schultz, M. C. Rewiring Ampk And Mitochondrial Retrograde Signaling For Metabolic Control Of Aging And Histone Acetylation In Respiratory-Defective Cells. Cell reports 2014, 7, 565–574.
Zhou, R. ; Tseng, C. - L. ; Huan, T. ; Li, L. Isoms: Automated Processing Of Lc-Ms Data Generated By A Chemical Isotope Labeling Metabolomics Platform. Analytical chemistry 2014, 86, 4675–4679.
Xu, W. ; Chen, D. ; Wang, N. ; Zhang, T. ; Zhou, R. ; Huan, T. ; Lu, Y. ; Su, X. ; Xie, Q. ; Li, L. ; , Development Of High-Performance Chemical Isotope Labeling Lc–Ms For Profiling The Human Fecal Metabolome. Analytical chemistry 2014, 87, 829–836.


Li, L. ; Li, R. ; Zhou, J. ; Zuniga, A. ; Stanislaus, A. E. ; Wu, Y. ; Huan, T. ; Zheng, J. ; Shi, Y. ; Wishart, D. S. ; , Mycompoundid: Using An Evidence-Based Metabolome Library For Metabolite Identification. Analytical chemistry 2013, 85, 3401–3408.