Summary of Study ST002283

This data is available at the NIH Common Fund's National Metabolomics Data Repository (NMDR) website, the Metabolomics Workbench,, where it has been assigned Project ID PR001463. The data can be accessed directly via it's Project DOI: 10.21228/M8MH6X This work is supported by NIH grant, U2C- DK119886.


This study contains a large results data set and is not available in the mwTab file. It is only available for download via FTP as data file(s) here.

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Study IDST002283
Study TitleThe “ForensOMICS” approach to forensic post-mortem interval estimation: combining metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics for the analysis human skeletal remains
Study SummaryThe combined use of multiple omics methods to answer complex system biology questions is growing in biological and medical sciences, as the importance of studying interrelated biological processes in their entirety is increasingly recognized. We applied a combination of metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics to human bone to investigate the potential of this multi-omics approach to estimate the time elapsed since death (i.e., the post-mortem interval, PMI). This “ForensOMICS” approach has the potential to improve accuracy and precision of PMI estimation of skeletonized human remains, thereby helping forensic investigators to establish the timeline of events surrounding death. Anterior midshaft tibial bone was collected from four female body donors in a fresh stage of decomposition before placement of the bodies to decompose outdoors at the human taphonomy facility managed by the Forensic Anthropological Center at Texas State (FACTS). Bone samples were again collected at selected PMIs (219, 790, 834 and 872 days). Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to obtain untargeted metabolomic, lipidomic and proteomic profiles from the pre- and post-placement bone samples. Multivariate analysis was used to investigate the three omics blocks by means of Data Integration Analysis for Biomarker discovery using Latent variable approaches for Omics studies (DIABLO), to identify the reduced number of markers that could effectively describe post-mortem changes and classify the individuals based on their PMI. The resulting model showed that pre-placement bone metabolome, lipidome and proteome profiles were clearly distinguishable from post-placement profiles. Metabolites associated with the pre-placement samples, suggested an extinction of the energetic metabolism and a switch towards another source of fuelling (e.g., structural proteins). We were able to identify certain biomolecules from the three groups that show excellent potential for estimation of the PMI, predominantly the biomolecules from the metabolomics block. Our findings suggest that, by targeting a combination of compounds with different post-mortem stability, in future studies we could be able to estimate both short PMIs, by using metabolites and lipids, and longer PMIs, by including more stable proteins.
University of Central Lancashire
Last NameBonicelli
First NameAndrea
AddressFylde Rd, Preston PR1 2HE
Submit Date2022-09-06
Num Groups5
Total Subjects4
Num Females4
Raw Data AvailableYes
Raw Data File Type(s)mzML
Analysis Type DetailLC-MS
Release Date2022-10-13
Release Version1
Andrea Bonicelli Andrea Bonicelli application/zip

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Collection ID:CO002362
Collection Summary:Bone samples (ca. 1 cm3) of the anterior midshaft tibia (left) were collected prior to placement of the body outdoors, and again upon retrieval of the completely skeletonized remains (right). Each body was in “fresh” stage of decomposition when pre-placement samples were taken, and in “skeletonization” stage when post-placement samples were collected, based on scoring of the gross morphological changes37. The duration of each placement and the deposition context are reported in Table 1. The soft tissue was incised with a disposable scalpel, and a 12 V Dremel cordless lithium-ion drill with a diamond wheel drill bit was used at max. 5000 revolutions to collect ~1 cm3 of bone. Sampling instruments were cleaned with bleach and deionised water between each individual sample collection. A total of eight samples were collected in Ziploc bags, transferred immediately to a -80 °C freezer, and subsequently shipped overnight on dry ice to the Forensic Science Unit at Northumbria University, U.K. The samples were then transferred to a lockable freezer at -20 °C as per UK Human Tissue Act regulations (licence number 12495). The bone samples were defrosted, and fine powder was obtained with a Dremel drill equipped with diamond-tipped drill bits operated at speed 5000 rpms, to avoid heat damage caused by the friction with the bone. The collected powder was homogenised and stored in 2 mL protein LoBind tubes (Eppendorf UK Limited, Stevenage, UK) at -80 °C until extraction and testing. The powder sample was later divided into 25 mg aliquots. The research and bone sample analyses were reviewed and approved by the Ethics committee at Northumbria University (ref. 11623).
Sample Type:Bone
Storage Conditions:-20℃