Lipids are highly diverse metabolites of pronounced importance in health and disease. While metabolomics is a broad field under the omics umbrella that may also relate to lipids, lipidomics is an emerging field which specializes in the identification, quantification and functional interpretation of complex lipidomes. Today, it is possible to identify and distinguish lipids in a high-resolution, high-throughput manner and simultaneously with a lot of structural detail. However, doing so may produce thousands of mass spectra in a single experiment which has created a high demand for specialized computational support to analyze these spectral libraries. The computational biology and bioinformatics community has so far established methodology in genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics but there are many (combinatorial) challenges when it comes to structural diversity of lipids and their identification, quantification and interpretation. This review gives an overview and outlook on lipidomics research and illustrates ongoing computational and bioinformatics efforts. These efforts are important and necessary steps to advance the lipidomics field alongside analytic, biochemistry, biomedical and biology communities and to close the gap in available computational methodology between lipidomics and other omics sub-branches.
© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Journal of Integrative Bioinformatics.
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