The critical role of lipids in cell, tissue and organ physiology is demonstrated by a large number of genetic studies and by many human diseases involving the disruption of lipid metabolic enzymes and pathways. Examples of such diseases include cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorder and infectious diseases.

So far, the explosion of information in the fields of genomics and proteomics has not been matched by a corresponding advancement of knowledge in the field of lipids. This is largely due to the complexity of lipids and the lack of powerful tools for their analysis. Novel analytical approaches now allow for systems level analysis of lipids and their interacting partners (lipidomics).