Metabolomic Analysis

Metabolomics is a relatively young branch of “omics” science concerned with the systematic study of the chemical products or metabolites that cells and organisms generate. Because metabolites are the downstream products of numerous genome-wide or proteome-wide interactions, the metabolome (the sum of all metabolites in an organism) can be a very sensitive measure of an organism’s 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. Unlike its older “omics” cousins, where complete or near-complete coverage of the genome or proteome is fairly routine, metabolomics still struggles to cover even a tiny fraction of the metabolome. Indeed, most human metabolomic studies published today, even those exploiting the latest and most sensitive LC-MS/MS technologies, typically succeed in identifying or characterizing fewer than 100 compounds. This corresponds to less than 1% of the known human metabolome. In an effort to help improve this situation, we (and others) have started to undertake the systematic characterization of various human biofluid metabolomes. This includes the human cerebrospinal fluid metabolome the human saliva metabolome and the human serum metabolome. We have now turned our attention to characterizing the human urine metabolome.

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