Metabolomics is a powerful and emerging field that allows scientists to track the unique fingerprints of chemical reactions in our bodies. Every chemical reaction produces different metabolites, and researchers can use this information to track human health. However, the study of metabolomics has remained a relatively specialized field thus far. The Common Fund’s Metabolomics program aims to expand the capacity of researchers to study metabolomics, which is expected to catalyze this important research area and accelerate progress towards harnessing the power of metabolomics to improve human health.
The Metabolomics program was started in 2012 and is anticipated to wrap up a highly successful first stage of funding later this year. During this stage, the Metabolomics program accomplished the following goals:
- Develop six Metabolomics resource cores around the country to help scientists include metabolomics in their research
- Support many different training opportunities to teach scientists how to do their own metabolomics research
- Support the development of new tools and technology to make metabolomics more accessible to scientists
- Help develop national and international standards for metabolomics data quality, storage, and usage
- Support the development of new ways to identify unknown metabolite
In order for the full potential of metabolomics to be realized, the Common Fund Metabolomics Program was initiated in 2012. The program is meant to increase the national capacity for metabolomics and to catalyze research by creating new tools, infrastructure, and data to fuel this relatively new field of study.
The Common Fund Metabolomics Program is increasing the national research capacity through the following program components:
Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Cores
Goal: To create National Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Cores, expanding on existing nationally funded metabolomics resources. Six Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Cores (RCMRCs) have been funded through this program, allowing these institutions to expand and improve their capacity to conduct comprehensive metabolomics studies by adding and improving instrumentation, expanding faculty expertise, and developing new training programs to meet the need for expertise.
Training in Metabolomics
Goal: To increase the number of investigators with metabolomics expertise by supporting interdisciplinary training involving a diverse set of training vehicles that match career stage and goals. This initiative is supporting early and mid-career development awards with an emphasis on encouraging collaborations between basic and clinical investigators in addition to hands-on and online courses and workshops in metabolomics.
Metabolomics Technology Development
Goal: To address current limitations in metabolomics technologies so they can be easily adopted by other laboratories. Areas being addressed include optimizing the extraction, separation, detection and identification of metabolites; through the development of standardized experimental methodology, chemical probes, integrated devices and computational tools and approaches.
Metabolomics Reference Standards Synthesis
Goal: To increase the repertoire of chemically identifiable metabolites through the synthesis of reliable metabolic standards. Data generated from these standards can be deposited into existing databases to expand the identities of the metabolite repertoire and serve as a resource for the entire metabolomics community.
Data Sharing and International Collaboration
Goal: To provide a platform for the sharing of raw metabolomics data and to promote international collaboration in metabolomics. The program has created the Metabolomics Workbench, a website for publically available metabolomics data as well as access to metabolite standards, protocols, tutorials, training, and more. International collaboration is being promoted through the use of agreed upon standards for uploading data and a common interface, the MetabolomeXchange.
Metabolomics has been approved for stage II funding
The NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program has been approved for a second stage of support from fiscal years 2018-2021. In the second stage of the program, Common Fund will continue to support the development of resources that catalyze the effective use of metabolomics in basic and translational biomedical research. Investments in the second phase will focus on establishing a robust national repository for metabolomics data with the goal of making all NIH-supported metabolomics data publicly accessible and available for reuse; developing new computational tools to facilitate the analysis and interpretation of complex metabolomics data sets; and supporting projects to expedite unknown metabolite identification.
Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Cores
Six Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Cores (RCMRCs) have been funded by the Metabolomics Program. The RCMRCs have improved their capacity to conduct comprehensive metabolomics studies by adding and improving instrumentation, expanding faculty expertise, and developing new training programs. The RCMRCs are located at the following institutions:
- University of California-Davis
- NIH West Coast Metabolomics Center
- University of North Carolina
- NIH Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core
- Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
- Metabolomics Core
- University of Kentucky
- Resource Center for Stable Isotope-Resolved Metabolomics
- University of Florida
- Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics
- University of Michigan
- Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Research Core
Learn more about the Metabolomics Community
This page last reviewed on February 14, 2018