Recently, metabolomics has demonstrated it can capture the cumulative effect of the environment on health and disease. It can therefore ideally complement genomics to assess someone’s health status and predict the onset of diseases. So far, there is not 1 generic method to capture the diverse and complex metabolome due to the large variation of physicochemical properties and concentration of metabolites present in biological samples. Therefore, a combination of metabolic profiling methods is often used and a proper study design is important to answer a biological question.
To use metabolomics to detect the onset of diseases, reveal disease mechanisms and choose the proper prevention and treatment strategy, X-omics will address the following main challenges:
Higher throughput, lowering costs and amount of sample needed to enable population-based metabolomics analyses.
Absolute quantitation for more metabolites enabling the combination of different studies and additional data analysis strategies such as fluxomics.
Miniaturizing metabolomics technology to enable analysis of organoids, organ-on-a-chip and single cell samples.
Developing technologies to study the dynamics within and between cells and tissues and the human body.
Thomas Hankemeier is professor of Analytical Biosciences and head of the Division of Analytical BioSciences at the Leiden Academic Centre of Drug Research at Leiden University and Medical Delta Professor of Translational Epidemiology at the Erasmus MC. Pioneering innovation in metabolomics technology as well as analytics, he has developed novel technology to miniaturize the setup and advance metabolomics methods towards high throughput using microfluidics. Thomas is initiator and scientific director of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre; a €53M public-private research program (2008-2013). He was chairman of the 2010 Metabolomics conference in Amsterdam, member of the Board of Directors of the International Metabolomics Society. He aims to realize personalized medicine and prevention by translating changes in pathways and biochemical networks during diseases to possible treatment options. He has developed a microfluidic 3D cell culture technology, and is cofounder of MIMETAS, the worldwide first organ-on-chip company.
The main area of expertise of the metabolomics facilities, that are part of the X-omics research infrastructure, consists of state-of-the-art metabolomics, lipidomics and inborn errors of metabolism. The services offered by the facilities are described in more detail in the metabolomics table.
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