Metabolomics

Metabolomics is the measurement of the unique “chemical fingerprint” resulting from cellular processes in an organism. By observing changes in this fingerprint as a result of cellular perturbations (deletion, insertion, mutation, external stress), we can gain a better understanding of an organism’s biological mechanisms and any associated phenotypes.

Taking advantage of advances in mass spectrometry (mass accuracy, sensitivity, resolution, and range), we are able to go beyond standard in-vitro and in-vivo characterization methods and create a comprehensive picture of the biochemistry for a given biological process. Further coupling mass spectrometry to front-end chromatographic separation enhances the resolution of complex mixtures, allowing for the detection of hundreds to thousands of metabolites in a single sample.

Metabolomics studies can be further divided into two branches, “targeted” and “untargeted” studies.

Targeted metabolomics studies involve the identification and/or quantification of a set of known metabolites.

Targeted-metabolomics

Diagram of targeted metabolomic workflow.
(Click on image for expanded view)

Untargeted metabolomics studies involve the identification and/or quantification of as many metabolites without imposing a bias, providing a detailed look of the global metabolic profile in a given sample.

Untargeted-metabolomics21

Diagram of untargeted metabolomics workflow.
(Click on image for expanded view)