National Institutes of Health Metabolomics Scientific Interest Group
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Metabolomics Scientific Interest Group

In the postgenomic era, metabolomics is gaining importance as another promising “omic” technology for understanding the biology of various diseases. Metabolomics is the study of the metabolome, the repertoire of metabolites, or small molecules present in cells, tissue, and body fluids. These molecules are the final products of interactions between gene expression, protein expression, and the cellular environment. The metabolome is thus a close representation of a physiological state and biochemical pathways. It forms the integral part of systems biology in which the data from various omic technologies complement each other to provide a holistic picture of how various biological systems respond to external stimuli and in various pathophysiological conditions. It offers great promise for understanding the underlying principles of biological processes including various pathophysiological conditions such as cancer and other diseases.

NIH promoted the development of metabolomics technology through its Roadmap for Medical Research initiative, launched in 2004 to address roadblocks to research and transform the way biomedical research is conducted. In 2005, NCI, in collaboration with other ICs, conducted a successful and well-attended workshop to address the use of metabolomics in cancer research. In response to some of the workshop’s recommendations, NCI and other institutes have since awarded grants to extramural researchers who use metabolomic tools. At least one NIH intramural lab is actively pursuing metabolomics technologies. Still, interest in metabolomics research is not as robust as it could be.

The new Metabolomics Scientific Interest Group was created to help stimulate more interest in the field and aims to bring interested NIH program officials and intramural investigators together. The group will meet periodically to discuss recent advances and hear from invited experts. We hope that in the future there will be more programmatic initiatives that promote the application of metabolomics technologies to research in human health.

For more information, contact Padma Maruvada at
maruvadp@mail.nih.gov.



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