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NIH Aims to Boost Research Community's Metabolomics Capabilities

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health sees a need in the biomedical research community for greater expertise in using metabolomics in studies, and plans to provide $2 million next year to fund new collaborations that will cross-train scientists in this expanding field.

Supported by the NIH Common Fund and administered by the National Cancer Institute, the new program will provide awards of up to $100,000 per year to add metabolomics components to research projects already funded by NIH, the institutes said on Friday.

Metabolomic profiling in basic, epidemiological, clinical, and translational studies has led to the discovery of potential biomarkers for diseases and for therapeutic outcomes, NIH said, such as markers for diabetes risk, novel metabolites associated with cancer, and more than 500 unique lipids in plasma.

Proper metabolomics study design is critical for producing relevant outcomes and interpreting metabolomics results requires a deep understanding of metabolism and physiology, yet few institutions are prepared to deal with the intricacies of such studies and fewer still have personnel experienced in them, NIH said.

This program will support the training of investigators in conducting metabolomics studies and aims to increase the number of scientists who are cross-trained in metabolomics, methodology, bioinformatics analysis, biochemistry, physiology, and spectrometry.

The funding will support 12 to 14 "highly interactive collaborations that exploit metabolomics approaches to move basic and clinical research towards translational goals," according to NIH.

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