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UC Davis Gets $9.3M for Metabolomics Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of California, Davis plans to use a $9.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a center for metabolomics-driven research, the university said this week.

Dubbed the West Coast Metabolomics Center, the facility will open on Oct. 8 and be housed within the UC Davis Genome Center. The center brings together existing UC Davis facilities in mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and imaging with research labs across the campus, Oliver Fiehn, director of the new center and a professor of molecular and cellular biology, said.

Agilent Technologies and Leco are providing mass spec instrumentation support for the center.

Designed to be self-sustaining within five years, the center will help researchers in the western region of the US who have small grants for annual pilot and feasibility studies, and it will provide courses, statistics, and bioinformatics services, as well as perform metabolomic analysis on a fee-for-service basis, UC Davis added.

One of the first major projects to be carried out at the center will investigate environmental causes of childhood diabetes. The project, which will be part of a large international study — called TEDDY, for The Environmental Determinants of Type 1 Diabetes in the Young — will track about 8,000 children during three years to identify triggers for the disease, such as infection, diet, and stress.

The study's consortium will provide more than $1.5 million for the new center's services.

UC Davis also noted the potential to use metabolomic technologies to create personalized treatments for various ailments.

"Understanding metabolomics and disease response will help scientists to develop new therapeutic strategies," Ralph de Vere White, director of the UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a statement. "This metabolomics research center will allow the UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center to advance this exciting area in cancer research, more deeply understand underlying mechanisms, and improve treatment options for patients."

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