Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

BGI, U. of Birmingham Receive Funding to Develop Metabolomics Analysis Software Platform

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The UK's Natural Environment Research Council is funding a partnership established by the University of Birmingham, BGI, and its open-access journal GigaScience to develop a software platform to analyze environmental metabolomics data on a large scale.

BGI did not disclose the amount of the funding, but said that it will pay for a developer from the university's School of Biosciences to travel to Hong Kong and work with GigaScience to develop the Galaxy workflow system for metabolomics data analyses.

The platform will be developed for use by non-specialist scientists in the analysis of metabolomics datasets, which has typically required "sophisticated" computational skills, limiting their usefulness to specialized laboratories, BGI said.

Environmental metabolomics allows researchers to discover diagnostic biomarkers to monitor and assess risks to the environment. Researchers at Birmingham have focused extensively on the metabolic responses of the model organism Daphnia to pollutants and engineered nanomaterials, and today's announcement is the first metabolomics project resulting from a partnership between the university and BGI announced last summer.

"This funding from NERC will enable a synergistic exchange of skills in the curation and automated analysis of large-scale data that we have in GigaScience with the University of Birmingham's expertise in metabolomics," Peter Li, data organization manager at GigaScience, said in a statement. "This is an area of the life sciences that is of great interest to BGI as they move and broaden their expertise from being a major genomics organization into more integrative research in the life sciences."

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.