ELIXIR-NL will coordinate a new Implementation Study on metabolite identification. The study will start on 1 June 2018 and run for a one and a half year period.
Merlijn van Rijswijk (DTL Technologies Programme Manager) explains: “The Implementation Study aims to deliver a metabolite identification workflow. It is led by Thomas Hankemeier of Leiden University and coordinated by me. Egon Willighagen and Chris Evelo of Maastricht University are also involved, as are ten other countries and the ELIXIR-hub. So, this really is an international community effort.”
Metabolomics experiments measure the concentrations of low molecular weight compounds in biological samples to investigate biochemical reactions in organisms. The primary analytical tools involved are mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. These technologies deliver spectral characteristics rather than metabolite identities. In untargeted metabolomics, metabolite identification is the main bottleneck in data analysis and interpretation. In targeted metabolomics, data acquisition instrument parameters are tuned to detect (a list of) target compounds, resulting in tables of metabolite abundances. In recent years, both approaches have significantly improved and they are converging.
Efficient metabolite identification requires several fundamental resources and developments, which call for concerted efforts across research groups and countries. In the new Metabolomics Implementation Study, more than ten ELIXIR nodes will improve the current situation by removing the burden on developers to manually connect different tools into pipelines. In addition, it will provide researchers with the tools and resources for biochemical interpretation of the data. There will be interaction with the ELIXIR platforms and ELIXIR communities. The progress through this integrative Implementation Study will benefit industry and academia alike because metabolite identification is one of the major bottlenecks in metabolomics.
About ELIXIR Implementation Studies
Implementation Studies are short technical projects to inform future service development, drive standards adoption, and connect ELIXIR’s 21 Nodes. The projects are funded through the budget of the ELIXIR Hub and form part of ELIXIR’s ongoing activities in a particular Platform or Community. They are proposed by Platforms, agreed with the ELIXIR Heads of Nodes committee, and approved by the ELIXIR Board. Read more.
About metabolomics and ELIXIR
Metabolomics activities are well-represented within Europe and ELIXIR nodes. ELIXIR recently started a Metabolomics Community.