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David Wishart began work in metabolomics in 1999. From 2006-2009, he led the “Human Metabolome Project” (HMP), a multi-university, multi-investigator project that catalogued all of the known metabolites in human tissues and biofluids. The results from this project has been archived on a freely accessible web-resource called the Human Metabolome Database (HMDB). Dr. Wishart has continued to add to this work through periodic database updates and a number of publications describing the human serum, urine and cerebrospinal fluid metabolomes. Over the last 5 years his major focus has been on bringing metabolomics out from the lab and into clinical practice. Dr. Wishart currently directs the Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC), Canada’s national metabolomics platform.
Making Metabolomics Matter
(Marica Hall, Jun 25th, 08:40)
Metabolomics has long been the “poor cousin” to genomics and proteomics. It has struggled more than other “omics” sciences for visibility, acceptance and funding. In this presentation I will explore some of the reasons why metabolomics has struggled (historically) and what it needs to do to become more of a going concern within the life science community. In particular, I will outline a number of areas where metabolomics research, methodologies and technologies needs to be strengthened. I will also highlight a number of unrealized opportunities that could go a long way towards making metabolomics matter – to the public, to industry and to the funding agencies. Some of these opportunities lie in the little-known fact that more than 90% of plant, animal and human diseases have a non-genetic cause. This fact suggests that the development of environmentally, clinically and nutritionally useful chemical biomarkers needs to become a priority for the metabolomics research community. It also suggests that a shift to a far more “quantitative” and “democratized” approach to metabolomics needs to take place. This includes the development of “Next-Gen” metabolomics technologies such as higher throughput, fully automated metabolomic systems and the creation of low-cost, portable metabolomic devices.
Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta, Canada