Metabolomics: a brief introduction 1

Published on January 31, 2018   35 min

Other Talks in the Series: Bioinformatics for Metabolomics

My name is Reza Salek. I'm from EBI, European Bioinformatics Institute, part of the European Molecular Biology Lab. Part of the mission of EBI is to house lot of biological data, result from our experimental data, and we provide services, and make these data available. In the context, we have one of the services called metabolite where we capture metabolomics experiment. So, for this talk, I'll keep a brief overview of what is metabolomics. For those are new to the field, or interested in the field, or want to know a bit more, obviously, it's a very big and complicated field. There are a lot of aspects of it that I will not be able to cover, but I will be happy to answer any questions.
There are some definitions to start with. There are many keywords that are referring to the same concept. There is a concept called metabolome. These are small molecules usually about below 500 daltons. Usually, they say the numbers vary and the range concentrations. A lot of elements of it depends on the species, this type of cell, the environment, and these are in a generic term called metabolome. And the science of studying of these small molecules or metabolites are known as metabolomics. There are other names that are referring to the same notion like metabonomics, but these keys have changed during the time. The key term, metabolomics, is in consistent news according to Google Trend, but the term metabonomics, it was used a lot, more or less about the same concept. In slightly different theme, in terms of more metabolic response, probably than measurements of general metabolome, and this key word has gone down. There are other words that are also referring to the same concept of metabolic profiling or profiling method is also known with the same notion, which is essentially collecting, using different analytical techniques, statistical methods, generating a picture of what is a metabolic profile. Usually, this difference between metabolomics and more analytical techniques are maybe in analytical techniques, you are measuring two compounds very accurately and trying to figure out what is concentration of a certain chemistry or chemicals. In metabolomics, you are measuring a lot of compounds simultaneously. There are different ways that people do these measurements, classically known as targeted or untargeted. Although, these terms are now merging in a way that is of untargeted and targeted are kind of converging, meaning that there are a lot of metabolites that you measure and you know what they are, same time in the same experiment in the same techniques. You are encountering or measuring unknown as well.