Metabolomics is the methodical scientific study of biochemical processes associated with the metabolome—which comprises the entire collection of metabolites in any biological entity. Accordingly, metabolomics is critical for probing changes in metabolite levels and collecting pertinent metabolic pathway information in an effort to investigate the biochemical fingerprints specific to particular cellular processes. Metabolome changes occur after modifications of the genome and proteome, and are, consequently, more directly related to cellular phenotype. Thus, metabolomic analysis is capable of providing a snapshot of cellular physiology.
As the field of metabolomics rapidly advances, there has been a parallel expansion of different measurement platforms capable of evaluating a broad range of diverse metabolites. Moreover, the immensity of metabolomics research leads to the introduction of many sources of variance throughout experimental workflows. Consequently, analytical data from instrumental platforms can be more variable than the actual biological changes being probed. It has become vital for NIST to engage the metabolomics community in measurement harmonization efforts in order to confirm, validate, and commercially translate biological discoveries. My work involves developing quality assurance and quality control materials and data to improve the comparability of metabolomics measurements across all sectors of the metabolomics community.
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