About Metabolomics

Metabolomics /məˌtabəˈlōmiks/ noun. -

The scientific study of the set of metabolites present within an organism, cell or tissue

Metabolomics is an innovative scientific approach that allows us to think about important research questions in a novel and powerful way. Fundamentally, it is the systemic study of the unique small molecule chemical fingerprint that our biological processes and environments leave behind, and builds on genomics and other -omics technologies by providing a direct functional readout of our biochemical phenotype.

    The metabolic profile of an individual is composed of all of the byproducts (metabolites) of the chemical reactions performed by the body 
to maintain life and is also heavily influenced by our environments, which includes the foods we eat and our microbiomes (all the microorganisms that live within us). Metabolomics provides a functional understanding of the complex biochemical processes that underlie health. Metabolomics can also be used to study the small molecule composition of foods and other biological systems.

    Understanding individual biochemical variability in response to nutrients and foods provides the foundation for developing sound public health messages, personalized dietary recommendations and effective food-based interventions to improve our health and prevent disease. With a focus on personalized food and nutritional metabolomics for health, collaborators in the Foods for Health initiative will:

    • Develop and use state-of-the-art analytical and informatics technologies to comprehensively identify and profile metabolites of nutrients and other bioactive food compounds in foods and biological samples
    • Collaborate with colleagues who are generating data using other "-omic" technologies to correlate unique features of the human metabolome to unique characteristics of individuals
    • Discover new biomarkers that define subtypes associated with wellness and diseases
    • Understand the effects that food preparation and processing can have on the nutritional quality of the foods we consume
    • Develop personalized food and nutritional interventions to improve one's metabolic profile to improve health

    Foods for Health Discovery Talks

    TED-style talks about the Foods for Health mission

    Discovery Talk - Besma Abbaoui

    A New Era of Personalized Nutrition


    Discovery Talk - Jessica Cooperstone

    What Makes Fruits and Vegetables Healthy?


    Discovery Talk - Bernice Agana

    The Cellular Energy Sensor


    Discovery Talk - Transforming Foods for Health

    Intersections - featuring Dr. Devin Peterson


    Metabolomics 101

    A Foods for Health Discovery Theme free-access tutorial to give you the basics in this rapidly growing and impactful field

    Introduction to Metabolomics Tutorial