Metabolon and DNA Genotek: Collaborating to Advance Functional Understanding of the Microbiome
By: Lisa Freinkman, Ph.D.
The consensus is clear: metabolomic data can play a pivotal role in understanding key questions across the life sciences. For example, in population health, metabolomics is increasingly viewed as a robust phenotyping tool with the power to link genomic and transcriptomic variation on the one hand with clinical outcomes on the other hand. Likewise, in drug development, metabolomics offers a vast trove of potential biomarkers for monitoring disease progression, drug efficacy, and both on- and off-target toxicity. Since small-molecule metabolites play an outsized role in host-microbe communication and microbial community dynamics, metabolomic data is also critical to understanding how the microbiome impacts human health and disease and to designing appropriate interventions.
Yet, despite these and other compelling scientific arguments in favor of metabolomics, many researchers hesitate to jump in, due to obstacles including a lack of clear guidelines and standardization around sample collection, metabolite identification, and data reporting – to name only a few.
The Metabolon Difference
At Metabolon, we have always sought to deliver innovative solutions and support each client’s key research objectives by addressing common pain points and overcoming previous pitfalls of metabolomic analysis. Specifically, our process leverages two decades of experience to provide clients with several key benefits:
- Clarity of thought surrounding appropriate study design to optimize insights
- Know-how and experience in sample collection to ensure metabolomics-compatible sample preparation and storage, minimizing time and costs while maximizing utility
- Deep analysis and data interpretation within the unique biological context of each study
We know science isn’t one-size-fits all, which is why we are committed to a collaborative approach that maximizes study success for every individual client.
Recently, our efforts to broaden metabolomics access and utility reached a new level through our collaboration with DNA Genotek, which culminated in the launch of the OMNImet®•GUT device for ambient temperature collection of stool samples for metabolomics. The OMNImet•GUT project shows how we go beyond our traditional role as a service provider through innovative collaborations tailored to addressing client needs. Metabolon’s ability to deliver unique solutions ultimately enables broader adoption of our industry-leading metabolomics technology across the life sciences.
Our expertise has demonstrated that high-quality, consistently collected and adequately documented samples are a basic prerequisite without which no metabolomic analysis can reliably succeed. That is why, at Metabolon, we have always taken special care to facilitate sample collection, handling, and shipping for our clients. From detailed guidelines and real-time support by our Client Success team, to the recently launched Study Success Sample Handling Kit that takes the guesswork out of sample aliquoting and labeling, our competency makes collecting samples for metabolomics accessible to all researchers regardless of expertise. At the end of the day, we want to make things easier for our clients.
Innovation = Competitive Advantage
With the launch of OMNImet•GUT, Metabolon and DNA Genotek have dramatically expanded the accessibility of metabolomics for gut microbiome studies. Previously, flash-freezing was the only reliable method to preserve metabolomic profiles in stool. This required participants to produce samples in a clinic or laboratory to use expensive courier services to rush samples to a freezer. By contrast, with OMNImet•GUT, untrained study participants can now easily collect high-quality stool samples in the safety and privacy of their own homes, which will enable more researchers to perform metabolomic analysis on larger and more diverse patient cohorts. This innovation is certain to produce a qualitative leap in our fundamental understanding of gut microbiome function, resulting in the development of interventions across the many disease areas where the microbiome plays a role, including metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disorders, neurological diseases, and more. What’s more, we see OMNImet•GUT as only the beginning of a greater emphasis on at-home sample collection as part of broader participation in medical research and a more nimble, personalized, and patient-centric approach to health.
Of course, our imperative to support our customers does not end when the samples reach our facility, or even when we finish analyzing them on our instruments. We take pride in both delivering the most comprehensive and highest quality metabolomic data in the industry and in helping clients make the most of that data through customized services such as statistical analysis, interpretation and interactive visualization tools. Our joint effort with DNA Genotek demonstrates how these unique capabilities enable Metabolon to engage with another organization to co-develop cutting-edge products. We collaborated on a scientific level as thought partners over the course of two years to accomplish a common goal. In this case, our depth and breadth of expertise in metabolomics enabled DNA Genotek to gather the right data and interpretation to get the product to market quickly, while our validation and endorsement facilitated a rapid uptake and acceptance of the new device by the scientific community. More generally, by leveraging our deep subject-matter knowledge, we can develop a profound understanding of a partner’s needs and ultimately advance science together.
What’s next for Metabolon? Of course, we will maintain our intense focus on study success for our clients by further improving internal processes and enhancing data quality wherever we can. But, beyond the basic service model, we will also continue to expand access to metabolomics and enable ever-greater insight from metabolomics data through innovative collaborations like OMNImet•GUT.
Are you looking for a metabolomics partner to support your research? Contact us today at [email protected] to get started.