Study Design

Chapter 7 — The End of This Guide, The Beginning of Your Own Metabolomics Studies

Throughout this guide, you’ve learned about the process of designing and executing a metabolomics study to answer your scientific questions. We first showed you how to determine your study goals and reviewed the available technology. From there, we helped you consider whether to use an untargeted screening or a targeted experimental approach, dove deep into sample types and preparation steps to consider and explained how Metabolon returns your data to you and what you can expect from us throughout the entire process. You are now equipped to build a metabolomics experimental workflow; we encourage you to refer to the previous chapters of this guide at any time and contact us for further information. Here’s a quick review of the main points of discussion in each chapter that you can use to find what you need quickly:

Chapter 0: Your Guide to a Successful Metabolomic Study

Your Guide to a Successful Metabolomic Study will equip researchers to leverage metabolomics in their labs and workflows for a variety of indications throughout the life sciences. In particular, we will cover how to select metabolites, targeted versus untargeted analysis, appropriate technology and instrumentation, study design, control versus variant analysis, sample types, sample preparation, and effective analysis of metabolomics results.

Chapter 1: Top 8 Questions to Ask Your Metabolomics Provider

Before you embark on a metabolomics study, there are several important considerations you should make—especially if you are going to work with a vendor to complete your study. In Chapter 1 of this guide, we arm you with the most important questions you need to ask to select the right vendor and complete your metabolomics study with confidence.

Chapter 2: Metabolomics Study Workflow

In Chapter 2, we introduce the metabolomics study workflow, providing an overview of study design, sample preparation, sample analysis, and data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation. We also include key considerations for each step so that you can move on to building your metabolomic study with confidence.

Chapter 3: Building Your Metabolomic Study

In Chapter 3, we take a deep dive into designing your metabolomics study, starting with defining the study objective and approach. We explain the importance of having a sufficiently powered study with careful consideration of controls and data normalization—aspects of experimental design where Metabolon can assist. Finally, we set expectations for the type of data you will receive from your metabolomics study and how to mock up your study to identify any areas of concern using our Study Design Tool or working with your Study Director before sample collection.

Chapter 4: Sample Types

In Chapter 4, we introduce the main sample types used for human, animal, and environmental metabolomics studies: blood, urine, feces, tissue, and others. We review sample preparation best practices and potential complications for each type, including collection, processing, and contaminant removal.

Chapter 5: Sample Preparation, Storage, and Transportation

In Chapter 5, we discuss best practices for sample collection, shipping, and preparation to preserve sample integrity and reduce the risk of data variability, instrument interference, and metabolite degradation. 

Together with Chapter 4, Chapter 5 provides an overview of sample types and common considerations in the sample collection and processing workflow to ensure high-quality, reproducible metabolomic data.

Chapter 6: Study Analysis, Interpretation, and Insights

In Chapter 6, we show you what to expect when you receive your data from Metabolon. A metabolomic study may probe hundreds or thousands of metabolites per sample; by introducing the data analysis and interpretation tools and support you’ll have access to, we unpack what you will receive and how it can be used for further analysis and publication.

What’s Next?

This guide has led you through the steps of running a metabolomics study with Metabolon from start to finish. Beyond the tips and considerations presented, you know exactly what support you will receive from your Study Director and Metabolon throughout the process. Contact us today to get started on your metabolomics study!

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