David H. Murdock Research Institute

RTI International receives NIH contract to serve as regional metabolomics research core center

September 24, 2012

RTI International has been awarded a five-year contract from the National Institutes of Health to serve as a regional comprehensive metabolomics research core center.

This center, funded by the NIH Common Fund, is intended to increase the national capacity for metabolomics services to basic, translational and clinical investigators.

Metabolomics, the study of metabolites and biochemical processes within cells and tissues, holds the promise to allow the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease as well as provide insights to guide drug discovery and development efforts.

The RTI center will work with a National Institutes of Health-funded consortium to establish nationwide standards that provide consistency in metabolomics data collection and provide quality data for storage in a central data repository and coordinating center.

The RTI center will offer a comprehensive range of metabolomics services and also provide collaborative opportunities through pilot and feasibility studies designed to use metabolomics in clinical and translational research. The center will also promote training and education activities in our region.

Susan Sumner, Ph.D., director of the RTI center, will be supported by experts from across the institute in a variety of metabolomics-related specialties, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), chromatography coupled-mass spectrometry, and statistical and bioinformatics services.

The David H. Murdock Research Institute in Kannapolis, N.C., will provide additional scientific expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, and will participate in outreach activities with the center.

The following internationally-recognized experts in metabolomics will serve as consultants to the RTI center:

•Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., a founder of metabolomics, and chair of biological chemistry and head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College
•Elaine Holmes, Ph.D., a professor of chemical biology at Imperial College and a pioneer in chemometric analysis in metabolomics investigations
•Dr. Ian Wilson of Imperial College, London, recognized for his many contributions in analytical chemistry, including bringing standard approaches for use in time-of-flight chromatography coupled-mass spectrometry metabolomics.

“We are honored to be selected as regional metabolomics resource core,” Sumner said. “We look forward to working with the National Institutes of Health Common Fund, the other centers, and academic and industry leaders in our region to standardize methods, conduct metabolomics investigations, and educate and train scientists. We are proud to help bring metabolomics to bear on important biological and clinical research investigations.”

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