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The Five Core Elements of a Successful Metabolomics Study

Metabolomics is helping scientists understand the biological picture through completion. As a result, the study of metabolomics allows for advancements in research into the life sciences.

Through a more complete understanding of the human biological picture, scientists can develop biomarkers that show how different external and internal influencers affect different genes. These influencers can be drug exposure, disease, diet, lifestyle, genetics, and the microbiome.

If you are running a metabolomics study, you hope for its validity and success. There are five key elements to a successful metabolomics study, and this article explores these elements:

Clear objectives

Any successful scientific study needs to have a clear objective. The same applies to a successful metabolomics study. To ensure your objectives are clear and obtainable, you need to make sure you have a hypothesis you aim to validate. This hypothesis could be a common thought shared by the scientific community, or you could be hoping to discover the biomarkers for a disease.

To set up clear objectives successfully, you also need to define your approach. There are three main approaches to a successful metabolomics study, and your aim will determine which approach you employ.

Strong study design elements

To make a strong study, you need to employ strong study design elements. This includes choosing the right sample matrix. The sample matrix will depend on what you aim to prove, and you will need to find the matrix that is as close to the system that you are attempting to study as possible.

It is also essential to collect enough samples over a variety of exposures. Collecting only one sample in one condition is not sufficient for a strong study. You need to make sure you have quantitative and qualitative data to render your study more reliable and repeatable.

Push for success

You do not want your metabolomics study to be a waste of time. By setting clear and measurable objectives and making sure your data collection process is clear and adequate, you are already halfway to success. You need to ensure your study can be repeated and credited by the scientific community.

In this endeavor, record every step of the process and write down why you chose to take those steps. Make sure your process and findings are above reproach so that your study can be valid. While there may come a study at a later time that disproves your study, ensure your study is valid for the present.

Use the right technology

The skilled builder wouldn’t use a hammer to insert a screw, and you shouldn’t use the wrong tools in your study. Your technology tools and instrumentation should be precise and sensitive to render quantitative results. In conjunction, you should use sophisticated informatics to process the metabolites.

The instruments you choose should be directly related to the objectives of your study. In addition, when implementing your informatics tools, make sure you record every data point accurately even if the outcomes seem unrelated to the objectives of your study. This will ensure you do not miss important information.

Data interpretation

The final aspect of a successful metabolomics study is having a strong data interpretation plan. If your study is going to produce large amounts of raw data, you may need to spend a large amount of time processing and interpreting the data. 

Planning how you will go about interpreting the data from your study before you even start your study will help you sort through data faster.

In addition, having a data interpretation plan can help you stay focused and can ensure you don’t miss important information. You may need to set aside time to conduct additional studies if the data calls for it.

Posted by Emily Dawson on Mar 15, 2020 2:37 AM Europe/London

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