Center Director: Dr. Teresa Fan
Metabolism is the functional activity of all living cells, and thus this reflects the health status of an organism. Therefore the ability to measure global metabolism in quantitative detail is of fundamental importance in all aspects of biology. Metabolomics is the technical means to carry out global analyses of metabolism, via the ability to identify and quantify a large fraction of all of the metabolites present in a cell, and how they change in response to perturbations (1). This therefore requires high-end analytical instrumentation, of which mass spectrometry and NMR together are the most appropriate technologies (4-12). Issues of sample preparation (2,3) and data analysis/informatics (13-16) are similarly critically important and are specifically addressed in the Center for Environmental and Systems Biochemistry. Furthermore, at RC-SIRM, a particular emphasis is on measurements of metabolic rates and changes by tracing individual atoms though metabolic pathways, via the agency of SIRM, an approach pioneered by the directors of RC-SIRM . Environmental factors come into play both at the extrinsic level (macroenvironment) as represented by diet and pollutants for example, and local environments (microenvironment) as represented by the prevailing tissue conditions outside cells.