Who uses Proteomics and Metabolomics?
Proteomics and metabolomics are used in many different situations, ranging from academic laboratories in search of hot discoveries through to commercial applications in biotechnology, agriculture and medicine. In the discovery lab, these technologies are typically used to unravel basic biological mechanisms, details of which could lead to new understanding and ideas. Such “nuts and bolts” advances might in turn be harnessed by applications scientists to guide development of new drugs or diagnostics, for example.
When applied in biotechnology and medicine, proteomics and metabolomics are generally used to monitor patterns of particular proteins and metabolites (“biomarkers“) . The trick is to work out which biomarkers are most informative – if such tests are going to be sold for use in medicine, doping analysis, crop selection and the like, then they must be reliable. Affordability is another factor, so applications such as these tend to involve fewer proteins/metabolites than are used for discovery science.
Victoria has many academic research labs using these technologies successfully, as illustrated in the following section. Proteomics and metabolomics are also used commercially, for example by the HealthLinxcompany in their development of tests for ovarian cancer. SGE is a local company that not only designs and manufactures products loved by proteomics and metabolomics researchers worldwide, but also makes key components used by manufacturers of major instruments.
Increasingly proteomics and metabolomics are being used jointly, recognising the biological importance of interactions between proteins and metabolites – indeed, most metabolites are products of protein enzymes. Other “-omics” technologies (e.g. genomics, transcriptomics, phenomics) are also being used increasingly alongside proteomics and metabolomics. The resulting broad, and physiologically sound, perspective is termed “systems biology“.
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