Key Collaboration

Towards Global Coverage

The Computational Medicine Research Team has pioneered applications of NMR-based metabolic profiling in epidemiology and genetics. This stems from long dedicated research in the Team during the past ten years on developing and optimizing an NMR-based metabolomics platform for human serum. Along with the experimental development and automation, the Team has worked intensively to automate the data analyses and absolute metabolite quantifications. The resulted platform is unique both in its quantitative molecular output (>200 metabolic measures) and cost-effective high-throughput (analysis costs comparable to routine lipid clinical chemistry).

Using the serum NMR metabolomics platform, we have now analysed close to 200,000 samples from over 20 epidemiological cohorts and biobanks. All these data have been acquired using two platforms in Finland, one operational since January 2009 and the other since February 2013. Based on the present funding and strategic decisions, at least six additional platforms are expected to be up and running in Finland and in the United Kingdom by the end of 2015. The new machines will increase the total capacity of the platform analyses to over 250,000 samples per year. The UK institutions joining the global laboratory network are the University of Bristol (2 NMR machines), University of Glasgow (1), University of Oxford (1), and University College London (1-2).

The established and expanding collaborative network is pioneering and aims for global population coverage and life-course understanding of systemic health and disease aetiologies. This collaboration is leading to an unprecedented amount of coherent quantitative molecular data on systemic metabolism and will allow tackling key research questions and very large-scale analyses not otherwise feasible.