The NIH has made a significant commitment through the NIH Common Fund's Metabolomics Program to build infrastructure and capacity for metabolomics research, which should accelerate the field. Given this investment, it is the ideal time to start planning strategies to capitalize on the infrastructure being established. An obvious gap in the literature relates to the effective use of metabolomics in large-population studies. Although published reports from population-based studies are beginning to emerge, the number to date remains relatively small. Yet, there is great potential for using metabolomics in population-based studies to evaluate the effects of nutritional, pharmaceutical, and environmental exposures (the "exposome"); conduct risk assessments; predict disease development; and diagnose diseases. Currently, the majority of the metabolomics studies in human populations are in nutrition or nutrition-related fields. This symposium provided a timely venue to highlight the current state-of-science on the use of metabolomics in population-based research. This session provided a forum at which investigators with extensive experience in performing research within large initiatives, multi-investigator grants, and epidemiology consortia could stimulate discussion and ideas for population-based metabolomics research and, in turn, improve knowledge to help devise effective methods of health research.
© 2014 American Society for Nutrition.