Illustration of brain and gut. Text: Gut-Brain Connection

The Center for Pharmacometabolomics at Duke, led by Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, PhD, is the coordinating center for the Pharmacometabolomics Research Network, which includes more than fifteen academic centers.

Its goal is to integrate the rapidly evolving science of metabolomics with molecular pharmacology and pharmacogenomics to move toward the creation of a new discipline: “pharmacometabolomics."

What Is Metabolomics?

Metabolomics is the study of metabolism at the global level. It involves systematic study of the "metabolome," the complete repertoire of small molecules present in cells, tissues or organisms.

The identities, concentrations and fluxes of these compounds represent the product of interactions that extend from gene sequence to include gene expression, protein expression and the total cellular environment, an "environment" that, in the clinical setting, includes drug exposure.

Metabolomics has been identified as an important area for technical development under the NIH Roadmap Initiative. Sophisticated metabolomic analytical platforms and informatics tools have been developed that make it possible to begin the process of defining signatures for disease and for response to drugs used to treat disease.

Pharmacometabolomics & Personalized Medicine

Pharmacometabolomics is the use of the techniques of metabolomics to define metabolomic signals that will provide insight into mechanisms of drug action or mechanisms responsible for individual variation in drug response phenotypes. Those phenotypes can vary from life threatening adverse drug reactions to lack of the desired therapeutic efficacy. Pharmacometabolomics could contribute significantly to our attempts to truly individualize drug therapy.

Related Consortia & Projects

The Alzheimer’s Disease Metabolomics Consortium is a bold initiative funded by the National Institute of Aging that brings together leaders in Alzheimer’s disease clinical and basic research to work in close collaboration with centers of excellence in metabolomics, genetics, biochemistry, engineering and bioinformatics.

The Consortium aims to define metabolic failures across the trajectory of disease connecting peripheral and central changes. We define alterations in biochemical pathways and networks that can help us gain deeper understanding of disease mechanisms and that can highlight novel targets for drug design.

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The Alzheimer Gut Microbiome Project is an initiative funded by the National Institute of Aging to investigate the role of the gut microbiome and metabolome in Alzheimer's Disease pathogenesis and in the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms. It brings together 40 scientists from 14 academic institutions to define the role of complex bidirectional interconnections involving the diet, exposome, lifestyle influences, gut microbiome and genome on the metabolome to inform about individuality, vulnerability and unique trajectories of Alzheimer’s disease.

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The Mood Disorders Precision Medicine Consortium (MDPMC) is an integrated team of academic researchers dedicated to improving the lives of patients who suffer from major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Comprised of leading experts in the fields of genetics, metabolomics, neuroimaging, bioinformatics, and clinical trials, the MDPMC’s mission is to achieve the precision medicine goals of individualizing treatment for mood disorder patients based on an integrated biological understanding of their illnesses and variation in response to treatments.

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