Arts & Sciences

Washington University collaborates with Agilent, Merck to expand metabolomics research

In partnership with Agilent and Merck, scientists in the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences will develop new metabolomics workflows. (Photo: Sean Garcia)

A collaborative effort between Washington University in St. Louis, Agilent Technologies and the biopharmaceutical company Merck aims to expand research in the field of metabolomics, the comprehensive study of small molecules within a biological system.

Using top-of-the-line research instrumentation from Agilent, scientists in the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences will develop new metabolomics workflows of interest to many members of the drug-development community. The partnership also includes salary support for postdoctoral research fellows for the next two years.

“Metabolomics provides a direct readout of biochemical activity. It is ideally suited to study the effect that drugs have on cells and tissues,” said Gary Patti, PhD, the Michael and Tana Powell Professor of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences and professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, who leads the university’s portion of the collaboration.

“With these instruments from Agilent, we are delighted to establish a dedicated training laboratory outfitted with cutting-edge mass spectrometry equipment for metabolomics,” said Feng Sheng Hu, the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor and dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences.

“Trainees will be exposed to computational approaches in metabolomics, mass spectrometry, cell work and animal work, as well as many other biochemical techniques — making them exceptional candidates to pursue careers within the biopharmaceutical industry,” Hu said. “We are grateful to Agilent and Merck for their support in helping Washington University to develop the pipeline of research experts skilled in scientific discovery within the fields of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism and metabolomics.”

Read more.