Multi-omics is a research approach that leverages the power of several different “omics” data types at once to build a detailed picture of factors that contribute to human health and disease.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is channeling $50.3 million over the next five years into a new consortium dedicated to advancing the generation and analysis of multi-omics data for human health research. As part of this team, Washington University in St. Louis is establishing and will lead a central production center that functions as a hub for multi-omics analyses for materials from consortium members at each of six disease study sites identified by the NIH.
Gary Patti, PhD, the Michael and Tana Powell Professor of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences and a professor of medicine and of genetics at the School of Medicine, and Ting Wang, PhD, head of the Department of Genetics at the School of Medicine and the Sanford C. and Karen P. Loewentheil Distinguished Professor of Medicine, are principal investigators with the new consortium. Patti, who recently founded a multi-omics company called Panome Bio, is an innovator in multi-omics research, and Wang is involved in multiple other NIH consortia, such as the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium.
“Most human diseases have complex origins that are influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental components such as diet, physical activity, exposure to pollutants and social determinants,” Patti said. “We are working to understand how disease develops in a person by studying the flow of molecular information at multiple levels of ‘omics’ in parallel.
“This consortium model eliminates one important barrier to progress by making it easier to collect multi-omics data from the same sets of samples and developing collaborative teams with the appropriate expertise to harmonize and integrate the results,” he said.