Center for Metabolomic Studies (CMS)

The Center for Metabolomics Studies (CMS) provides the scientific underpinnings, technology development, and connections to facilitate Georgetown’s movement into a leadership role in this fast-moving field. The focus of the Center is the underlying science that utilizes metabolomics and development of faculty who will drive this field going forward at both the basic science and clinical-translational levels. The CMS is led by Dr. Fornace as the Executive Director, Dr. Cheema as the Associate Director, and Ms. Howenstein as the Assistant Director. This is the only Center of its type in the Washington, D.C area.

The purpose of the Center is to support and expand Georgetown’s capability in the fast-moving field of metabolomics and facilitate scholarly studies at both the basic and clinical-translational levels. Here at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), the utility of metabolomics has already been demonstrated in a variety of disease states including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, infectious disease, alcoholic liver disease, inflammatory conditions including inflammatory bowel diseases, radiation injury, diabetes, and many others. In addition to disease-oriented applications, the Center involves more basic science disciplines. Metabolomics can be used to assess cell signaling events and the responses at the cellular, tissue, and organism levels to such signals. In the case of the environmental sciences, this approach has been used to elucidate varied biological interactions including determining environmental stressors on forest communities, host/pathogen and plant/insect interactions, stress signaling, among others. Given the multidisciplinary nature of a systems biology approach, it has direct applicability to numerous fields including molecular biology, cancer biology, the microbiome, neuroscience, toxicology, nutrition, radiobiology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, mathematics/mathematical-modeling, translational sciences, botany, food and agricultural studies, drug development, and personalized medicine.

These studies have been supported by the existing capacities of an operational metabolomics shared resource (MSR), which is a standalone in-house facility that provides state of the art instrumentation as well as technically skilled and experienced staff. However, the central mission of MSR is to provide service support for research needs of the investigators accessing the facility. Additionally, there is a constant need for engagement and development of intellectual infrastructure and equipment to ensure that the technologies and services are most up to date for GUMC investigators as well. Hence, while the MSR is a critical affiliate resource; the Center meets the critical need to develop a GUMC wide consortium of investigators engaged in research with a focus on metabolism. The MSR provides powerful tools for their research, while the Center leverages the expertise of scholars who further develop the field of metabolomics research with these tools. As such, the mission of the Center is to enhance support from industrial, government, foundation, and academic sources and to facilitate development of assets and capacity to launch and assist a wide array of successful scientific projects as well as academic and outreach opportunities. This includes human capital, networked professionals, idea exchange, and standards distribution. The vision leads to regional, national, and international leadership in metabolomics, basic research, and systems medicine, thrusting the GUMC to the forefront of innovation, creating, translating, and sharing knowledge with students, staff, faculty, and the community at large, with the consistent thread of cura personalis.