COMETS Working Groups

Age Working Group

The COMETS Age Working Group aims to identify and understand the metabolic factors related to human aging and how these factors may vary from population to population. Human aging is a multifactorial process involving many biological changes, some of which contribute to increased morbidity and, ultimately, risk of death. Understanding the biologic factors that contribute to aging is a high scientific priority, as it could help to identify novel targets for treatment and prevention of many disease endpoints.

The COMETS Age Working Group aims to achieve its mission through the following objectives:

  1. Evaluating relationships between metabolite concentrations and age across many study populations.
  2. Evaluating variability in associations according to distinct participant characteristics (gender, BMI, smoking status, prevalent disease, race, HRT use, age range) and study characteristics (metabolomics platform, extraction, serum vs. plasma, fasting status, and region).
  3. Evaluating the correlation structure of age-related metabolites and the reasons for metabolite-metabolite covariance.

For more information, please contact chair: Steven Moore

Data Harmonization Working Group

Data Harmonization work group oversees the efforts in providing the infrastructure to conduct meta-analyses of participating cohorts in COMETS. Activities includes metabolite harmonization, development of metabolite and exposure inventory among the cohorts to easily identify available data for projects, and the development of COMETS analyticsExternal Web Site Policy, a self-service web based app for cohorts to run their analyses. The multi-disciplinary group welcomes members who are interested in methods for analyses, databases, harmonization and who would like to pitch in the development of analytic modules for COMETS analytics.

For more information, please contact chair(s): Ella Temprosa and Ewy Mathe

Diabetes and Obesity Working Group

The COMETS Diabetes and Obesity Working Group seeks to establish a formal space to facilitate collaborative research endeavors between scientists committed to the prevention, characterization and treatment of diabetes and obesity through investigations of the metabolome. Diabetes and obesity are complex diseases with considerable morbidity and effects on quality of life.

The COMETS Diabetes and Obesity Working Group aims to achieve its mission through the following objectives:

  1. Establish a forum for the organic evaluation of novel research ideas in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and all phases of abnormal glucose homeostasis, and disorders associated with obesity.
  2. Foster national and international collaborations between scientists with expertise in diabetes, obesity and metabolomics, including those with a background in epidemiology, biostatistics and bioinformatics and laboratory sciences.
  3. Achieve progress in the following key areas: 1) prediction and prevention of disease 2) reducing sequelae of disease, with a focus on cardiovascular and renal complications 3) identification of novel treatment targets 4) understanding disparities.
  4. Develop statistical strategies to allow for cross-platform metabolomics investigation and harmonization of diabetes and obesity outcomes across cohorts.

For more information, please contact chair(s): Nicholette Allred and Meghana Gadgil

Early Career Investigator Working Group

The COMETS Early Career Investigator Working Group (formerly known as the Trainee working group)’s mission is to promote collaborations among early career scientists working on metabolomics profiling in varies research areas in cohorts participating in COMETS. The Trainee WG aims to facilitate an open exchange of ideas, hypothesis-generating discussions and self-organized training in methodological strategies and biological interpretation of metabolomics data. This mission will be fulfilled with the support and guidance of experienced senior investigators. Active participation in COMETS will help stimulate novel collaborations and the development of innovative research proposals within COMETS from early career scientists.

Within the scope defined by its Mission, the objectives of the COMETS Trainee WG are to:

  1. Provide a framework to foster international collaborations among early career scientists and senior scientists sharing common objectives and interests in the area of metabolomics research;
  2. Provide a forum for the discussion, development and evolution of (I) ongoing research, (II) methodological strategies, (III) to serve as an impetus for new research ideas and (IV) to facilitate the pursuit of novel research directions from early career scientists within the COMETS consortium under the supervision of experienced researchers;
  3. Support the development of international networks for early career scientists; and
  4. Accelerate the training of early career scientists in the emerging field of metabolomics, with a particular focus on innovative statistical and laboratory methods, to improve the understanding of metabolomics and the human metabolome in disease etiology, prediction, diagnosis and prognosis.

For more information, please contact chair: Mary Playdon

Diet Working Group

The COMETS Diet Working Group has a mission to use metabolomics to better measure diet, and understand the biological mechanisms underlying dietary relationships with diseases. Metabolomics offers an enormous opportunity to accomplish this mission through the development of dietary biomarkers and statistical approaches for applying them to large-scale disease analyses.

The Diet Working Group seeks to foster multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists with expertise in diet and nutrition, including basic scientists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and bioinformaticians. The Diet Working Group will act as a forum for implementing diet-related analyses and studies within the COMETS consortium and an avenue for forming collaborations for future grant opportunities.

The COMETS Diet Working Group aims to achieve its mission through the following objectives:

  1. Establish the foundation for conducting large-scale dietary analyses within COMETS.
    1. Survey participating cohorts regarding dietary and other supporting data available (e.g. dietary survey methods beyond FFQ, timing of diet assessment in relation to blood draw, fasting status etc.)
    2. Harmonize dietary variables to allow for large-scale meta-analysis of dietary data
  2. Utilize the resources available through COMETS to explore methods for better measuring diet.
    1. Identify reliable dietary biomarkers (with high sensitivity and specificity) of (i) nutrients, (ii) foods, (iii) food groups, (iv) dietary patterns
    2. Delineate dietary biomarkers (exogenous food chemicals) versus biomarkers of the biological effect of food consumption
    3. Establish the timeframe of exposure captured by specific nutritional metabolites
    4. Apply statistical methods to better predict dietary intake using dietary concentration biomarkers
    5. Develop methods for using nutritional metabolites for diet assessment calibration
  3. Develop markers of nutritional status that reflect individual variation in metabolism of diet and factors that affect dietary metabolism.
  4. Study associations between dietary biomarkers and biomarkers of biological effect, both specific markers (e.g. inflammatory panels) and endogenous metabolites and metabolic pathways.
  5. Apply metabolomics to the study of dietary associations with disease outcomes.
    1. Focus on nutrients, foods, food groups and dietary patterns that (i) have been associated with disease outcomes to explore underlying biological mechanisms; (ii) where diet-disease associations are unclear
    2. Explore heterogeneity by participant characteristics, e.g. age, BMI/anthropometry, gender, race/ethnicity and geographic area
  6. Complement findings using data from feeding studies, when feasible.
    1. Feeding studies participating in COMETS
    2. Feeding study Aims that accompany Aims using COMETS data on collaborative grants

For more information, please contact chair(s): Mary Playdon and Steven Moore

Statistical Working Group

The mission of the Statistics Working Group is to identify and provide methods and recommendations for the statistical investigation of metabolomics data from quality control to data analysis. The Statistics Working Group will accomplish its mission through the pursuit of the following primary objectives:

  1. Survey metabolomics researchers across disciplines to identify major areas of analytic and methodological need by practicing scientists in the metabolomics community.
  2. Establish a regular and open forum of statisticians and data analysts across metabolomics disciplines to discuss and provide insight into methods for addressing major gaps.
  3. Develop statistical methods and recommend best practices for the analysis of metabolomics data, with particular emphasis on the analysis of integrated ‘omics.

For more information, please contact chair: Su Chu

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