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COMETS Interest Groups

Cardiovascular Disease Interest Group

The mission of Cardiovascular Disease Interest Group will be to identify CVD phenotypes and provide harmonization of clinical phenotype data to provide the infrastructure to conduct meta-analyses of the existing COMETS cohorts. Ultimately, we anticipate the CVD interest group will have two main disease states of interest, heart failure and atherosclerosis. The heart failure sub-group will be primarily led by Svati Shah and the atherosclerosis sub-group will primarily be led by David Herrington. Based on the findings within the existing cohorts we hope this work will drive more hypothesis focused research and expansion and harmonization to include other CVD consortia.

The objectives of this interest group are to:

  1. Determine the feasibility of the COMETS CVD interest group by obtaining a sample size of CVD phenotypes via a survey of the leaders of the existing COMETS cohorts.
  2. Identify funding for the administrative and analytic components of the objectives.
  3. Based on the existing data information obtained from the survey, and working with the COMETS analytics group, to create definitions of phenotypes and harmonization of phenotypes with focus on atherosclerosis and heart failure.
  4. Utilizing the work done in COMETS on metabolite harmonization and the CVD phenotype harmonization performed by this interest group, conduct a meta-analysis to identify metabolites associated and predictive of heart failure and atherosclerosis (and other phenotypes).
  5. Develop specific and hypothesis focused research questions based on the results of the meta-analysis to drive further research, identify novel therapeutic strategies and improve CVD outcomes.
  6. Expand the existing COMETS cohorts to include other existing consortia with metabolomics and CVD phenotypes and harmonize metabolite and clinical data.

The structure of this COMETS CVD interest group will allow for expansion to include other phenotypes beyond atherosclerosis and heart failure as the field continues to move forward. Ultimately, the output from this CVD interest group will allow for better risk prediction tools incorporating metabolomics profiling as biomarkers for CVD.

For more information, please contact chair(s): Sofina Begum, Svati Shah, and David Herrington

Data Infrastructure Interest Group

The Data Infrastructure Group oversees the efforts in providing the analytic infrastructure to conduct meta-analyses of participating cohorts in COMETS. The multi-disciplinary group welcomes members who are interested in developing and implementing methods and databases (e.g. harmonization of metabolite names across cohorts) for consortia-level analyses that contribute to the development of COMETS analytics. The group meets monthly and is focused on 2 areas:

  1. Harmonization and Standardization: Harmonization efforts in metabolite naming, and new efforts in standardizing clinicopathological naming. Results of these efforts will be used for data science activities.
  2. Data and Analysis Infrastructure: Design and development of the COMETS Analytics website and R package which include incorporation of new statistical models and analytic approaches, functions, training, documentations, and GUI development of the website. COMETS analytics, a self-service web-based app for cohorts to run their analyses. The group also provides the data infrastructure to disseminate up-to-date COMETS associated data (e.g. statistical analysis results after publication with approval by participating cohorts, population descriptions, etc.).

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

Diabetes and Obesity Interest Group

The COMETS Diabetes and Obesity Interest 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 Interest 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.

Diet Interest Group

The COMETS Diet Interest 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 Interest Group seeks to foster multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists with expertise in diet and nutrition, including basic scientists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and bioinformaticians. The Diet Interest 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 Interest Group aims to achieve its mission through the following objectives:

  1. Establish the foundation for conducting large-scale dietary analyses within COMETS.
    • 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.)
    • 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.
    • Identify reliable dietary biomarkers (with high sensitivity and specificity) of (i) nutrients, (ii) foods, (iii) food groups, (iv) dietary patterns
    • Delineate dietary biomarkers (exogenous food chemicals) versus biomarkers of the biological effect of food consumption
    • Establish the timeframe of exposure captured by specific nutritional metabolites
    • Apply statistical methods to better predict dietary intake using dietary concentration biomarkers
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • Feeding studies participating in COMETS
    • Feeding study Aims that accompany Aims using COMETS data on collaborative grants

For more information, please contact chair(s): Rachel Stolzenberg-Solomon, Danxia Yu, and Mary Playdon.

Early Career Investigator Interest Group

The COMETS Early Career Investigator Interest Group's mission is to promote collaborations among early career scientists interested in metabolomics profiling in varies research areas in cohorts participating in COMETS. The Early Career Interest Group 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 Early Career Interest Group 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.

Interest Group publications include:

For more information, please contact chair(s): Haley Chatelaine and Amber Dahlin.

Infectious Disease Interest Group

Our mission is to share knowledge and research efforts related to metabolomics studies performed in the infectious disease (ID) space. ID is a highly relevant, current topic that is at the forefront of public awareness and public health. Metabolomics and multi-omics analyses provide a unique opportunity to understand the molecular underpinnings of ID etiology and pathophysiology, as well as understanding and predicting the impact of previous infections on development of future ailments. Knowledge sharing and discussions within this IG will enable collaborations and the generation of new proposals and research areas on this timely and fast-paced topic.

Our specific objectives are to:

  • Meet regularly to discuss a published work or idea related to ID. This could include inviting external speakers and will keep the group up-to-date on state of the art research in this area.
  • Facilitate new cross-disciplinary efforts in ID, including the submission of COMETS project proposals.
  • To create a list of ID-relevant molecular and clinical phenotypes that can be used to facilitate harmonization of sample meta-data across COMETS, or to raise awareness on missing phenotypes that could be developed independently.

For more information, please contact chair(s): Nicole Prince, Ewy Mathé, and Jessica Lasky-Su.

Lung Disease Interest Group

The mission of the Lung Disease Interest Group is to provide a place where COMETS investigators studying lung disease can address specific issues for lung metabolomics research that is relevant for approved COMETS proposals with lung-specific aims. Lung disease, including COPD, asthma, ARDS, and lung cancer among others, remains a tremendous public health burden worldwide. Utilizing metabolomics data to identify risk factors and important physiology for lung disease provides promise in alleviating this burden.

The objectives of this interest group are to:

  1. To create and harmonize lung-specific phenotypes and relevant clinical data
  2. To facilitate the progress of approved COMETS project proposals focused on lung disease
  3. To facilitate new collaborative efforts resulting in additional COMETS project proposals

For more information, please contact chair(s): Jessica Lasky-Su and Rachel Kelly.

Statistics Interest Group

The mission of the Statistics Interest Group is to identify and provide methods and recommendations for the statistical investigation of metabolomics data from quality control to data analysis.

The Statistics Interest 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.

Interest Group publications include:

For more information, please contact chair(s): Su Chu.