Metabolomics : New Era in Science

March 29, 2017 11:28 am



Genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics aren’t peculiar term for students in science. The three omics are commonly found omics and has been the focus of development by human in recent years. In fact, there is one -omics that hasn’t been touched by many scientists – but having an enormous potential. This potential in metabolomics is the one that Dr. Sastia Prama Putri, lecturer in Institut Teknologi Bandung (lit : Bandung Institute of Technology) who is Japan-based metabobolomics researcher in Osaka University, tried to introduce. This awardee of L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science 2015 currently holds the status of active researcher, with her area of research mainly application of metabolomics for biofuel and Indonesia’s native food products such as coffee. In two separate occasions, (27/1) and (17/3), Dr. Sasti attended Metabolomics class in order to give insights on two topics pertaining to metabolomics, “Mass Spectrometry-based Metabolomics as a Powerful Tool for Predicting Complex Biological Phenotypes” and “Metabolomics: a Powerful Tool for Phenotype Improvement”. The lectures were attended by undergraduate students of Microbiology major and few graduates and doctoral students.

In her first lecture, Dr. Sasti mainly explains about one of important tools in metabolomics analysis, mass spectrometry. She started the lecture by explaining what is metabolomics – a multidisciplinary science which focuses on metabolites. One of the interesting fact disclosed by this alumna of Biology major of ITB (lit: Bandung Institute of Technology) is that one of the difficulty in metabolomics analysis is that metabolite is a group of vastly different compounds. Other difficulty is that annotating diverse metabolites isn’t a simple job. In the span of two hours, Dr. Sasti mainly lays the foundation on metabolomics analysis – started from the steps in metabolomics research until the technical aspect in metabolomics work such as quenching methods, spectrometry, and metabolomics data analysis.

In the next lecture, the woman who’s actively researching in Fukusaski laboratory of Osaka University nowadays mainly explains the application of metabolomics. Confessed by Dr. Sasti, the focus of her research these days is applicative microbiology – using microorganism as a factory to produce desired products. To her, strain improvement is a key in biotechnology research. The interesting part is that metabolomics can be a novel approach in strain improvement, which mainly employs genomics and transcriptomics. Metabolomics has advantage regarding strain improvement, because it can explain the processes in cells that makes input given affects products produced. The second lecture filled with explanation about metabolomics research pertaining to strain improvement – about optimization of 1-butanol production by increasing the tolerance of host cell to 1-butanol and by producing the alternative fuel in photosynthetic host, cyanobacteria. In the two researches participated by Dr. Sasti herself, metabolomics was used as an approach to manipulate metabolomics pathway so that input of substrate could be optimally diverted to desired product formation pathway.

By lectures given by Dr. Sasti – a lecturer who is also an active metabolomics researcher – Microbiology Undergraduate Program intends to give new perspective to its students in the science of microbiology. It is also expected that by the lecture, students could imagine how the research in the laboratory is conducted.