The motivation for studying metabolism is multi-fold. Due to its central life-sustaining function metabolism is tightly homeostatically regulated. Accordingly, its understanding may shed light on complex multi-level interactions within biological systems and with the environment. Furthermore, the biochemical networks underlying metabolism are the best characterized of any biological network.
The study of metabolism using emerging analytical and computational tools of metabolomics may thus provide an opportunity for their quantitative analysis. From the translational research perspective, derangements of metabolism play important roles in the pathogenesis of most common diseases. These derangements may also occur as co-morbidities underlying multiple apparently unrelated diseases. System-level study of metabolism may thus identify common and specific pathways and vulnerabilities underlying the pathogenesis of many diseases.
We rely on systems medicine approach, where instead of focusing on each disease individually, the aim is to account for the complex gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. We are particularly interested in the identification of disease vulnerabilities associated with different metabolic phenotypes and the underlying mechanisms linking these vulnerabilities with the development of specific disorders or their co-morbidities, with specific focus on obesity and diabetes and their co-morbidities. Such in depth understanding of the metabolic phenotypes in health and disease is crucial if one is to implement personalized medicine. In addition to new knowledge on the disease etiology and pathogenesis, our studies may discover novel biomarkers for early disease detection as well as identify novel avenues for disease prevention or therapy.