Harnessing the complexity of metabolomic data with chemometrics

Authors

  • Julien Boccard,

    1. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Serge Rudaz

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, Geneva, Switzerland
    • Correspondence to: Prof. S. Rudaz, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Lausanne, University of Geneva, 20 Bd d'Yvoy, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

      E-mail: serge.rudaz@unige.ch

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Abstract

Because of the ever-increasing number of signals that can be measured within a single run by modern platforms in analytical chemistry, life sciences datasets become not only gradually larger but also more intricate in their structures. Challenges related to making use of this wealth of data include extracting relevant elements within massive amounts of signals possibly spread across different tables, reducing dimensionality, summarising dynamic information in a comprehensible way and displaying it for interpretation purposes. Metabolomics constitutes a representative example of fast-moving research fields taking advantage of recent technological advances to provide extensive sample monitoring. Because of the wide chemical diversity of metabolites, several analytical setups are required to provide a broad coverage of complex samples. The integration and visualisation of multiple highly multivariate datasets constitute key issues for effective analysis leading to valuable biological or chemical knowledge. Additionally, high-order data structures arise from experimental setups involving time-resolved measurements. These data are intrinsically multiway, and classical statistical tools cannot be applied without altering their organisation with the risk of information loss. Dedicated modelling algorithms, able to cope with the inherent properties of these metabolomic datasets, are therefore mandatory for harnessing their complexity and provide relevant information. In that perspective, chemometrics has a central role to play. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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