Metabolon, Inc., announced that it is expanding its efforts to apply metabolomics to large population health studies taking place around the world. To support this, the Company has grown its team to include Alex Forrest-Hay as Vice President of Population Health and his staff to exclusively focus on these initiatives. Prior to joining Metabolon, he was Director of Business Development at Affymetrix.
“Alex is a valuable addition to Metabolon because he has such a deep understanding of the goals of these large cohort studies and trusted relationships with population health thought leaders,” said Metabolon CEO John Ryals, PhD. “He and his team will help researchers maximize the value of combining genomics and metabolomics to identify disease risk factors and targets for preventive health care.”
Population health explores the health of large groups of people over time to better understand the underlying nature of wellness and disease. Programs are underway in the U.S., U.K., China and many other countries to collect genetic and biological samples and a wide variety of health information. This data will become a powerful resource in discovering why some people develop certain diseases and others do not.
“Genetic and environmental factors influencing health exert their effects by altering metabolite levels,” said Forrest-Hay. “As millions of patient samples are collected in these global studies, Metabolon’s technology will provide valuable, integrative knowledge toward understanding gene function and metabolic health. The Population Health team will work with leading government and academic researchers to establish Metabolon as the preferred provider of metabolomics data for these large-scale, multi-omic initiatives. These exciting programs are laying the foundations for using precision medicine in clinical practice, and metabolomics data will be essential for making this a reality.”
While genomics is viewed as a key component to precision medicine, there remains a need to understand additional factors, beyond one’s genes, to accurately reflect the current health status of an individual. The evolution of precision medicine benefits from research about broader population health. Overall, a better understanding of how all these factors work together may help improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
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