Untargeted Metabolomics

Using dried blood spots collected at birth, which are blood samples that are blotted and dried on filter paper, Dr. Lauren Petrick and her research team use untargeted metabolomics to predict early-life exposures. Untargeted metabolomics casts a wide net to collect information on a vast number of metabolites in the body, which are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Instead of targeting a specific compound, she measures thousands of metabolites in a single analysis. By comparing samples collected at birth from healthy people to people who were later diagnosed with cancer or other diseases, she can identify metabolomic differences that may be associated with later-life diseases.