- To develop robust laboratory-based methodologies to measure the metabolome or the exposome in cohort studies and human intervention studies.
- To identify specific biomarkers and molecular phenotypes of obesity and metabolic dysfunction and explore how such markers may mediate associations between obesity and risk of cancers.
- To identify and validate biomarkers of intake for different foods and food compounds and of the gut microbiota.
- To investigate in population-based studies in different geographical areas, including in low- and middle-income countries, the relationships between these biomarkers or the exposome and cancer outcomes or intermediate end-points.
Specific and highly sensitive methods, including gas and liquid chromatography, high- and low-resolution mass spectrometry, and immunoassays, are implemented to identify and estimate biomarkers of metabolic and environmental exposures in blood or urine samples. Both untargeted and targeted metabolomic approaches are used. Targeted compounds analysed include endogenous metabolites, including hormones (sex hormones, growth factors, insulin, thyroid hormones), cytokines, amino acids, lipids, and acylcarnitines, as well as various food constituents, such as fatty acids, polyphenols, and food contaminants. For untargeted metabolomics, novel analytical and bioinformatics workflows are used to profile thousands of compounds in blood or urine.