Cornell University: New software to help discover valuable compounds

As a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of BTI faculty member Frank Schroeder, Max Helf saw his labmates continually struggle when they were analyzing data. So, he decided to do something about it and developed a free, open-source app called Metaboseek, which is now essential to the lab’s work.

The Schroeder lab studies the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, one of the most successful model systems for human biology, to discover new metabolites that govern evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways and could be useful as leads for the development of new pharmaceuticals or agrochemicals. The researchers accomplish this task by comparing the metabolites between two different worm populations – a process called comparative metabolomics.

Given that samples routinely have more than 100,000 compounds in them, computational approaches are essential to perform the analysis.

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