APR 12, 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Standards for Microbiome and Metagenomics: Supporting the Commercial Translation of Microbiome Science

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  • Leader of the Metagenomic Pathogen Detection Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology
      Dr. Jason Kralj has worked at NIST since 2006, and is a member of the Complex Microbial Systems Group led by Scott Jackson. Currently, he is developing a pathogen DNA reference material to address some of the analytical challenges facing next generation sequencing-based metagenomics.


    In spite of the huge potential impact of microbiome science, current measurement capabilities are insufficient, particularly for translating discoveries and correlations observed in the lab into commercially viable products and services that improve our quality of life. Data are difficult to compare between experimenters, laboratories, or institutions. Emerging capabilities (e.g., next generation sequencing, metabolomics) are new and not fully characterized for microbiome investigations. Reference samples (i.e., for calibration or quality control) that mimic the complexity of naturally occurring communities are not available. Bioinformatic analysis packages and reference databases remain incomplete.  At NIST, we are improving microbiome science and supporting the National Microbiome Initiative by developing standards for microbiome measurements that will enable federal, academic, and industry labs to reliably reproduce and advance each other's results. Microbiome standards will support research investigations and commercial translation of microbiome science by providing measurement assurance tools: standardized protocols, reference materials, validated measurements and critically evaluated reference data.


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