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Preventing or curing diseases with X-omics

In April, the X-omics initiative was granted 17 million euros from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research. The subsidy is part of the National Roadmap for large-scale scientific infrastructure, intended to build or renew large-scale research facilities. What new insights will this investment generate?

Understanding diseases

Leiden Professesor Analytical BioSciences Thomas Hankemeier is one of the project leaders within X-omics: 'In this project we will obtain new insights in how cells function –how the different types of molecules interact with each other. And what we want to learn is how diseases develop. When you understand that, you can find strategies to design novel medicines, or maybe even better to define interventions that can prevent or at least delay the occurrence of diseases.'


The common denominator in X-omics is the large research area of biomolecules. Dutch researchers from genomics (genes), proteomics (proteins) and metabolomics (metabolism) share their insights to ultimately unravel the mechanisms of health and diseases. With the help of researchers who are specialized in data analysis and integration, the results from the research will be processed properly.

In the video below, Hankemeier explains more about the X-omics initiative and the impact of the recently received subsidy for Leiden University:

Thomas Hankemeier about the X-omics Initiative in Leiden

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The X-omics researchers will examine, among others, the development of cancer. Also, research is being carried out into vascular and aging diseases such as dementia. Hankemeier and his research group focus on the metabolomics division within X-omics: 'In Leiden we focus on the measurement of metabolites. Metabolites are the starting products and products and intermediates of metabolism. So they are responsible for the fuel and building of cells and tissues. And in Leiden we develop methods to measure metabolites much better. But then in the context of all the other building blocks in cells.'

Of the subsidy of 17 million from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, 3 million will be used for the scientific infrastructure in Leiden. The metabolomics facility in Leiden will be up and running by 2020.

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