ASMS 2011: our first year of both proteomics and metabolomics

Earlier this month, four of Team Nonlinear attended ASMS 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Of course, we’ve attended ASMS in the past, but this year was the first year we were able to offer a dedicated solution for both proteomics and metabolomics researchers.

The area outside the workshops at ASMS 2011 Outside the workshops at ASMS in Denver, with Mark, Agnès and Paul smiling for the camera; but where’s Wally?

Speaking as one of the developers of Progenesis CoMet, it was great to get the chance to show it to the world. Even better was the reaction we got; those who saw it loved the ease of use and the fact that it supports lots of different mass spec machines. he says with a smile

It was also helpful to hear, first-hand, about some of the issues still facing metabolomics researchers, both from those who visited our booth and in some of the sessions. In particular, the Metabolomics: Current Challenges and Future Directions workshop highlighted one issue that we had encountered when developing CoMet: the lack of maturity in metabolite identification databases. Or, to be fair, a relative lack of maturity when compared to databases available to proteomics researchers.

As it stands, it seems that many researchers are still using their own in-house database as part of their workflow. This is exactly why we:

  1. provided a generic identification method that could fit into every lab’s workflow, and
  2. designed flexibility into the identification process, to directly support more databases in the future

The flexibility, in the form of plug-ins, also means that adding support for further databases doesn’t have to wait for the next major release of the software. As soon as they’re created, the plug-ins will be made available, for free, from In fact, you can already download a plug-in to support METLIN searches and we’re planning to add further databases soon.

If you tell us which is your preferred metabolite database, it will help us prioritise future development and may mean your preferred workflow gets direct support sooner rather than later. We’d love to hear from you!