National Phenome Centre receives worldwide attention

Prof. Elaine Holmes and Prof. Jeremy Nicholson at the Phenome Centre

Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC) has been cast into the worldwide spotlight.

Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC), Australia’s first dedicated metabolic phenotyping laboratory, has been cast into the worldwide spotlight with a feature segment in an episode of the international award-winning podcast, The Naked Scientist.

The Naked Scientist is one of the world's most popular science shows, achieving more than 50 million programme downloads in the last five years. Host of the podcast, Chris Smith, flew to Perth recently to interview world-renowned phenomics pioneer and ANPC leader, Professor Jeremy Nicholson and Premier’s Fellows in Phenomics Professor Elaine Holmes about the work they are undertaking and what it will mean for the health of human beings into the future.

“Phenomics involves tracking the levels of thousands of chemicals in the body to spot patterns that can predict diseases a person is at risk from,” explained Professor Holmes.

“With the advancement of technology, we are now able to look at phenotypes in much more detail and can look at the molecules that are interacting as part of your metabolism. This allows us to medically target different phenotypes and we may get better clinical outcomes.”

According to Professor Nicholson, the ANPC is part of a world-wide network of compatible centres. It will measure the fundamental metabolic properties of humans, both in the general population and those who are patients, in order to predict disease risks and create personalised healthcare approaches through monitoring therapeutic interventions in clinical situations.

“The aim of this is to understand how genes and the environment come together to create disease, and how that expresses itself in metabolism, so that we can use that information to predict disease risks,” said Professor Nicholson. 

“Further, when you have that sort of analytical capability to measure details, one can use that to see if somebody is getting metabolically well, or worse, or if nothing has happened during what we call the patient journey. And we can use that type of monitoring approach to optimise therapies and to basically see what works for different people — it's a personalised healthcare approach.”

The Centre was opened on 4 October by Acting Premier of Western Australia and Health Minister, the Hon. Roger Cook, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Hon. Ben Morton, and the Governor of Western Australia, the Hon. Kim Beazley AC.

Vice Chancellor Professor Eeva Leinonen said Murdoch University was proud to be leading a project, which would help address some of the world’s greatest health challenges.

“The ANPC is an important symbol of our vision, with its precision – or personalised approach to human health - and capacity to improve the lives of millions,” she said.

To listen to the podcast, head to The Naked Scientist website.

Posted on:

18 Nov 2019

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