As part of the CCRC and the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, Art Edison's wide-ranging expertise in metabolomics – used to characterize and identify the molecules that make up an organism, tissues, or cells – is an important resource for faculty collaborations in a range of critical research areas, including COVID-19:
“Metabolites are the things that are responding to what’s going on in a person’s life,” Edison said. “Whether it’s a specific disease or trying to find what makes a plant grow better, if you can measure the metabolites, you can know what’s really going on.”
Edison’s lab is comparing blood samples from healthy ferrets to sick ones and quickly sharing their findings with other researchers to help them create and test diagnostic tests and therapeutics.
Though the timeline for finding treatments and preventives for the novel coronavirus is sped up, the collaboration across teams both at UGA and other institutions across the country is familiar to Edison, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in NMR Spectroscopy and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.
“Just about anything that you do to a person or an organism will affect its metabolite levels,” Edison said. “When you wake up in the morning and you have your coffee and your breakfast, that changes your metabolome in a significant way.”