Isotope metallomics approaches for medical research

Brandon Mahan*, Roger S. Chung, Dean L. Pountney, Frédéric Moynier, Simon Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Metallomics is a rapidly evolving field of bio-metal research that integrates techniques and perspectives from other “-omics” sciences (e.g. genomics, proteomics) and from research vocations further afield. Perhaps the most esoteric of this latter category has been the recent coupling of biomedicine with element and isotope geochemistry, commonly referred to as isotope metallomics. Over the course of less than two decades, isotope metallomics has produced numerous benchmark studies highlighting the use of stable metal isotope distribution in developing disease diagnostics—e.g. cancer, neurodegeneration, osteoporosis—as well as their utility in deciphering the underlying mechanisms of such diseases. These pioneering works indicate an enormous wealth of potential and provide a call to action for researchers to combine and leverage expertise and resources to create a clear and meaningful path forward. Doing so with efficacy and impact will require not only building on existing research, but also broadening collaborative networks, bolstering and deepening cross-disciplinary channels, and establishing unified and realizable objectives. The aim of this review is to briefly summarize the field and its underpinnings, provide a directory of the state of the art, outline the most encouraging paths forward, including their limitations, outlook and speculative upcoming breakthroughs, and finally to offer a vision of how to cultivate isotope metallomics for an impactful future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3293-3309
Number of pages17
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number17
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Biomarkers
  • Disease diagnostics
  • Geochemistry
  • Isotope metallomics
  • Metallomics
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Stable metal isotopes


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