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COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS)

Text: Consortium of Metabolomics Studies, COMETS.

The COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS) facilitates extramural-intramural partnerships and promotes collaboration among prospective cohort studies from around the world that follow participants for a range of outcomes and perform metabolomic profiling of individuals. Participating cohorts are each allowed one representative on the COMETS Steering Committee. Members participate in interest groups, propose new projects, and are expected to follow the COMETS by-laws.

COMETS was established after a meeting that took place at the NCI on October 28-29, 2014, "Think Tank on Metabolomics and Prospective Cohorts: How to Leverage Resources." The objectives of COMETS are to:

  • Provide a framework to foster international collaborations among studies sharing common objectives;
  • Provide a forum for the discussion, development and pursuit of new collaborative studies and research directions;
  • Support the development of early career researchers; and
  • Advance the knowledge of the metabolome to improve our understanding of prediction of disease etiology, diagnosis and prognosis.

Based on these objectives, COMETS facilitates an open exchange of ideas, knowledge, and results in order to accelerate the study of metabolomics profiles associated with chronic disease phenotypes (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer). Learn more about COMETS through The Consortium of Metabolomics Studies (COMETS): Metabolomics in 47 Prospective Cohort Studies publication.


Membership Eligibility for Cohort Studies

Cohorts must meet the following criteria to participate in COMETS:

  • Prospective cohort, 100+ participants with blood metabolomics data
  • Identified metabolite data
  • Follow-up for disease, including cancer and non-cancer outcomes
  • Mass-spectrometry and NMR platforms are eligible

Researchers representing cohorts who want to participate in COMETS should apply through the Steering Committee membership form below.

Membership Categories for Investigators

Consortium membership falls under the 3 categories below. All COMETS members are expected to comply with the consortium's bylaws.

  • Steering Committee: Primary representatives for cohort studies participating in COMETS join as Steering Committee members. Steering Committee members review project proposals, participate in Interest Groups, and are eligible to become Executive Committee members. They participate in voting to elect new members of the Executive Committee and advise the Executive Committee on all consortium matters. Membership is effective upon notification and confirmation of acceptance of the consortium membership application by the current Executive Committee.
    Investigators interested in joining COMETS and representing a prospective cohort should fill out the Application for Steering Committee Membership and e-mail the completed form to Luciana Crotti Espinoza and Kelly Crotty.
  • Executive Committee: There are 12 Executive Committee members who are responsible to and elected from the Steering Committee members of COMETS. The Executive Committee coordinates COMETS policies and guidelines, approves membership and project proposal requests, serves to facilitate scientific progress through assisting with the planning and development of collaborative consortium activities and with cross-consortium communications, and assists in the resolution of procedural disputes among members.
  • Consortium Members: Individuals who are interested in joining COMETS and do not represent a cohort on the Steering Committee can join as Consortium Members. Consortium Members are investigators who are working in the field of metabolomics but will not be representing a cohort. Membership requires a nomination by a Steering Committee member and is effective upon acceptance by the Executive Committee. Consortium Members are required to maintain active participation in at least one Interest Group or COMETS project. Consortium Members do not have voting rights. Consortium Members are eligible to propose new projects; those in training positions will need Steering Committee sponsorship.
    Researchers, including trainees, interested in becoming a Consortium Member should fill out the Application for Consortium membership form and discuss with the Steering Committee member who is nominating you for COMETS membership. After they approve this form, please submit this application along with your CV to Luciana Crotti Espinoza and Kelly Crotty (CCing the nominating SC member).

Proposing New COMETS Projects and Collaborations

The 2024 deadlines for submitting proposals are March 15, July 12, and November 15. Although COMETS members can submit proposals at any time throughout the year, they will not be reviewed until after the next deadline closest to the time of submission.

Download the Study Proposal Form

Overview of the review process for COMETS proposals

Proposals prepared using the Study Proposal Form are submitted by sending them to Luciana Crotti Espinoza and Kelly Crotty via email by the indicated deadline.

  1. Initial Review - This will be completed within three weeks of the submission deadline and will consist of the following steps:
    • The Proposal Review Chair will make the proposals available to all steering committee members interested in participating in the review. One steering committee member will be assigned to be the primary reviewer for each proposal.
    • Comments and preliminary scores (1-5, corresponding to the criteria listed below, are due two weeks after the submission deadline.)
      • Approve as is
      • Approve with modifications
      • Deny with suggestions for revision
      • Deny due to overlap with other COMETS ongoing project
      • Deny due to insufficiently narrow in scope
    • During the third week, all proposals will be reviewed during a teleconference to which all investigators that submitted proposals will be invited to participate
      • The primary reviewer for each proposal will lead the discussion of that application. Proposal investigators may be asked to provide additional information about their project.
      • All steering committee members on the call will vote for a final score for each proposal.
  2. For proposals receiving a 2 (Approve with minor modifications), revisions can be approved by email.
  3. For proposals requiring major revisions or modifications in scope, investigators should submit a revised proposal and explanatory cover letter. The revised proposal will be discussed on the next Executive Committee call.
Timeline for 2024 Proposal Submission and Review Cycles
Step Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Submission deadline 3/15/2024 7/12/2024 11/15/2024
Comments and preliminary recommendation deadline 4/5/2024 8/2/2024 12/6/2024
Proposal review conference call 4/8/2024 – 4/19/2024 8/5/2024 – 8/16/2024 12/9/2024 – 12/20/2024
If required, revised proposals due 5/15/2024 8/21/2024 1/17/2025
Revised proposals reviewed by Steering Committee 5/22/2024 8/28/2024 1/22/2025

COMETS Analytics

COMETS Analytics is a cloud-based, self-serviced analytic platform developed to improve rigor and reproducibility in consortium-based metabolomics analyses, including single-cohort and meta-analysis investigations. It is available for anyone to use and can be accessed through the web-based tool or through GitHub as an R package.

Read more about COMETS Analytics in the following publications and associated commentary:

In May of 2024, NIH hosted a workshop on the COMETS Analytics platform called Metabolomic epidemiology on a global scale: accelerating discovery and enhancing rigor and reproducibility of single cohort and meta-analyses. The workshop included tutorials on consortium-based analyses of metabolomics data covering metabolite name harmonization, integrity checks, single cohort analyses and meta-analyses as well as scientific talks about the last developments in prospective analyses of cohort studies. View the recording through the NIH Videocast

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