Biometrology, What Is It And What Could It Mean For Biomolecular Research

Jim Huggett
University of Surrey, United Kingdom

While biomolecular methods are widely used to measure genes and gene expression, it is well documented that such approaches are often difficult to reproduce. So while I may be able to demonstrate a two-fold difference in the expression of a given gene, it can be very difficult for you to make that same measurement. Yet, unless the reason for this discrepancy is better understood the measurement I made may be difficult to corroborated and the chance of it becoming a useful biomarker reduced. There have been several initiatives among the molecular biology community to address this, such as MIQE, and increasing efforts amongst the in vitro diagnostic community to find solutions to assist in measurement standardisation. What is perhaps less clear amongst our community is the fact that there is an entire field of science dedicated to this very problem. Metrology is the scientific study of measurement and is applied in specialties such as physics to understand the accuracy of a measurement. This is achieved by determining mathematically how it is traceable to a given unit, which at its most accurate is to the Système international d’unités, or SI. By applying the concept to biological measurements, biometrology could enable us to understand why there are discrepancies between different laboratories as well as allow us to characterise sources of error and better understand the accuracy of a given measurement. This talk will explore how this new field of research is being applied to biomolecular measurement.

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