Across the spectrum: integrating multidimensional metal analytics for in situ metallomic imaging
To know how much of a metal species is in a particular location within a biological context at any given time is essential for understanding the intricate roles of metals in biology and is the fundamental question upon which the field of metallomics was born. Simply put, seeing is powerful. With the combination of spectroscopy and microscopy, we can now see metals within complex biological matrices complemented by information about associated molecules and their structures. With the addition of mass spectrometry and particle beam based techniques, the field of view grows to cover greater sensitivities and spatial resolutions, addressing structural, functional and quantitative metallomic questions from the atomic level to whole body processes. In this perspective, I present a paradigm shift in the way we relate to and integrate current and developing metallomic analytics, highlighting both familiar and perhaps less well-known state of the art techniques for in situ metallomic imaging, specific biological applications, and their use in correlative studies. There is a genuine need to abandon scientific silos and, through the establishment of a metallomic scientific platform for further development of multidimensional analytics for in situ metallomic imaging, we have an incredible opportunity to enhance the field of metallomics and demonstrate how discovery research can be done more effectively.