This week we are interviewing Niklas Blomberg from the ELIXIR project. 1. Please provide a short introduction to the work of ELIXIR? What are the aims and the mission of the project? ELIXIR is Europe’s response to the challenges of big data in life science research. Over the recent years, the amount of data produced by life science experiments increased exponentially and it has been estimated that by 2020 these data will be generated at up to one million times the current rate. ELIXIR’s goal is to orchestrate the collection, quality control and archiving of these data across Europe. For the first time, ELIXIR is creating an infrastructure that integrates research data from all corners of Europe and ensures a seamless service provision that is easily accessible to all. ELIXIR’s services – biological data resources, tools, infrastructure, standards, compute and training – will benefit not only bioinformaticians and computational biologists, but also geneticists, biochemists, clinical specialists, and plant, environmental and marine scientists, both in academia and industry. 2. What does ELIXIR’s structure and legal framework look like? Rather than concentrating all of the expertise and resources in one place, ELIXIR has a distributed structure based on a hub and nodes […]
“dbGaP Collection: Compilation of Individual-Level Genomic Data for General Research Use” is a new data set collection that is expected to become a very useful tool for researchers. Due to many requests from the scientific community, the NIH brought into play a change in the procedures for accessing aggregate-level data. Most of the dbGaP studies have considerable fraction of participants who consented for “General Research use” (GRU) NIH have recognized and acknowledged those consents to be essentially the same, even though the individuals participated in different studies. As a result this collection was created allowing users to obtain the data. Furthermore, in order to make the process of requesting access less painful and faster, it will be reviewed by a single, central Data Access Committee and users can gain entry through a single access request. The process is identical to those for individual-level, controlled-access data and you can find the instructions for requesters here. Investigators being authorized for access to the datasets within the collection will have the standard one-year approval period. In the meantime, one can choose to use data only from some individuals, but will still have access to all of the information. Additionally, the datasets are going to be updated […]
The PHG Foundation has issued a bioinformatician briefing note. Now available online, it explores big data and the effects of its implementation on healthcare. With bioinformatics increasingly becoming an integral part of numerous fields, including healthcare, this briefing note is an important document. For anyone who has ever wondered what the role of a bioinformatician actually is, here is the answer (and some nice flow charts). For more background click here.
Next Thursday, the 27th March, DNAdigest CEO, Fiona Nielsen, has been invited to speak at The 4th Annual Eagle Symposium. The symposium is an all day event presenting challenges and solutions to those in the bioinformatics community, particularly focussing on issues relevant to data sharing. Fiona will be exploring why data sharing, the road map of future genetics, still encounters problems and how DNAdigest is overcoming these challenges to enable efficient data sharing leading to faster cures for genetic disease. The talk, ‘Privacy-preserving Data Access and Improved Data Reuse for Human Genomics Research‘, is at 2:00 pm. You are still able to register for the symposium. If are unable to attend yourself do follow @eaglegen and @DNADigest for updates throughout the day. It’s set to be a great event, with distinguished speakers including a keynote from Cameron Neylon, advocacy director of PLOS, on the role of open source and open thinking in research.
Last week DNA Digest took a trip out of the Wayra hub to hear an expert panel discuss the role and future of patenting in biomedical research. The Talkscience: Patently Obvious? talk and discussion was part of the British Library‘s Science events and was chaired by Professor Jackie Hunter (Chief Executive of the BBSRC) with guest speakers, Professor Alan Ashworth (Institute of Cancer Research), Dr Nick Bourne (Cardiff University) and Dr Berwyn Clarke (Biomedical Entrepreneur). The evening raised a number of interesting issues surrounding patenting in biomedical research but overall the opinions presented were rather moderate. It seemed that everyone was in agreement that there was no clear answer when it comes to patenting, particularly given the nature of biomedical research. Although the panel agreed that patents could hinder research developments, for example by stifling the ability to analyse our own DNA (Professor Ashworth), they could not provide an alternative method through which to fund the research and protect commercial interests. Ultimately, to scrap patents makes research involving hundreds of millions of pounds far too financially risky, particularly, as highlighted by Dr Bourne, when much of the future of the UK is based on a science or knowledge based economy. […]