Informatics experts at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded close to $3 million as part of a five-year cooperative agreement to launch the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H).
The collaborative initiative is part of a $25 million grant funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is the prime recipient of the grant.
The award supports efforts to integrate informatics activities across the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, a network of more than 50 medical research institutions, and to provide collaborative clinical and translational research infrastructure.
“Advances in data science are transforming how we conduct biomedical research in both translational and clinical fields. The key is to deliver relevant and up-to-date, ideally real-time, information to researchers in a more efficient way, given the sheer amount of data being produced every day,” describes Chunlei Wu, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative structural and computational biology at TSRI and the site principal investigator (PI) for TSRI on this grant.
The newly created center will be led by researchers from OHSU, Northwestern University, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Sage Bionetworks, together with TSRI, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Iowa and The Jackson Laboratory.
“The goal is to unlock the amazing wealth of technologies and innovation located within each individual CTSA member institution, and to create cohesive communities of practice founded on the fundamental premise that team science, data sharing, and collaborative innovation can advance patient care,” describes Melissa Haendel, Ph.D., associate professor of OHSU and the leading PI on this grant.
The CD2H will have several priorities to support a vibrant and evolving informatics ecosystem across the CTSA consortium. These include support and enhancement of a collaborative informatics community; promotion of software standards for interoperability; growth of collaborative innovation across informatics tools, methods, and processes; data science education for CTSA program researchers; and development of novel methods and tools for the evaluation of the impact of these activities to enhance health care through data and informatics.
Wu and his team at TSRI will be tasked with building the high-performance and scalable data access infrastructure and defining community best practice for data processing and software implementations. Wu will also work together with Ali Torkamani, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative structural and computational biology at TSRI and director of genomics of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), to ensure the data produced at local CTSA hubs are accessible in a coherent way by other CTSA hubs, as well as by the general research community.
“As a CTSA hub that has been emphasizing genomic and digital sensor bioinformatics, we are thrilled to help pave the data-to-health path with OHSU and a remarkable network of collaborators,” says Eric Topol, M.D., professor of molecular medicine at TSRI, who also directs STSI, which is supported in part by NCATS and is a member of the CTSA consortium (Grant UL1 TR001114).