Using millions of gigs of data to improve human health

February 20, 2013

With biomedical scientists struggling to collect and analyze millions of gigabytes of data in their efforts to improve human health, the National Institutes of Health has launched a $700 million project to develop a common data-sharing framework and start training future scientists to tap that gold mine of information. That's the topic of a story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Britt E. Erickson, C&EN senior editor, explains that biomedical researchers are beginning to tap into a gold mine of nontraditional sources of data to unravel some of the complexities of human diseases. That's especially true for common diseases for which there is significant interplay between genetic variants and environmental stressors. But there is so much data being generated from so many different disciplines that it is a challenge to integrate it all.

The story describes a plan from the NIH, called Big Data to Knowledge, to bring all of the data together into one common data-sharing framework that is easily accessible by researchers. Universities will train students in data sciences so that they can better access and process the data. The integration of all of the data will allow for improved efficiency in research to help treat and cure some of the world's diseases, the story states.

Explore further: London Olympics anti-doping labs set for first-of-a-kind repurposing

More information: Article: Drowning in Data, Chemical & Engineering News.

Related Stories

A birth control pill for men? When?

September 26, 2012

When will men have their own birth control pill? Scientists have been predicting the debut of a male pill within 5 years for the last 30 years. The factors accounting for that delay—and new optimism that a male pill will ...

Forensic science on trial

September 12, 2012

The key player in a movement challenging improper use of DNA testing and other elements of forensic science is the topic of a compelling cover story in this week's edition of Chemical & Engineering News. The story in the ...

The pros and cons of 'ecolabels' in cleaning products

January 30, 2013

The environmental certification seals, preferred ingredient lists and consumer product guides appearing on cleaning products in the United States and abroad are the topic of the cover story in Chemical & Engineering News. ...

The '$1,000 genome' may cost $100,000 to understand

May 11, 2011

Advances in technology have almost lifted the curtain on the long-awaited era of the "$1,000 genome" — a time when all the genes that make up a person can be deciphered for about that amount – compared to nearly ...

Recommended for you

Science: Public interest high, literacy stable

October 28, 2016

While public interest in science continues to grow, the level of U.S. scientific literacy remains largely unchanged, according to a survey by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.