The Kennedy Institute generates a wide variety of data with an increasingly diverse range of sizes. The Research Informatics team provides support and capabilities to ensure that the data are captured, made available to our researchers, and shared with the research community in integrated ways to support discovery and translational science.
Effective and compliant end-to-end data management solutions, ranging from patient cohort identification, sample collection to molecular and phenotypic analysis and hypothesis generation, are routinely supported by the team. This includes appropriate pseudonymisation approaches for clinical metadata, effective identifier systems for samples and processes, and approaches for effective data sharing with the UK’s national health service (NHS) and industry.
To support these data lifecycles, we help ensure standards compliant definitions of the data, as well as their validation and curation. This means that the Institute’s data adhere to FAIR sharing wherever possible, making it easier for the scientific community to find and reuse our outputs.
Recent examples of these capabilities support by the team include the multi-disciplinary COMBAT human blood atlas for COVID-19 [Cell ref], Cartography - a multi-year collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals developing a single-cell atlas across multiple immune mediated diseases, and Legacy – an international project to better understand the response of lymph nodes to ‘flu vaccination.
Building upon the Research Computing capabilities of the Institute, we use software platforms such as REDCap and tranSMART to capture clinical metadata and enable integration with molecular datasets. These platforms provide controlled access to data to our researchers both in terms of web interfaces to allow exploration and hypothesis generation, and also direct integration with computational workflows and pipelines.
No two projects are the same, so we also develop bespoke modifications and additions to existing platforms as well as novel solutions to support our researchers’ needs. Examples include the incorporation of meteorological data in real time into REDCap to support longitudinal clinical studies involving hand pain and a research publication tracking application to support the recent REF 2021 exercise.