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Visualising relationships between diseases, biological pathways and genes

Posted on 13/12/2018

Healthcare company GSK has benefitted from access to the Hartree® Centre’s world-class computing expertise and facilities.

Our increasing understanding of the role that an individual’s genetic code can play in their susceptibility or response to disease is bringing new challenges and opportunities for the development of more effective treatments. There are vast quantities of healthcare data available, for example in biomedical research publications, which could hold the answer to many questions about how genes and diseases interact, but unlocking this data requires a “big picture” approach.

Global healthcare company GSK has partnered with the Hartree® Centre to take on this data mining challenge, using the centre’s intense computing expertise to identify connections between different genes and diseases.

Testing new data clustering and visualisation techniques

GSK has developed a piece of highly specialised software that can analyse information from millions of biomedical research publications with the aim of identifying correlations and measuring the frequency at which they occur. This allows them to create “networks” to visualise the relationships between diseases, biological pathways and genes.

By partnering with the Hartree Centre GSK was able to test new data clustering and visualisation techniques, focussing in on a specific, currently incurable disease. They were also able to explore several known drug targets with a potential for application to other diseases.

Backed by over £170 million of government funding and significant strategic partnerships​ with organisations such as IBM and Atos​, the Hartree Centre is home to some of the most technically advanced high performance computing, data analytics, machine learning technologies and experts in the UK.  Hartree provided GSK with the ability to analyse the “network” as a whole by data objective methods, rather than in parts, which enabled GSK scientists to extract valuable insights and identify subtleties in the connections between the genes and biological pathways.

You can find our more about the collaboration between GSK and the Hartree Centre in this STFC case study.

Learn how you could benefit from access to STFC science facilities

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) centres, such as the Hartree Centre, work with industry and the research community – from early stage SMEs to international corporations – to address real life challenges and accelerate the adoption of high performance technologies, delivering transformative gains in performance, productivity and time to market.

STFC’s Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme is designed to help companies gain access to advanced analytical technologies, expertise and capabilities such as those at the Hartree Centre. B4I gives industries access to unique laboratories and the ability to engage with world class researchers and innovation specialists.

STFC B4I Life Sciences Event, 26 March 2019

STFC and Diamond Light Source are hosting a free event on 26th March at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL) to highlight how B4I support can specifically meet the needs of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

Taking part in this event will give you the chance to:

  • find out more about B4I funding opportunities for life sciences companies
  • explore the capabilities of world-class scientific research facilities to address complex challenges in life sciences
  • discover how other companies have benefited from using the B4I partner facilities to advance their own R&D challenges
  • network with fellow peers
  • participate in a guided tour of the facilities, to see first-hand the capabilities available and identify R&D opportunities for your company

You can view the programme and book your place here.

This event is being hosted at the Visitor’s Centre, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL), Harwell Campus, Didcot, OX11 0QX.

Note: Registration will close at midnight on 17th March 2019.

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