• US research institute looks to make breakthroughs through research collaboration

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US research institute looks to make breakthroughs through research collaboration

May 04 2012

US researchers are looking to make laboratory breakthroughs by collaborating previous work in a database, allowing scientists to establish links between certain neurological conditions.

Queen’s University’s High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory  houses a super computer which has the capabilities of storing information on an unprecedented scale. Dr Ken Evans, executive director of what’s known as Brain-CODE (Centre for Ontario Data Exploration) has initiated the scheme, which will compile previous research as well as regularity compliance and other information to create a huge research database.

Dr Evans said that these regulations are helping to push laboratory research in the right direction, and the new database will allow researchers to use what regulation is in place to fuel their research projects.

He said: “There are reasons those regulations are put into place. The pharmaceutical companies are forced to follow very rigourous rules about things. The good thing about that is it produces really good science.

“This is the only computing facility in the country that was built according to those rules.”

Collating data could lead to significant breakthroughs, and it is a process that has been repeated around the world in several different disciplines. Cancer has been a focal point of collaborative research, with databases of studies popping up around the world in an attempt to further understanding and prompt findings through shared knowledge.

This was something the Ontario researchers looked to achieve. Dr Evans said:  “The idea was to create a database with a central portal that could be accessed by any of the researchers that are working with the Ontario Brain Institute.”

Collating results from research into conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,  epilepsy, autism, addiction and depression could point to common connections. It will also show which biological conditions are specific to one  illness over another, which will help to narrow down the results that are being collected.

Posted by Ben Evans 

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