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Translational tidbits

Big drive for big data

In the last month, the NIH has pledged almost $100 million for big data programs aimed at making information usable and accessible to the wider research community and to create a first-of-its-kind database of human cellular responses. The next hurdle will be training and convincing researchers to use the resource.

The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative that was launched last December will receive an initial investment of almost $32 million in 2014 to set up 12 centers, each tasked with solving different challenges related to data collection, storage, analysis, interpretation and sharing. The initiative is expected to receive funding of up to $656 million by 2020.

The goal is to make it easier for scientists to search across and integrate the large amount of data created by the research community. The money will support development of new software, tools and training programs to help scientists capitalize on results of imaging, genomic, epidemiological and other kinds of studies that generate large amounts of biomedical information.

In addition, the NIH has committed over $64 million to create a database of human cellular responses to drugs and genetic factors. The funding follows a three-year pilot phase and will go to six research labs

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