Built for Science: Data Sharing in Emerging Infectious Disease Research
Emerging infectious diseases rapidly rise to prevalence and spread quickly across a population. In order to minimize their impact on public health, scientists must reach across geographical and organizational boundaries to share data that will help the global research community understand, contain, and ultimately cure aggressive infectious diseases. This type of large scale collaboration requires a robust research platform to centralize data and facilitate the shared generation of insight.
LabKey is helping teams around the globe combat emerging infectious diseases by providing a web-based platform to help overcome key collaboration challenges, including:
Integrating Heterogeneous Data
Scientists, public health officials, and medical professionals must be able to collect and integrate data from multiple sources (clinics, labs, etc.) in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of an emerging infectious disease. By housing data in one centralized location, researchers and collaborators can improve pathogen tracking and disease surveillance.
LabKey Server facilitates the collection and integration of data from a variety of sources by providing:
- Specialized import tools to integrate data from a variety of immunoassay types, including ELISA/ELISpot, luminex and flow cytometry
- Demographic datasets to capture metadata about individuals within a population
- A study framework that connects demographic, clinical, and analytical data in order to monitor the disease and/or treatment status of individuals over time
Creating an Adaptable Database
During the early stages of a disease outbreak data is collected rapidly and abundantly. As the scientific community’s understanding of a disease increases, the data collection needs of researchers will shift as they determine which pieces of information are most valuable. The central data management system used by infectious disease researchers must provide both high levels of flexibility and structure in order to keep up with these broad and evolving data needs.
LabKey Server provides a highly flexible environment for data capture, allowing teams to evolve their research environment using:
- A configurable and customizable user interface
- Powerful query tools to merge and present data
- APIs to import data from a wide variety of external sources and formats
Real-Time Data Sharing
In recent years, researchers working in the field of emerging infectious disease have begun to forgo traditional data publishing processes during times of a public health crisis, in favor of real-time data sharing. Real-time sharing of research observations and analytical data is helping accelerate the pace of understanding and development of treatments for aggressive infectious diseases.
LabKey Server facilitates real-time data sharing by providing:
- Study publication tools that allow research teams to curate and publish public-facing datasets without compromising the security of their original data
- Dynamic or static reports and visualizations to quickly summarize data for collaborators
- Easy export of data to common research formats for ancillary investigation
The laboratory of David O’Connor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been at the forefront of Zika virus research since the disease’s 2015-2016 outbreak in the Americas. The laboratory conducts studies with non-human primates to establish the natural history of infection and create a model that can be used to target future vaccine development. A key component of the lab’s work is the usage of the LabKey Server platform for real-time open data sharing of zika virus data with researchers worldwide and aggregation of diverse types of data that have been contributed by a large group of researchers into a central place.
In this presentation Michael Graham of the O’Connor lab shares how their team partnered with LabKey to provide open access to data during this public health emergency. Watch presentation >