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New software being developed to help answer complex biological questions

A Norwich Research Park translational grant will help in the development of a multi-functional data integration software tool to improve metadata and network analysis efficiency.

This novel software will provide a comprehensive systems biology platform for the integration of diverse datasets. The bespoke Omix Navigator will be available from spring 2016.

In bioscience, thousands of new biological datasets and resources are published on an annual basis. Evaluation and integrated work with these systematic resources are difficult as many of the datasets are stored in different formats. Around 70 per cent of data-driven projects now involve managing data for integration, transforming, and cleansing even before the actual analysis starts.

Integration of diverse data types such as disease, genomic, proteomic or transcriptomic datasets is an extremely time and resource consuming. Omics-specific tools, like Galaxy, ELM, Expasy are efficient in focusing on one data type but cannot help the users to work on the necessary, multi-scale level and combine different omics datasets.

For metadata analysis, it is necessary to provide tools that enable an all-in-one biological system. OmiX Navigator, works as a cloud-based web service, will include advanced visualisation, multi-layered databases, data integration and evaluation solutions, as well as network analytical tools and workflow management platforms.

Tamás Korcsmáros

Tamás Korcsmáros

Project Lead Tamás Korcsmáros, Computational Biology Fellow at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) and Research Leader at IFR, said: “Researchers with wet lab backgrounds have different biological questions, but in most cases, the computational methods to help investigating a scientific problem and to guide the experiments are very similar.

“However, the available software solutions do not allow to the straight-forward analysis of complex biological questions, such as host-pathogen interactions, systems level changes between different livestock trait and genome-wide analysis of inflammatory diseases in human.

“With Omix Navigator, we will provide an easy-to-use, plug & play like software for colleagues to facilitate systems biology related projects. I am very excited to work on this project with the excellent computational biologist colleagues at TGAC and wet lab researchers at IFR to develop the Omix Navigator in the Norwich Research Park.”

The OmiX Navigator prototype will be tailored to its target markets including research institutions, Contract Research Organisations (CROs) and SMEs in the biotech sector; available from March 2016.

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