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Content about biology

April 23, 2014

Researchers are using PRACE supercomputing resources to tackle the seasonal flu bug. By modeling the process through which viruses insert their genetic material into our cells, they hope to further development of vaccines.

April 9, 2014

With global data output growing rapidly, it is vital that researchers come together to build the social and technical bridges required to enable open sharing of research data. The organization charged with achieving this is the Research Data Alliance (RDA), which recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Last month, the RDA held a plenary meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The 497 attendees at the event engaged in discussion on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the role of publishers and persistent identifiers to heritage data and legal interoperability. Data applications discussed also included geospatial information, marine observation, food production, and urban quality of life indicators.

February 26, 2014

Last week, representatives of major research institutions and leading IT companies came to CERN for a data analytics workshop organized by CERN openlab.

February 12, 2014

Karlheinz Meier, one of the three co-directors of Europe’s Human Brain Project, will deliver a keynote talk at this summer's ISC'14 event in Leipzig, Germany.

Funded by the European Commission, the Human Brain Project is an ambitious endeavor, with the intention of greatly advancing the understanding of the human brain using cutting-edge computer technologies.

January 29, 2014

The research is being led by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Click for full size image. Image courtesy CSIRO. © Copyright CSIRO Australia, January 2014.

January 29, 2014

Keith Cover of VU University Medical Centre explains how the computing power of the grid has been used to process thousands of MRI scans from patients with Alzheimer’s, opening the way to better evaluation of biomarkers for this disease in the future.

Cover and his team used open-source software to run analyses of brain imaging scans, in order to track volume changes caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Now the power of the grid has been used to test the accuracy of several software packages on a massive scale.

January 15, 2014

iSGTW recently interviewed Ewan Birney, associate director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), regarding his keynote talk at the EUDAT 2nd Conference. In this interview, Birney raised the exciting prospect of using DNA as an organic data storage device. But could DNA storage really replace tapes and hard disks for long-term preservation of data? Charles Harvey investigates… 

November 20, 2013

Scientists from across the globe met in Switzerland last month for the launch of the Human Brain Project. However, building a computer to simulate the human brain is no easy task: in each cubic millimeter of brain tissue there are around 100,000 neurons, and each one makes contact with around 10,000 other neurons. Markus Diesmann, from Germany’s Jülich Research Centre, provides insight into the complexities surrounding this epic undertaking. He speaks about his work on simulating a circuit of the whole-brain network and discusses how specialized software can help represent the neurons and synapses of the full circuit. 

November 13, 2013

Video courtesy W.E. Sellers, et al. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078733.s010)

October 30, 2013

This week, iSGTW has been at the EUDAT Second Conference in Rome, Italy. EUDAT seeks to support a collaborative data infrastructure which will allow researchers to share data within and between communities and enable them to carry out their research effectively. Read our exclusive interviews with two of the events' most exciting speakers.

October 23, 2013

The EUBrazilOpenBio project has published a new joint action plan, outlining it's vision for increased cooperation to tackle biodiversity loss. The document marks an important step towards understanding how to address biodiversity challenges more effectively by creating a joint data and cloud infrastructure for Brazil and Europe. 

October 23, 2013

Liver fibrosis, a  kind of scarring of the liver's tissue, is usually diagnosed with a biopsy – an invasive surgical procedure to remove liver cells for lab testing. However, physicist Olivier Beuf believes that we can do better and has put together a team to develop an imaging technique that can be used in a clinical examination.

Using the European Grid Infrastructure, he and his team have developed a 3D map showing how fibrosis affects blood flow in a diseased liver. These 3D maps could provide a reliable alternative to the usual biopsy procedure and have the potential to improve patients' well-being, as well as our understanding of liver disease.

October 9, 2013

Ewan Birney, associate director of the European Bioinformatics Institute, says that biology has now transformed to become a 'big-data science'. Ahead of his keynote talk at this month’s EUDAT 2nd conference, he explains that the field faces both what he terms 'blue-' and 'white-collar problems' in handling this data deluge.

Plus, could DNA really be the future of data storage? Birney believes it could be. "DNA is remarkable," he says. "Just one gram of DNA can store about a petabyte’s worth of data… it's estimated that you could put the whole internet into the size of a van!"

October 2, 2013

Research at CERN featured prominently in discussion at ISC Big Data ’13, which was held last week in Heidelberg, Germany. The event focused on the future of handling big data, as well as big data as a crossroads where high-performance computing and enterprise meet.

September 25, 2013

With the 2nd EUDAT conference now just one month away, iSGTW speaks in depth to Richard Frackowiak, who will be giving the event’s opening keynote speech. Frackowiak is heavily involved in the EU's flagship Human Brain Project. He discusses the implications of this project for the future of computing and explains how big data is revolutionizing medicine.

September 11, 2013

Today, 88% of fish stocks in the European Union are fished beyond their maximum sustainable yield, which has led to a steady decline in average fish size over the past 20 years.

Discover how the iMarine initiative is establishing a vital data infrastructure to help facilitate research in this field and improve fisheries management.

 

July 24, 2013

A beginner's guide to SAXS. Video courtesy WeNMR/Spronk 3D.

July 17, 2013

'Old MacDonald had a farm, I/O, I/O, I/O...'

Could this really be the children's nursery rhyme of the future? If the growth of big data in Australian farming is anything to go by, it could be!

CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, is sowing the seeds of innovation by helping farmers in the country to take advantage of cutting-edge smart-farming technologies enabled by next-generation broadband networks.

July 3, 2013

When tapeworms of the species Ligula intestinalis infect fish, the consequences are gory. The parasites grow to fill the host's body cavity, leading to behavioral changes and high mortality rates. Not only is it bad news for the fish themselves, but it's also a major problem for the fish farming industry, which is why scientists keep an eye on where the parasites live and how their geographical distribution evolves. Read this recent EGI.eu case study to find out how grid computing has come to the rescue in enabling scientists to better trace the tapeworms infecting Northern African fish back to Europe.

June 19, 2013

Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s next funding cycle, is set to launch in January 2014. With less than a year to go, you may be wondering: what is Horizon 2020? What makes it different to the frameworks that preceded it? And what are the implications, both for the e-infrastructure projects themselves and the researchers who benefit from them? e-Science Briefing’s Stefan Janusz gives an overview of the road ahead...

June 5, 2013

Rossen Apostolov will be discussing some of the lessons learned from the ScalaLife project at ISC'13 in Leipzig next month. Since 2011, the EU-funded ScalaLife project has been working to help enhance the models used by life scientists.

May 1, 2013

Catherine Gater reports from the 5th CAPRI Evaluation Meeting in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The event focused on assessing and improving the performance of docking methods in predicting the 3D structure of protein complexes.

April 24, 2013

BioVeL is a European virtual e-laboratory that supports research on biodiversity issues using large amounts of data from cross-disciplinary sources. 

April 24, 2013

A chemical treatment that turns whole organs transparent, offers instant advances in the field of ‘connectomics’ — the push to map the brain’s wiring. Read about CLARITY, devised by Karl Deisseroth and his team at Stanford University in California, US.

April 10, 2013

The University of Texas at Austin and TACC competed against the top supercomputing centers and universities to claim one of the most advanced systems in the world — and won. The prize, an estimated $50 million-plus investment over a four-year period.