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2016 Press Releases

Data science to unlock major health discoveries

11 Jan 2016
Pictured (l-r): Professor Jan-Eric Litton, Managing Director of BBMRI-ERIC; Dr. Michael B. Murphy, President, UCC; Seán Kelly MEP and Professor Barry O'Sullivan, Director, Insight UCC and event organiser.

Data science is poised to unlock major health discoveries in Ireland and Europe, according to the director of Insight at University College Cork. 

Professor Barry O'Sullivan commented: "A biobanking capacity in Ireland linked to a European infrastructure, underpinned by good data analytics and biomedical science, holds enormous potential for the European health research effort." 

Professor O'Sullivan was speaking ahead of a seminar on data science, health research and bio-banking at UCC on January 7.The Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Europe’s bio-banking infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC hosted a seminar entitled The Input of BioMolecular Biobanking to Data Analytics and Medical Research.

A biobank is any facility that stores biological samples for use in medical research. There are currently more than forty biobanks in Ireland. The patient data that accompanies stored samples is critical to its research value. There is increasing collaboration between the clinical research and data research communities in storing, analysing and sharing large health datasets for research purposes.

The seminar was the first Irish showcase of an EU research infrastructure like BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure), and brought representatives from biobanking, industry, academia, law and data analytics together to discuss the contributions of their respective sectors to the improvement of healthcare, from prevention to treatment and drug development.“By working together clinical researchers and data scientists will break new ground in disease therapy and public health," Professor O’Sullivan said.

The event also highlighted the key role that biobanks play in providing resources for health research, and it demonstrated how Ireland could benefit from participating in one of the largest health infrastructures in Europe, BBMRI-ERIC. The seminar examined how applying data science to this kind of health data is yielding exciting results.

“Ireland’s biobank network, as well as its molecular medicine research, are key European components and their contribution to BBMRI-ERIC will be a very important part of our ongoing work,” said Professor Jan-Eric Litton, BBMRI-ERIC Director General.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF