Monthly Archives: August 2016

“We are converging on a time when the whole world could become a big clinical trial”

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With a recent lawsuit drawing attention to inaccuracies in heart rate data gathered by Fitbits, do wearable health tracking devices have a place in clinical research? CRI Director Sam Volchenboum and Daphne Kis, writing in TechCrunch, look at both sides of the issue and advocate for a path forward that prioritizes both accuracy and usability.

Wearables and other forms of real-time tracking can transform large-scale studies of disease, giving researchers data that is more extensive and more accurate than what patients are able to remember weeks or months later. For example, this UChicago study of IBD patients uses Fitbits to track physical activity, allowing reseachers to find patterns and identify potential symptom triggers. But as Volchenboum and Kis note, “If we want better devices, we must do a better job of telling manufacturers what kinds of measurements and outputs we need. … Standards and data provenance aren’t sexy, but they are absolutely essential to any compelling future vision of clinical research.”

Science Life explores significance of CRI-enabled zebrafish research

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A story today in Science Life highlights the research on zebrafish antigen processing genes, conducted in part by the CRI Bioinformatics Core (read about our contribution here), that was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the article to hear from the study’s lead author Sean McConnell, PhD, of the Department of Pediatrics about why these new discoveries are so exciting and how research on zebrafish may translate to advances in our understanding of the human immune system.

CRI Bioinformatics Core research published in PNAS

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A new publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights findings about novel antigen processing and presentation genes in zebrafish. This newly identified genetic diversity, discovered by de novo assembly, represents the most extensive diversity yet seen in the antigen processing genes of any species and fills in previously unrecognized knowledge gaps about the evolution of vertebrate adaptive immunity.

This research was enabled in part by our Bioinformatics Core. CRI Director of Bioinformatics Jorge Andrade, PhD, and Bioinformatician Kyle Hernandez, PhD, are co-authors on the paper. They produced the de novo assembly of the genome of a clonal line of zebrafish, using the CRI’s computing infrastructure for this complex data- and memory-intensive task. They then used many tools to determine which de novo scaffolds aligned near the chromosomal region being studied and aggregated these scaffolds to orient and order them across the region.

Read the full paper here, and see more publications enabled by the CRI here.