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Nih-Built Toolset Helps Researchers Share and Compare Data

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Logo of the National Institutes of Health.

The National Institutes of Health has helped to develop the Biomedical Research Informatics Computing System, which provides access to data on a broad array of medical conditions to scientists from a variety of fields.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What started as an effort to build a searchable database for research into traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has grown into something much more significant.

Matthew McAuliffe, chief of NIH's Biomedical Imaging Research Services Section, says the agency was initially approached by the Army's Medical Research and Material Command for help in developing a research database for TBI, but the agency saw an opportunity for something more ambitious. "We said, 'OK, let's take a step back," McAuliffe says. "Let's build a modular system that we can use for TBI, but we'll keep it modular, generic, and easily instantiated."

The result is the Biomedical Research Informatics Computing System (BRICS), which offers scientists from different fields of research the ability to access a common set of data management tools that can be used to share results and discovers.

At the core of BRICS is data standardization, which makes it easier to compile and search large databases of research from diverse fields.

The toolset now forms the basis of the U.S. Department of Defense's Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research project, as well as a Parkinson's Disease biomarker program for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Eye Institute's eyeGene project.

From Government Computer News
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