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Informatics Tools (Data Science Tools) for Infectious, Immune, and Allergic Research


Fast Track proposals will be accepted. Direct to Phase II will be accepted. Number of anticipated awards: 1-3 Budget (total costs): Phase I: $300,000 for up to 1 year; Phase II: $1,000,000 for up to 3 years. Background Data intense infectious, immune, and allergic basic and clinical research projects are generating unprecedented amounts of complex and diverse data sets and beginning to accelerate research in infectious, immune, and allergic diseases ranging from basic understanding of the pathogen and disease to developing new and improved therapeutic interventions and diagnostics and identifying precise, molecular signatures for clinical application. Yet, increasing the use and re- use of these diverse and complex data sets by basic and clinical scientists studying infectious, immune and allergic diseases remains challenging. Challenges include the availability of innovative, user focused data ready environments that co- locates data and computational tools for managing, sharing, accessing, integrating, visualizing and analyzing diverse and complex data sets generated or collected across NIAID extramural and intramural projects from multiple sources and platforms. Critical to this data ready environment is the continuous development, enhancement and adaptation of informatic tools (machine learning algorithms, computational and software tools, and mathematical modeling methods) which will extract knowledge from these data sets and drive discovery. This project builds up NIAID’s significant investment in bioinformatics capacity and data science and most recent NIAID’s data science activities that are directed to enhancing a data ready environment and leveraging data science activities also across NIH. Examples include piloting a NIAID Data Ecosystem Prototype, enhancing the interoperability of currently supported NIAID data repositories, participating with other ICs in a trans-NIH FOA on Database Repositories that has the potential to increase interoperability across NIH data repositories and trans-NIH FOA focused on developing training modules for rigor and reproducibility of data, key to equipping basic and clinical scientists with skills for generating high quality reproducible data sets. Project Goals The project goal is to support the development, enhancement or adaptation of innovative, robust, user focused informatic tools (machine learning algorithms, computational and software tools, and mathematical modeling methods) for use in infectious, immune, and allergic diseases basic and clinical research to improve the management, visualization, integration and analysisof large, complex and diverse data sets from multiple sources, platforms and environments including publicly available data repositories. Integrative analysis of data sets (genomic and other omics data, clinical as EHR and clinical trial, surveillance, social, environmental, etc.) and performing advanced and predictive analytics are powerful approaches to begin to extract knowledge from data sets that can catalyze discovery in basic and clinical research and improve the development of therapeutic interventions. Development of user-focused tools that meet the informatic needs of the infectious, immune, and allergic diseases basic and clinical research community is of high priority. Therefore, it is expected that user focused documentation as user guides, SOPs, and training materials also be developed along with the informatics tool for broad use beyond the developer. Phase I activities: • Provide an overall product development plan for the informatic tool and identify the specific set of milestones proposed in this application related to the overall product development plan. • Provide justification for the development, adaptation or enhancement of this specific informatic tool in light of the currently available informatic tools. • Develop, significantly enhance, modify, improve, or adapt existing informatic tools for visualization and integrative analysis of multi-scale data from multiple sources and platforms including publicly available data repositories for infectious, immune and allergic diseases research. • Develop, significantly enhance, modify, improve, or adapt existing informatic methods for systems level modeling of multiple scale diverse data sets and from multiple sources. • Develop an (early) prototype for the informatics tool, perform alpha testing, and address issues from testing and evaluate with appropriate user community to solicit user feedback. Describe the potential user(s) communities and provide two relevant use cases. Phase II activities: • Further development, enhancement, adaptation, and optimization of the prototype informatic tool. • Beta test the informatic tool with the appropriate user communities and use cases, demonstrating the usability of the tool by the infectious, immune or allergic community. • Document and implement feedback, address issues and feedback, modify the informatic tool, if appropriate, and finalize the prototype for the informatics tool • Develop user focused documentation, user guides, SOPs and training materials This SBIR contract topic will not support: • Projects proposing significant data generation and analysis for validation and testing of informatics tool. • Projects developing wet-laboratory, experimental methods, research or technologies • Projects that are not focused on developing informatic tools directly applicable to infectious, immune or allergic basic and clinical research.
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