The NeuroDevNet Neuroinformatics Core

Elodie Portales-Casamar (Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada), Alan Evans (Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada), Wyeth W. Wasserman (Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada), Paul Pavlidis (Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

We describe activities supporting neuroinformatics activities in a large Canadian research network focused on neurodevelopmental disorders, “NeuroDevNet”. NeuroDevNet is a Canadian initiative, funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence, devoted to the study of brain development with the goal to translate this knowledge into improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. NeuroDevNet includes three major projects involving neuroscientists across Canada, focused on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The research includes human brain imaging, genetics, behavioural phenotyping, clinical data and parallel efforts in animal models, producing a diverse range of informatics challenges and opportunities for integration.

The mission of the NeuroDevNet Neuroinformatics Core is to serve the informatics needs of the NeuroDevNet network, and perform informatics-based research to identify relationships among neurodevelopmental disorders. We are implementing informatics systems and software to allow researchers to manage data and information across sites. This involves the installation of web-based resources accessible from multiple locations as well as the implementation of standards for data representation. These resources allow NeuroDevNet groups to share data and reuse tools more easily and aid in wider dissemination of data and results. We provide resources in terms of personnel and infrastructure, work with project-specific informaticians in technology evaluation and software development practices, and coordinate efforts across sites. Our internal website includes a clearinghouse which will aggregates information on NeuroDevNet projects, including meta-data, tools and data, as well as dissemination of experimental protocols and information on reagents. We provide training to NeuroDevNet members in the use of informatics technologies in order to improve the informatics competence of NeuroDevNet researchers and build skills applicable throughout their careers. The Neuroinformatics Core will also engage in research to develop and apply informatics resources for the analysis of data coming from the demonstration projects. A major goal is to build on existing and new knowledge emerging from the network to increase our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders and the relationships among them at the genetic and phenotypic level.

Preferred presentation format: Poster
Topic: General neuroinformatics

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