By Matthew Dublin
Bioinformatics developers at the Ohio State University Medical Center began development last year on a cloud resource to help researchers around the world access and analyze biomedical data called the Translational Research Informatics and Data management grid (TRIAD).
The project has been so successful that TRIAD's developers are now establishing a tech support center at OSU to help facilitate the growing demand.
Philip Payne, chair of the department of biomedical informatics at the OSU Medical Center, and his colleagues began work on TRIAD a year ago with support from the National Institutes of Health. The team was recently awarded an additional $300,000 to complete the project and facilitate its implementation at other academic institutes.
"With the current technology, a researcher might dedicate more than 100 hours to connect the dots between a set of tissue samples, the individual medical histories for the patients who provided those tissues, and then analyzing the group as a whole. With the TRIAD platform, researchers can now execute this type of search and analysis in minutes," said Payne. "When it comes to biomedical research, you have the digital equivalent of the Tower of Babel. One piece is written in French. And another is written in Russian. And maybe a third component is in Chinese…TRIAD acts like the ultimate interpreter between all the different ‘languages’ that biomedical data comes in so that researchers spend time figuring out how the information could improve the way we treat a disease rather than spend time finding and translating various data sets."
TRIAD is built using the same “framework” of the caGRID, the grid framework the Ohio State developed for the National Cancer Institute back in 2005. TRIAD works by pulling disparate data sets into a cloud where it’s converted into a language that a specific end user’s analytics software can utilize. The new cloud is also compatible with popular research databases including
REDcap and I2B2.
So far, 20 research institutes have adopted TRIAD and it's expected that the number will increase due to the fact that its open source, is collaboratively designed, and boast lots of technical documentation and software components.