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Microsoft Research Awards More than $850K to GWAS Software Development Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Microsoft Research yesterday said it has awarded more than $850,000 to six research projects under its “Computational Challenges of Genome Wide Association Studies" program.
The six projects were selected from 40 proposals submitted from 39 academic institutions worldwide. The goal of the program is to encourage “the development of computer-science solutions to improve data access, standardization, visualization and tools to help scientists study the human genome,” Kristin Tolle, program manager for biomedical computing on the External Research & Programs team at Microsoft Research, said in a statement.
Funded projects include: 
  • "PGRx: An Interactive Software System for Integrating Clinical Genotyping with Prescription Drug Safety Assurance," led by Michael Kane and John Springer at Purdue University. The project aims to develop a software system to predict and prevent adverse drug responses, and to provide training for physicians and pharmacists to better understand pharmacogenomics.
  • "A Universal Data Format for Genotype Microarrays," led by John Pearson at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Pearson plans to develop a data format that would “accommodate multiple vendor platforms into a single file and software library.”
  • "Genome Wide Association Study of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Finland," led by Bryan Traynor at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The goal of this project is to discover genes that are relevant to development of ALS by studying 489 Finnish ALS cases. 
  • "Pathway-Based Association: A New Paradigm for Genome Wide Association Studies," led by Trey Ideker and Richard Karp in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. Ideker and Karp plan to develop computational tools “that help explain linkages between signaling, regulatory and metabolic pathways to the genes that are associated with a disorder.”
  • "Phenotypic Pipeline for Genome-wide Association Studies," led by George Hripcsak of Columbia University. This project aims to develop informatics methods to convert raw health records data into “usable research information.”
  • "Data Quality Management for Model Improvement in GWAS," led by Raul Ruggia and Hugo Naya of the University of the Republic of Uruguay, the Pasteur Institute University of the Republic of Uruguay, and the Pasteur Institute at Montevideo. The goal of the project is to develop a data-quality management environment that will allow users to define and evaluate “biological-oriented data-quality properties.”

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