NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The National Institutes of Health today named the winner of its Open Science Prize competition, selecting a prototype online system for tracking the spread of global pathogens to receiving funding for its further development.
The platform, which was built by a team led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center investigator Trevor Bedford and the University of Basel's Richard Neher, is designed to use viral genome data to act as an integrated framework for real-time molecular epidemiology and evolutionary analysis of emerging epidemics.
The team will receive $230,000 to fully develop the prototype, the NIH said.
According to the scientists, the framework includes an online visualization platform — which will be available at www.nextstrain.org — that is continually updated with data pooled from across research groups, synthesizing disparate datasets and promoting open science in the face of public health crises.
"Nextstrain.org aims to synthesize publicly available pathogen genomic data to arrive at an understanding of epidemic spread not available through traditional surveillance systems," Bedford said in a statement.
The Open Science competition was launched in late 2015 by the NIH in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.