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NIA Seeks Applications for Alzheimer's Disease Data Storage Site

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced that it will soon begin accepting applications from institutions interested in assuming responsibility for the National Institute on Aging Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS) while also expanding its scope.

The site is currently located at the University of Pennsylvania, but could move if the NIA renews the NIAGADS' funding with different institute. 

The NIAGADS was established in 2006 to act as a research resource for the NIA's Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Initiative — archiving, processing, and distributing genetic, phenotypic, and other data generated by the initiative, as well as publicly releasing study results in accordance with the agency's data-sharing policy. 

In 2012, the storage site's mission was broadened to support the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), which collects and analyzes genetic data from large numbers of well-characterized families with multiple affected individuals. In its expanded role, the NIAGADS coordinates ADSP data including whole-exome sequence data, targeted genome sequencing data, phenotypic data, and related primary and secondary analysis data.

Since its establishment, the NIAGADS has also become a key data repository for other Alzheimer's disease research efforts including the Alzheimer's Disease Genetic Consortium, the Consortium for Alzheimer's Sequence Analysis, and the network of NIA-sponsored Alzheimer's Disease Centers, the NIH noted. The NIAGADS also collaborates with the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center, the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer's Disease, and the National Human Genome Research Institute-funded Large Scale Sequencing and Analysis Centers, among other groups.

With the NIAGADS's current five-year funding period set to expire, the NIH will begin accepting applications in early 2016 from groups seeking to assume control of the site for the next five years. The agency noted that the NIAGADS will receive $1 million in direct costs in fiscal 2016 to support its operations.

Over the next five years, the NIH said, the NIAGADS will continue to store, manage, and provide access to Alzheimer's disease genotypic, genomic, annotation, epigenetic, and deep phenotype data, and be tasked with expanding its databases to enable users to perform novel analyses with these data, according to the FOA.

The NIAGADS is also expected to expand the ability to annotate genomes; identify new approaches to allow for the comprehensive identification of the functional elements in the human genome; and facilitate the discovery of genetic factors that may lead to the development of new therapies to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. It should also broaden its scope to ensure that it meets the changing landscape of genetic research into Alzheimer's disease and related conditions, with an emphasis on deep endophenoptypes and the ability to work in cloud environments.

Importantly, the NIH wants the NIAGADS to expand its user audience to include researchers studying neurological conditions other than Alzheimer's disease such as genetic counselors, clinicians, and neuroscientists. "This will require the skills and flexibility to apply cutting-edge science to the development and use of data analysis protocols and quality assurance/quality control measures," the NIH said. "It will require coordination of the receipt, processing, storage, annotation, analysis, and distribution of data from a variety of projects and the ability to link clinical data with various forms of genetic and genomic data."

Additional details about the NIAGADS funding opportunity can be found here.