Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

ENFIN — Result In Brief

Project ID: 518254
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: Germany

Advancing computational analysis in experimental biology

EU-funded scientists identified a critical role of databases and analysis tools in advancing the work of experimental biologists. To facilitate their use, they developed an easily accessible and user-friendly integrated platform of web services.
Advancing computational analysis in experimental biology
The nature of most fields of research has become more and more complex requiring a truly multidisciplinary approach. While expert collaborations are fruitful, individuals require at least a basic knowledge of broad but interrelated fields to maintain a competitive edge and to draw better conclusions.

Traditional experimentalists must, at the least, have a working knowledge of mathematics, physics and computers in order to interpret others’ results. At best, those experimenting on the bench must have the skills required to exploit the predictive and validating power of models and statistical analyses based on their own experimental data.

Despite tremendous progress in bioinformatics, relatively few labs actually use computational tools and use them to exploit the power of more than one database. In order to transform systems biology in much the way the genome project transformed genetic science, making data and tools freely available for all, European scientists initiated the project ‘An experimental network for functional integration’ (ENFIN).

Project researchers focused on providing small experimental labs with the resources necessary to include computational biology in their research projects. They sought to integrate an extensive list of databases and computational tools for easy access and automatic data retrieval and processing. The original case study, per se, was intracellular signalling associated with the cell cycle.

The consortium delivered the EnCORE integration platform available as a collection of compatible web services. It adapted the existing Intact database to capture predictions about potential protein interactions and developed the Reactome database to enable visualizing and exporting molecular networks. Data and technology infrastructure consists of a registry of trusted databases as well as a suite of computational tools to predict potential molecular functions.

ENFIN technology and tools for data integration and modelling have been met with great enthusiasm by the experimental cellular biology community. Extending the tools beyond the original focus on intracellular signalling will no doubt be eagerly anticipated.

The technology should enable small labs to build on the cycle of experiment, data modelling for prediction and validation, and new experiments based on analysis. Overall, the EnCORE suite has the potential to facilitate exciting new insight regarding biological systems and their function.

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