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Program Overview

The Bioinformatics and Computational Science program, formerly called the Biomedical Informatics and Data Science program, advances disease research by cultivating innovative collaborations and robust integration of scientific data, advanced computing, and artificial intelligence to overcome leading challenges in cancer, AIDS and emerging infectious diseases.

The program works collaboratively to support the Frederick National Laboratory’s mission in biomedical informatics, data science, and advanced computing. 

Our teams provide the advanced services, tools, and capabilities to researchers nationwide to accelerate the translation of biomedical data to scientific discoveries, insights, medical treatments, diagnostic approaches, and prevention tools for cancer, AIDS, and emerging health threats. We have developed critical genomics analytical tools for the National Cancer Institute and supported research efforts for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Along with other teams across the Frederick National Laboratory, our program participates in national and international collaborations, such as the strategic, interagency partnership between the NCI and the U.S. Department of Energy to simultaneously accelerate advances in predictive oncology and computing. 

We also collaborate with academic and nonprofit organizations on data science workforce development, and create innovative, multidisciplinary approaches for biomedical research that improve clinical outcomes. 

Within these collaborations, we host or co-host a variety of events throughout the year focused on merging machine learning and high-performance computing in biomedical sciences. 

Program Innovations

As part of the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium, we work on multiple projects aimed at improving the drug development process. In this public-private partnership, we helped develop and release AMPL, an open-source, modular, extensible software pipeline for building and sharing models to advance in silico drug discovery. The Cancer Data Science Initiatives team worked with ATOM to make the release a reality. 

The Bioinformatics and Computational Science program has developed and implemented several platforms for data management in biomedical collaborations, such as: 

  • MoDaC, a new software platform that enables storage and sharing of large, annotated data sets with the broader research community from within the National Cancer Institute or National Cancer Institute and Department of Energy Collaboration programs. 

  • National Cancer Institute Serological Sciences Network data management system, a cloud-based platform to enable data sharing across the network’s collaborators. 

  • The NCI Integrated Canine Data Commons, a cloud-based repository of structured data to advance research on human cancers by enabling comparative analysis with canine cancers. The data is harmonized into an integrated data model and then made available to the research community. 

  • Bento software framework, an open Docker platform that enables and accelerates deployment of data commons sites for the NCI’s Cancer Research Data Commons

In 2020, one of our teams placed third in the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging’s Multi-Organ Nuclei Segmentation and Classification Challenge. We also hosted a five-day Ideas Lab with the National Cancer Institute and Department of Energy Collaboration to create new interdisciplinary teams and research proposals to advance the development of a human cancer patient digital twin