To provide up-to-date relevant legislative, ethical and security information specifically to the Australian health and medical research community, the Intersect-led national med.data.edu.au project undertook extensive research into the legislative and best practice landscape that impacts on data-driven human research in Australia. A new interactive guide is now available.
Professor Clare Collins and Dr Megan Rollo are committed to finding nutrition research solutions to tackle Australia’s obesity epidemic, harnessing technology and the power of online platforms and the media to get the message out on a big scale via the Australian Eating Survey.
Biosecurity managers and scientists need to model and run wind-borne pest or pathogen dispersal scenarios to assess the risks associated with infestation or disease. Intersect has redeveloped a tool TAPPAS (Tool for Assessing Pest and Pathogen Aerial Spread) to assist with biosecurity risk assessment that protects Australia’s agriculture from pests and pathogens. Threat scenarios modeled and visualised through TAPPAS afford a greater capacity for CSIRO to assess how to prepare for and respond to a wind-borne biosecurity issue or emergency. https://research.csiro.au/TAPPAS
Having flexible high performance computing (HPC) architecture that is connected and collocated with data storage is a critical service combination that enables the research into the detection of depression in the Human-Centred Technology Research Centre, at the University of Canberra. The psychologists, linguists, performance analysts, and computer engineers, in the Research Centre rely upon the eResearch services provided by Intersect to store their data and access HPC services at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). As the project scales up with data from 150+ to 1000 study subjects over the next 2-3 years, so will the research infrastructure, enabling vital cross-modal and longitudinal temporal information to be studied.
The work at the Ramaciotti Centre at UNSW involves a very wide network of collaborators and Intersect's high performance computing (HPC) facilities underpin all their genome assembly efforts. Professor Marc Wilkins (Director of the Centre) and other genetic researchers use HPC to generate and analyse genomics and transcriptomics data. The generation of new genome sequences is extremely compute intensive, and is only possible through access to HPC. www.ramaciotti.unsw.edu.au
The Australian Institute for Health Innovation conducts research into health care received by Australians through CareTrack Australia. In 2015, Intersect expanded the functions of a system created for CareTrack back in 2011 that will assist in the CareTrack for Kids research project. The system (a web based tool) aids the research team to track medical records of participants with known medical conditions across multiple healthcare providers, analysing care and treatment. www.caretrackaustralia.org.au
Intersect leads the national med.data.edu.au project to build the necessary Australian shared infrastructure for collaborative, associated data services and operational guidelines to underpin collaborative research using sensitive data across the Australian health and medical research arena. We are helping researchers from over 20 universities and independent medical research institutes to confidently navigate, manage, store, share and use their health and medical research data in appropriate ways. www.med.data.edu.au
Biobanks collect and store human tissue samples and biopsies for use in subsequent research projects. Intersect is working with the Cancer Institute NSW’s Biobanking Stakeholders Network (BSN) that involves 23 cancer biobanks. The survey of existing IT and imaging platforms in use across the BSN and assessment of user requirement needs has provided recommendations for implementing new biobanking data management and information integration systems across the network. www.cancerbiobanksnsw.org
Researchers led by Professor Hong Zhou and Professor Markus J. Seibel from the Bone Research Program at the ANZAC Research Institute study the effects of steroid hormones on skeletal health in the context of ageing, arthritis, chronic stress and metastatic cancer. Utilising x-ray microtomography (micro-CT) imaging to evaluate bone architecture and density is key when assessing bone health. X-ray data collected from genetically modified rodents, which lack glucocorticoid signalling in bone or cartilage cells, has led to significant advances in the understanding of steroid hormone action in the skeleton. Each dataset from the micro-CT scanner amounts to 2.5Gb, with the study generating 2TB of data per year. The data is routinely transmitted into space at fast speed using SpaceShuttle, and from there easily shared with various collaborators across Australia, Europe and North America. http://www.anzac.edu.au
Security and personal privacy are of the utmost importance when it comes to health and medical data derived from human study participants.
Intersect, on behalf of med.data.edu.au, recently developed a suite of user-friendly guides about eight security technology services that are required to ensure that privacy is maintained when identifiable digital information is stored and used.
60 research support staff and researchers from NSW universities came to the Sydney Healthy Data Workshop run by ANDS and Intersect at the University of Sydney to hear about, discuss and share experiences on the publishing and sharing of health and sensitive data. The presenters covered subjects such as ethics, managing consent, privacy, de-identifying data, licensing, data sharing and publishing. Download the presentations at: ands.org.au/presentations. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Intersect has added another project to its production cycle. Healthy.me is a communication tool operating in the health sector and is headed up by Professor Enrico Coiera, Director of Centre for Health Informatics at the University of UNSW.