Intersect News #18 March 2010

30 Mar 2010

University of Wollongong joins Intersect

Intersect welcomes the University of Wollongong as its eighth and newest member.

The University of Wollongong’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Prof Judy Raper said, “The University looks forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with Intersect that allows us to be part of a collaborative approach to eResearch.

“To be able to draw upon expertise gained from Intersect’s close relationship with other universities and government initiatives will be of significant value. Membership of Intersect will provide a conduit to knowledge and resources that directly supports the recently announced SMART infrastructure initiative and other data-intensive discipline areas at the University” said Prof Raper.

Minister launches Intersect premises

In her first engagement on being re-commissioned, the NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research, Hon. Jodi McKay MP has opened Intersect’s new premises. “Can I say how pleased I am to be here with you as the Minister for Science and Research. I was sworn in again about an hour ago,” said the Minister.

“The new premises we open today will enlarge Intersect’s capacity to provide specialised ICT solutions for our research sector,” she said. “The NSW Government has provided $2.8 million in funding to help establish this institute through the Science Leveraging Fund, which provides money for essential infrastructure that allows organisations such as Intersect to leverage important Commonwealth and philanthropic funds,” the Minister pointed out.

“The work of Intersect is a prime example of the kind of clever thinking and effective use of emerging technologies that make NSW Australia’s clever State,” the Minister said.

Pictured above: CEO Dr Ian Gibson, NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, the NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research, Hon. Jodi McKay MP, and Intersect Chair Emeritus Professor Mark Wainwright AM. Photographer: Scott Cameron.

Projects recently delivered by Intersect

The first of Intersect’s Innovation projects the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB) project was delivered in November. The ASRB web portal replaces several existing repositories of information, and provides a secure environment for the collection and storage of this information. It has fine grained and flexible security, enabling online access to information for researchers in a controlled manner. It is the central resource for the entry, upload and download of information for ASRB participants and delivers the following key benefits:

• user-friendly browse, search and query of ASRB data and images;

• tools to assist the preparation of MRI images and data to a research ready state;

• enables remote collaborators to upload collected information into the ASRB; and

• enables researchers nationwide to download MRI, genetic, and clinical information.

Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank Manager Dr Carmel Loughland said, “the new Intersect developed system will allow us to seamlessly collect clinical information from people with schizophrenia and to track the stored data as it progresses through the various processing and data analysis stages.

“Intersect is not only helping the ASRB to develop expert IT capacity, but is creating a secure commercial grade system that will revolutionise the way schizophrenia research data is collected, stored and disseminated in Australia”, said Dr Loughland.


Recognising the potential usefulness of the U.S. developed caBIG and particularly caTissue to health informatics in NSW, Intersect has localised the components of the application. caTissue is part of the caBIG Suite, developed to keep track, to mine and visualise biospecimens and related annotations from geographically dispersed repositories.

The caTissue project enables participating institutions to tailor the display of the content to better suit Australian preferences. caTissue was „Australianised? by changing the date format; making Australia the default country; adding Australian states to the drop down lists; adding relevant Australian ethnicity groups, and removing dependency on social security identification.

caTissue has undergone acceptance testing and is installed at UNSW?s Lowy Biorepository. Intersect will be looking to provide ongoing support and enhancement of caTissue in Australia.

History of Aboriginal Sydney

‘Guringai History’ is the first stage of a five-year project on the history of Aboriginal Sydney supported by the Australian Research Council and the Department of History, University of Sydney. Intersect assisted in phase 1 of the project, helping establish a website that will deliver historical content to school audiences and the public. The website will serve data relevant to the six geographical regions of Aboriginal Sydney, including images, a calendar of events, historical posters, interactive maps and videoed interviews.

Resource Allocation Round Reminder/ extended till 15th

The current HPC resource allocation round is now open until Friday 15 January 2010, and is for allocations for 1 Feb – 1 Aug 2010, on both our existing McLaren system and our newly available share of the NCI national peak facility in Canberra. If you have an existing McLaren allocation this will remain valid until the end of June 2010, and we will look at usage then to extend grants to line up with the new schedule.

Applications can be made online at

If you need assistance, or have any questions, please feel free to email

Kind regards
Leonie Hellmers

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