A European collaboration to handle data in life science

In research projects all over Europe, valuable data are generated but usually remain local and lack a broader use. ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science information, aims to provide access to this wealth of bioinformatics tools and biological data. It creates sustainability through long-term data-storage and databases. ELIXIR offers the possibility to archive, integrate, analyse and exploit the large and heterogeneous data sets of modern life science research beyond the life-time of individual research projects.

Luxembourg – a data hub for Translational Medicine

ELIXIR-LU, the Luxembourgish ELIXIR node, focuses on long-term sustainability of tools and data for Translational Medicine. Translational Medicine data integrate clinical information with molecular and cellular data for a better understanding of diseases. They bridge the gap between the molecular level, findings from the laboratory, and the clinical observations and applications. ELIXIR-LU aims to facilitate long-term access to those research data and to tools for scientists in both academia and industry. This will allow the reuse of previously generated translational data to address new research questions and dramatically save time and cost.

Challenges and solutions

Nowadays a major hurdle in the use of biomedical data by a wider research community is the lack of suitable data management systems that collect and integrate all types of data. The numerous terminologies in clinical data are for example challenging, as well as the separation between data coming from clinic and laboratory. This fragmentation and lack of standard make it difficult to integrate those data into centralised comprehensive repositories and lead to a poor interoperability between platforms and projects. Due to the sensitive nature of these data and the security requirements, handling access can also be quite complex. To provide solutions ELIXIR-LU is developing the following services:

Repository for high quality Translational Medicine data
Integration of well-curated clinical and molecular data from cohorts and large consortia.
High-performance data access and computing services
Sustainable access management according to well-defined criteria and in line with security requirements of ELIXIR Europe and the research community.
Platforms and tools to allow efficient data access and analysis.
Support and user training
Implementation of standardised electronic data capture, data harmonisation and curation.
Workshops and courses on data management, curation, analytics and visualisation.
Continuous education of software developers, data managers and researchers.