OHSU computational biologist will help build the largest database on pediatric cancers & birth defects

08/15/17  Portland, Ore.

Adam Margolin, Ph.D. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

The Kids First Data Resource Center aims to support the discovery of new and improved treatments for children with cancer or structural birth defects by gathering clinical and genetic sequence data from volunteer cohorts comprising thousands of patients and their families.

"There is an unprecedented amount of genomic data available, and these data hold the promise of yielding breakthroughs for debilitating pediatric diseases. The idea behind the [Data Resource Center] is to unlock this potential by allowing researchers and clinicians across the world to easily apply advanced analytics to as much pediatric cancer and rare disease data as possible," co-principal investigator Adam Margolin, Ph.D., said in a news release. Margolin is a professor of biomedical engineering,and director of computational biology in the OHSU School of Medicine and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

The NIH Health Common Fund's Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program is awarding a $15 million grant to establish the Kids First Data Resource Center.

OHSU will collaborate with investigators from the Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, biomedical data analysis firm Seven Bridges, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the University of Chicago, and Children's National Health System.

The award is among a string of accomplishments by the OHSU computational biology program, helping to fulfill a promise made to donors during the $1 billion fundraising challenge.

"One initiative we promised was the strengthening of computational biology," said Brian Druker, M.D., director of the Knight Cancer Institute. "Adam has recruited seven faculty, a total of 50 people, and has brought in more than $20 million in grants funding to build a computational program that is bringing nationwide recognition to OHSU. We recognized that this resource would be a necessary part of our overall effort to end cancer as we know it, and we are extremely pleased to see this remarkable return on our investment."

Over the last three years, the computational biology program has been awarded more than 30 grants, with computational biology personnel as co-principal investigators, totaling more than $22 million to computational biology, $41 million to OHSU, and $90 million for multi-institutional grants.

Read more at OHSU news.