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Informatics Hub to Accelerate Cancer Research and Discovery

ncip_hub_logo_webThe National Cancer Informatics Program at NIH is building a virtual cancer informatics research community. Built on the HUBzero platform, NCIPHub.org is a ready-made open source cyberinfrastructure for research and education developed at Purdue, which, among other things, simplifies access to HPC systems and HPC workflows.

Ishwar Chandramouliswaran

Ishwar Chandramouliswaran

The story behind the hub creation comes from cancer informatics researcher, Ishwar Chandramouliswaran. He came across nanoHub.org, an international virtual community of nanotechnology researchers that seemed to have everything he and his colleagues wanted. It could do things such as disseminate and share data and make available tools for doing real research with that data, even visualizing it, with easy access to high-performance computing systems and simplified HPC workflows. Investigating further, he learned that the platform behind nanoHUB.org is a ready-made open source cyberinfrastructure for research and education called HUBzero. Developed at Purdue University, nanoHUB can be used to create interactive, Web-based hub for almost any field. The result is NCIPHub.org.

All of the goals that we had seemed to fit nicely with the capabilities of HUBzero,” says Chandramouliswaran, a program manager for the National Cancer Informatics Program (NCIP) at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology. “Many of these capabilities are available in different tools and platforms, but HUBzero puts them all in one place.”

Since the pilot went online, the NCIPHub.org has begun attracting a user base of cancer researchers working in such areas as informatics, animal modeling, medical imaging, nanotechnology-based cancer research, data standards and more, Chandramouliswaran says. The goal is for the hub to become a virtual “informatics marketplace” for the biomedical informatics community supporting and performing cancer research.

We designed HUBzero for precisely this purpose — to connect researchers with data sets, with analysis tools, and with one another to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery,” says Michael McLennan, director of the HUBzero Platform for Scientific Collaboration at Purdue. “A major HUBzero feature is its ability to rapidly deploy computational research codes, and visualize and analyze results, all through a Web browser. Built-in social networking creates communities in almost any field or subject matter and facilitates communication and collaboration, publishing and distribution of research results, and training and education. Moreover, the platform has a growing set of sophisticated data management and interactive database capabilities.”

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