Recent research conducted by BRC Director Fred Wright and Ivan Rusyn of Texas A&M University (https://news.ncsu.edu/2015/05/wright-chem-sensitivity/) resulted in a treasure trove of data on variation of chemical sensitivities in human cell lines. In collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the researchers had studied over 1000 cell lines and exposure to 179 chemicals, with the goal of mapping genetic variation in toxicity response. Says Wright “the data are so rich that we really are just scratching the surface.” Expanding the collaboration to include Sage Bionetworks and a crowd-sourcing initiative known as Dream Challenges, the bioinformatics community was enlisted to further mine the data, providing prediction algorithms that can aid future researchers in predicting toxicity based on DNA profiles and chemical structures. An article describing the results of this crowdsourcing effort recently appeared in Nature Biotechnology (http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.3299.html).
Image credit: Nature Biotechnology (2015) doi:10.1038/nbt.3299, under Creative Commons License