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Primeur weekly 2012-08-20

The Cloud

ISC Cloud'12 keynote session to investigate Helix Nebula, Europe's Science Cloud ...

HP delivers innovations to power Cloud computing ...

Numira Biosciences and Penguin Computing to bring advanced graphics processing to the Cloud for pre-clinical imaging ...

OpenStack technology preview available from Red Hat ...

Tata Consultancy Services to enhance high performance application and Cloud offerings; acquires Pune-based start-up CRL ...

EuroFlash

LHC experiments bring new insight into matter of the primordial Universe ...

IBM scientists waltz closer to using spintronics in computing ...

Electronic read-out of quantum bits ...

Supercomputers solve riddle of congenital heart defects ...

HPC Advisory Council and the International Supercomputing Conference announce Call for Submissions for HPCAC-ISC 2013 Student Cluster Challenge ...

Major step taken towards 'unbreakable' message exchange ...

USFlash

Cray to add NVIDIA Kepler GPUs to its next-generation "Cascade" supercomputer ...

Fujitsu to supply new supercomputer system to the University of Tokyo's Institute for Solid State Physics ...

Educational institutions improve aging legacy networks with HP ...

IBM plans to acquire Texas Memory Systems ...

Victor Chandler betting on SAS ...

Skyera set to dramatically change enterprise Flash adoption landscape ...

HydroShare aims to help scientists collaborate on water-related problems ...

Acceleware updates RTM featuring enhanced imaging and NVIDIA Kepler support ...

New Research Points to Advances in Quantum Computing ...

Supercomputers solve riddle of congenital heart defects

13 Aug 2012 Copenhagen - About 25,000 Danes currently live with congenital heart defects. Both heredity and environment play a role for these malformations, but exactly how various risk factors influence the development of the heart during pregnancy has been a mystery until now. With the aid of a supercomputer, an international, interdisciplinary research team has analysed millions of data points. This has allowed the scientists to show that a huge number of different risk factors - for example in the form of genetic defects - influence the molecular biology of heart development.

The discovery of a biological common denominator among many thousands of risk factors is an important step in health research, which in time can improve the prevention and diagnosis of congenital heart defects, explained Professor Lars Allan Larsen from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen.

Research results have recently been published in the well reputed scientific journalPNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. The project was supported by the Danish Heart Association, Novo Nordisk Foundation and Danish National Research Foundation, among others.

Scientists have analysed several thousand genetic mutations and environmental risk factors associated with heart malformations in the hope of finding a pattern or common factor.

The investigations show that many different genetic factors together with environmental factors can influence the same biological system and cause disease. The results are also interesting in a broader perspective, because it is probable that similar interactions are also valid for diseases such as schizophrenia, autism, diabetes and cancer, said Kasper Lage, Director of Bioinformatics at Harvard University, USA.

Thus the results of the study give scientists an idea of how different combinations of variations in hereditary material can dispose the individual to disease. This is interesting if we want to make treatment more efficient by tailoring an optimal approach for each individual patient, added Professor Søren Brunak from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen.

When the international research team brought a systems biology perspective to bear on the huge data mass, they could see previously unknown and complex correlations between known risk factors and heart biology.

Systems biology is a relatively new and holistic research field that uses bioinformatics and supercomputers to investigate highly complex biological problems. For example, scientists know of a number of genetic mutations that cause heart defects - but it is first now they have been able to show which biological systems in the heart are influenced by the mutations in question, explained Professor Lars Allan Larsen.

The research approach of systems biology can lead to surprising and pioneering conclusions, but the work is difficult and requires a great degree of interdisciplinary collaboration. In this case team members include genetic scientists, cardiac specialists and experts in bioinformatics from universities, hospitals and industry.

What is this all about?

In brief, systems biology involves making complete descriptions of biological systems such as a cell, a bacterium or an ecological system. The holistic approach comprises not only mapping all of the components (genes, proteins etc.) in a biological system, but uncovering the functions of the components as well - and their mutual relationships.

Systems biology arose as a research area thanks to the sophisticated methods and techniques developed in particular in the fields of gene technology and molecular biology, and because modern information technology allows statistical calculations to be made on massive amounts of data.
Source: University of Copenhagen

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2012-08-20

The Cloud

ISC Cloud'12 keynote session to investigate Helix Nebula, Europe's Science Cloud ...

HP delivers innovations to power Cloud computing ...

Numira Biosciences and Penguin Computing to bring advanced graphics processing to the Cloud for pre-clinical imaging ...

OpenStack technology preview available from Red Hat ...

Tata Consultancy Services to enhance high performance application and Cloud offerings; acquires Pune-based start-up CRL ...

EuroFlash

LHC experiments bring new insight into matter of the primordial Universe ...

IBM scientists waltz closer to using spintronics in computing ...

Electronic read-out of quantum bits ...

Supercomputers solve riddle of congenital heart defects ...

HPC Advisory Council and the International Supercomputing Conference announce Call for Submissions for HPCAC-ISC 2013 Student Cluster Challenge ...

Major step taken towards 'unbreakable' message exchange ...

USFlash

Cray to add NVIDIA Kepler GPUs to its next-generation "Cascade" supercomputer ...

Fujitsu to supply new supercomputer system to the University of Tokyo's Institute for Solid State Physics ...

Educational institutions improve aging legacy networks with HP ...

IBM plans to acquire Texas Memory Systems ...

Victor Chandler betting on SAS ...

Skyera set to dramatically change enterprise Flash adoption landscape ...

HydroShare aims to help scientists collaborate on water-related problems ...

Acceleware updates RTM featuring enhanced imaging and NVIDIA Kepler support ...

New Research Points to Advances in Quantum Computing ...