202401 NICHD Resource Program Grants in Bioinformatics

​Program seeks Council approval for reissuance of the initiative to provide support to model organism knowledge bases for operation, ongoing development, maintenance, and dissemination of data, analytical tools, and usertraining and services to the scientific community, while maximizing interoperability with other NIH-funded resources.

The generation of genomic data has skyrocketed in the last decade, due to lowered costs and increased access to high-throughput technologies. To maximize use, data accessibility and curation are key. Model organism knowledgebases serve this critical role for researchers. They collect, curate, and disseminate a large volume of genomic and gene expression data generated by the scientific community, develop and employ tools to facilitate input, curation, and analysis of new data, and provide technical advice and training for use of the knowledgebase resources. Together, these functions enable the translation of data from a variety of sources into meaningful biological information for use by the scientific community to understand embryonic development and ultimately, the genetic etiology of human structural birth defects.

Model organism knowledge bases also provide added value by serving as community hubs, providing a platform for validation of experimental findings, and enabling the development of novel hypotheses. They amplify the impact of publications by combining, indexing, and harmonizing published information.  Finally, they will assist in the scientific community’s compliance with the new 2023 NIH Data Managementand Sharing Policy.

The previous iteration of this initiative supported two model organism knowledgebases, Xenbase (Xenopus frogs) and Echinobase (sea urchin and other echinoderms), and two gene expression knowledge bases, the Gene Expression Database (GXD, mouse) and Gallus Expression In Situ Hybridization Analysis (GEISHA, chicken). In addition to providing curated data to researchers, major areas of advancement have been integration of new data types and modernization of the knowledgebase platform. Over the last decade these NICHD-supported modelorganism knowledgebases have grown into flagship resources for the communities they serve.

The goal of this initiative is continued support for model organism knowledge bases to provide well-curated high-quality gene-level and functional genomic data to the model organism communities that can evolve with and integrate cutting-edge technologies and approaches and enable discovery.

This proposed concept aligns with the NICHD Strategic Plan Theme 1: Understanding the Molecular, Cellular, and Structural Basis of Development and with the DBCAB Scientific priorities of Birth Defects, Gene Regulatory Networks, and ‘Omics for Developmental biology.

Program Contact

Kathryn Stein
Developmental Biology and Congenital Anomalies Branch (DBCAB)

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