Image credit: Laura Olivares Boldú, Wellcome Connecting Science

Categories: COVID-1915 November 20215 min read

Covid Connections – Big Data in a Pandemic World

Global gathering and sharing of data are crucial to track, understand and tackle coronavirus. In the UK alone, vital new knowledge has grown out of data provided by many tens of thousands of people.

In the last 'covid connections' event, researchers discussed SARS-CoV-2 genome data and its complexities, data sharing and security, the discoveries that the data have enabled as well as careers in data science.

The event, chaired by writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry, brought together three data scientists.

Matt Sinnott is a Senior Data Scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. His focus is on product development, data analysis and maintaining data pipelines to deliver data into products such as the Sanger tool to view SARS-CoV-2 linages and variants. He also works on reporting infrastructure to communicate the findings from the COVID-19 genomic surveillance work at Sanger to other organisations and partners, including public health agencies.

Matt Pearce is a Project Technical Lead at the European Bioinformatics Institute. He has worked on the COVID-19 Data Portal to facilitate rapid and open data sharing and analysis, to accelerate global SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research. The open datasets and intuitive suite of search, identification and download services, represent a truly FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) resource that enables researchers to easily identify and quickly obtain the key datasets needed for their COVID-19 research.

Sam Nicholls is a Senior Research Fellow in Sequencing Bioinformatics at the University of Birmingham. He led work to develop a world-leading platform to store and analyse COVID-19 genomes – CLIMB COVID. This encompassing digital infrastructure was created to address the challenge of collecting and integrating both genomic sequencing data and sample-associated metadata produced across the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) network. CLIMB-COVID enables a distributed sequencing system, harnessing sequencing capability from universities, academic institutes and the UK’s public health agencies.

Watch the full discussions in the video below.


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