IBM and the University of Calgary have established a five-year partnership to accelerate genomic research in common childhood conditions such as autism and congenital diseases.
As part of the partnership, IBM will augment the existing research capacity at the Cumming School of Medicine’s Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute by installing a POWER8-based computing and storage infrastructure, along with analytics and cognitive computing software.
“Advances in our ability to capture and analyze data have truly cross-cutting affects for research programs throughout the university,” said Ed McCauley, vice-president of research at the University of Calgary. “This collaboration will not only allow researchers to sort through larger data sets and provide advanced skill development opportunities for our trainees, it will increase capacity for genomics work in Calgary.”
Alberta Children’s Hospital said that one in four children admitted have an unknown or undiagnosed illness. With access to these new tools, the goal is to help scientists can better generate, store, and analyze complex clinical, genetic, and imaging data.
The initiative will support three projects, including the work of Micheil Innes, a member of the Department of Medical Genetics as the Cumming School of Medicine. Innes is researching more rapid and accurate diagnosis of genetic disorders; in the past, his work was able to help a Calgary teenager who was diagnosed with a rare form of autism.
“IBM has always believed investment in research and development is an important driver for Canada’s competitiveness, and few fields offer greater opportunities for innovation than healthcare,” said Dino Trevisani, president of IBM Canada. “Improving the health and vitality of our children requires collaboration across government, social programs, life sciences, health researchers and providers. Taking a holistic view of the individual and entire populations, and sharing technology and knowledge, can lead to better, more cost-effective care.”