FOCIS Highlight: The Immune Epitope Database

What can the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) do for your research? With over two million experiments and hundreds of thousands of epitopes stored, the IEDB provides an invaluable free resource to researchers worldwide. Dr. Bjoern Peters, PhD and co-leader of the IEDB and Professor for the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, gave an information-packed talk during FOCIS on the wealth of information within the IEDB.

The IEDB is one of the world’s largest catalogues of epitopes, which are the specific molecular structures used by the immune system to recognize unwanted visitors such as viruses and bacteria. Understanding epitopes is critical for vaccine development, as well as discovering new treatments for auto-immune disease, organ transplantation, and even cancer.

During his presentation, Dr. Peters discussed the growing dataset and the focus on turning data into knowledge. In addition to the epitope repository, the IEDB site also houses tools for analysis. These tools can be used to make predictions about immune response, and can be applied across disciplines.

Also core to the IEDB is embodiment of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) data principles. To learn more about the IEDB and FAIR, check out this paper published in the Journal of Biological Databases and Curation, “FAIR principles and the IEDB: short-term improvements and a long-term vision of OBO-foundry mediated machine-actionable interoperability.”