An ImmPortant Step for Big Data in Immunology

The ImmPort team successfully hosted a workshop at the FOCIS conference this past June in San Francisco. The focus of the workshop was “Big Data in Immunology,” and included both an invited speaker session and a hands-on workshop. This was quite a successful workshop for ImmPort, with 51 people attending, the largest number we have hosted to date!

The first part of the workshop included a series of invited speakers, all of whom came from different organizations and universities, offering insights on many different topics. First up was Purvesh Khatri (Stanford University), who talked about how “Heterogeneity” in “Dirty data” could be used for accelerating translational medicine, despite how ‘dirty’ the data may seem. Brian Kidd of the Icahn School of Medicine gave a talk on “Identifying disease signatures and new therapeutic targets through open-access to immunological data”. Sanchita Bhattacharya (UCSF) gave a presentation on “The 10,000 Immunomes Project: A resource for human immunology,” and, last but not least, John Tsang (NIH) gave a presentation on Systems Immunology. All of these guest speakers touched on interesting aspects, challenges, and next steps with integrating big data with immunology research.

Additionally, the workshop attendees were treated to a hands-on training with ImmPort data, led by Zicheng Hu (ImmPort-UCSF), Henry Schaefer (ImmPort-ESAC), Cristel Thomas (ImmPort-NG), and Sanchita Bhattacharya (ImmPort- UCSF). The workshop included an “Introduction to ImmPort Galaxy” and several case studies to work with. The hands-on training was a great way to get the workshop attendees to put on their data-science hats and get some real experience understanding how ImmPort analysis is done!

Overall, the workshop was very successful in introducing all who attended to not only the analysis ImmPort does, but also allowed them to see the importance of what is done with ImmPort work. A morning learning from the best and brightest people involved in cutting edge research in both big data science and immunology is definitely a morning well spent.

The ImmPort team would like to thank NIAID, NIH, and HHS, for sponsoring the workshop!