Stakeholder Views on Research Infrastructures for Innovative Mechanistic Studies

EuroDISH partners have performed a case study, using the NuGO-developed Nutritional Phenotype Data Infrastructure (dbNP, to describe different larger human nutrition studies in an interoperable way. This allowed creation of virtual cohorts to compare transcriptomics and metabolomics results at different time points after oral glucose tolerance tests from studies performed in different laboratories.

EuroDISH has produced a draft design needed for nutritional intervention studies (Figure 1). Several gaps have been identified. We have shown that it is possible with the current infrastructure to reuse nutritional data as a virtual cohort and that different challenge studies can be compared. Further standardisation is needed to support other research questions. Building additional workflows supporting more automated processing, systematic storage and querying of processed data at several levels is required for further integration of study results. In order to seek stakeholder views on additional requirements for research infrastructure, a workshop was organised and a survey composed.

EuroDISH dbNP 4
The open EuroDISH workshop on "Requirements for Research (Data) Infrastructures for Innovative Mechanistic Studies" was held during the 11th NuGOweek, which took place 8-11 September 2014, at The Vesuvian Institute, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy. The experiences with the infrastructure were presented and discussed with conference participants.

In an in-depth analysis the participants discussed what kind of nutrition specific infrastructure would be needed in future studies. They realised that part of the success of the case study could be explained by its designed focus on tasks for which infrastructure had already been developed. For other aspects, important blocks are still lacking, for example tools to communicate between metabolomics labs about unidentified peaks originating from the same compound, or tools to map metabolomics measurements on classes of compounds to biological pathways. These and other infrastructural needs were identified during the workshop.

Many of these needs are shared with other biological and health research fields and will be covered by more general ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) projects like ELIXIR (European Life Science Infrastructure for Biological Information) and BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure). Others are either nutrition specific (like food intake and some challenge tests) or are so much more important for nutrition research than anywhere else that we think nutrition should take the lead (like the metabolomics examples mentioned above).

In the final report about the case study the results will be combined with input from stakeholders. For this purpose stakeholders not present at the meeting, are kindly invited to give feedback on their experienced needs and requirements for research infrastructures, including emerging ones. Please click here to complete the survey and take the opportunity to share your expertise and opinion on data infrastructures for nutrition research and future directions for related European funding.

The results will feed into the overall recommendations of EuroDISH on the research infrastructure needed for food and health research.

We look forward to working together to provide Europe with a core advanced infrastructure for nutrition and health research.