Unleash the potential of data

Tuesday 12 Jun 18

Contact

Evelyn Travnik
CIO
DTU Biosustain

Contact

Anders Østerby Mønsted
Communications Officer
DTU Biosustain
+45 24 67 79 47
By developing integrated software platforms the time and cost of making cell factories should be reduced.

Evelyn Travnik has a mission to capture the full potential of data. This should be achieved by developing an integrated software platform for the development of cell factories that encompasses the entire lifecycle of design, build, test and learn.

The goal is to reduce the time and cost of developing cell factories.

“It is a very long and slow process today. It takes up to 10 years to develop a cell factory and commercialize it, so it will always be attractive to bring the time down. With software and automation, we have an opportunity to develop a platform that captures all the data and make our processes more efficient,” says Chief Information Officer at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU, Evelyn Travnik.

One of the ideas in the pipeline is to establish the so-called data warehouses. A data warehouse is a secure spot where all data is integrated into the same place. This will make it easier for groups across the Center to share data internally, thus, enhancing cross-collaboration.

“People create a lot of knowledge but too often it stays in their heads, in emails, conversations or in PowerPoint slides. Imagine if we can store all that knowledge online in a centralised place. This could open up new ideas and every time a new employee comes on board they can tap into this ocean of knowledge,” says Evelyn Travnik.

A new field is on the move

 A new field known as computational biology is on the rise. Computational biology, which includes several aspects of bioinformatics, is the science of using biological data to develop algorithms or models to understand biological systems. Just until recently, biologists did not have access to large amounts of data which by now have become commonplace. While researchers have been able to quickly develop analytical methods to interpret information, it is a totally different story when it comes to sharing material with colleagues or external collaborators.

"People create a lot of knowledge but too often it stays in their heads, in emails, conversations or in PowerPoint slides. Imagine if we can store all that knowledge online in a centralised place"
Evelyn Travnik, Chief Information Officer

“You can see this integrated software platform as a Slack channel that allows for a community to share data and different experiences. Already at this stage, we can pick some of the low-hanging fruit by taking all the data related to a sample and put it in the same place. By now, the samples in the lab are not barcoded. So it starts with barcoding everything,” according to the Chief Information Officer.

In the future, all of the samples will be submitted electronically and over the next half a year the newly established Computational Biology section will develop the first versions of a data warehouse where all data is captured and collected to make dashboards and self-serving portals available for people.

From spinout to ‘spin-in’

 The project of developing an integrated software platform for the development of cell factories will initially be running for four years. At the moment, it is essential to understand the need of the users at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU. What are their problems? How can they be helped?

However, in a long-term perspective, the dream is that this infrastructure will also be an attractive product for companies.

“While we are currently very much focused on spinning out companies, this will hopefully also allow us to spin-in companies when moving forward. A company can rarely afford to build such a platform themselves. So, if we succeed, this could pave the way for licensing our platform to companies. In this way, we have an opportunity to incubate start-ups and provide them with a solid framework for future success,” emphasises Evelyn Travnik.

Some of the future collaborators could potentially be found at the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s newly established BioInnovation Institute in Copenhagen that will help innovative entrepreneurs and talented researchers to develop research projects to the point at which they attract crucial capital investment.

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http://www.biosustain.dtu.dk/english/nyhedsbase/nyhed?id=595ACFB6-A2E7-4EFC-9303-3EC78A743B3A
18 AUGUST 2018