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Environmental Factor, January 2013

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Upcoming data integration workshop

By Eddy Ball

Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions header

An innovative NIEHS-sponsored program continues its workshop series with an exploration of  "Integrating Environmental Health Data to Advance Discovery" Jan. 10-11 at the Keck Center in Washington, D.C.

The workshop, which is part of the National Academies Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions series, is free and open to the public. Registrations for on-site attendance and webcast access are now being accepted.

Integrating increasing volumes of data

Research in biomedical sciences has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past two decades. Science is increasingly data intensive, computational, interdisciplinary, and collaborative — a trend that is pervasive throughout science, and imposing new challenges for biomedical research.

While significant progress has been made in the development of digital technologies, community-wide principles, and resource management for some large and rapidly expanding data types, such as genomic sequences, the integration of existing heterogeneous data sets has lagged. This lag presents particular challenges for environmental health science, which is uniquely and inherently cross-disciplinary.

This meeting aims to foster discussion about the need for enhanced data integration in environmental health sciences and evaluate the lessons that can be learned from integrative initiatives in other scientific domains. It also offers participants a forum for strategizing about ways the community can take major steps toward improving data coordination and access to advance understanding about environmental effects on human health.

An ongoing series of workshops

Sponsored by NIEHS, the program holds three workshops per year on the use of new discoveries, tools, and approaches for guiding environmental health decisions. The workshops provide a public venue for communication among government, industry, environmental groups, and the academic community.

The data integration workshop is the thirteenth in the series, which began in July 2009 with a workshop on the "Use of Emerging Science and Technologies to Explore Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlying the Developmental Basis for Disease." Past presentations are archived online, and videos are available for several recent workshops.

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