Dr Andy Skinner and Chris Stone believe that new technology has the potential to transform health data collection in the longitudinal community – and that there are already promising signs of this among early adopters.
In the last decade or so advances in bioinformatics have made it easier for health researchers to study people’s genetic make-up (genotype) in detail. For example, it is now possible – and has become almost routine – for health researchers to identify genes associated with specific diseases using genome-wide association studies. Read more
The information that gathers in our wake as we move through life and health centre or hospital waiting rooms is a powerful tool for medical research. Cecily Berryman tells us how a health emergency brought discussions about data science to the heart of her family.
Three years ago my husband suddenly became very ill. He needed emergency surgery to fix a tear in his aorta, the huge artery that carries blood as it pumps away from the heart. Afterwards the surgeon called it an ‘acute aortic dissection’ and mentioned it was likely to be a connective tissue disorder that has a genetic cause. Extensive testing revealed it was not a known disorder.
In 2016, the then-government introduced a new approach to funding science and research targeted at urgent problems being faced by people the world over: the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which the MRC helps to deliver. Rachael Sara-Kennedy, Head of International Partnerships at Universities UK, says we must look beyond the face value of overseas research funding to see how it benefits us all.
The GCRF enables our universities and world-class research base to access resources drawn from the government’s overseas aid budget – the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to help fight global challenges. The fund represents a not insignificant slice of the government’s commitment to spend 0.7% GDP on overseas aid.