Participating Partners: UoB
The Environmental NanoSciences Group at the University of Birmingham currently hosts the UK national facility for analysis and characterisation of nanomaterials in the environment (FENAC) which is part-funded via the Natural Environment Research Council and offers twice yearly calls for national access to the facilities and their associated expertise. UoB also hosts the metabolomics node of the UK national research infrastructure for environmental omics, also funded via NERC, which again offers access to metabolomics workflows and bioinformatics analysis. Our computational biology group have expertise spanning ontology development, visualisation of networks of affected genes and metabolites.
The TA modalities offered by UoB fall under five categories:
- Ontology services
- Omics metadata analysis
- Nanoinformatics work flows / best practice
- Predictive nanotoxicology tools
- Data visualisation and Risk Assessment tools.
Each of the services currently runs at a national level to conduct the experiments, but within NanoCommons a new approach focusing on the nanoinformatics workflows and integration of nanoinformatics into experimental design from the outset (including protocols, templates for data capture, meta data and all considerations around FAIR data) will be integrated and offered as a set of services offered via physical transnational access, including lab visits by Users to our facilities to see how the informatics can be linked directly to data capture, or from our experts to the User’s lab to advice on aspects of the experimental design and linking the nanoinformatics aspects most robustly.
The bioinformatics, ontologies and data modelling and visualisation approaches are currently available mainly through collaboration, and in the first instance these tools need to be integrated into the Knowledge Commons Hub such that they can be made available to Users via remote TA, although most probably with a short physical visit also either at the initial project scoping stage or at the data interpretation phase to ensure the User has full understanding of the data for subsequent use.