ENPADASI: Data sharing and integration solutions for nutritional studies
Nutritional studies increasingly use high-throughput technologies (eg, metabolomics, high throughput screening), resulting in large data sets. The power of these technologies is that the entire system (system biology) is described, but makes it difficult for researchers to properly associate these outcomes with biological processes. Part of this problem is caused by the fact that the number of parameters measured is much greater than the number of participants in the survey, which weakens the statistical results and makes it more difficult to draw biological conclusions. This problem can be overcome by combining the results of similar studies. However, this requires structured and standardized data storage and integrated analysis methods.
ENPADASI has delivered an open access research infrastructure (RI) for all nutritional studies (DASH-IN: data sharing in nutrition). Standardization is important in order to find comparable studies. For this reason, the metadata, describing the study and the phenotypic data (eg clinical data, nutrition, lifestyle and physical activity) is standardized in 55 intervention and 24 observational studies. This is accomplished by the implementation of ontologies in the infrastructure and the development of a new ontology for nutritional studies (ONS). DASH-IN is an integration of the Phenotype database (www.dbnp.org) and Opal/datashield. The system contains options for performing integrated analysis on multiple studies and facilitates further exploitation of research data (hypothesis testing, scenario analysis and modeling). Making research data available after finalization of a study is now sometimes a prerequisite for funding, but this is often not clearly defined in the consortium agreement. In addition, the participants of studies have not always been informed about the fact that the researchers want to share the data later and/or to use the data for other questions. For this reason ENPADASI delivered together with CORBEL an example of a broad consent and proposed a data sharing statement for future consortium agreements. In addition, training packages have been delivered. All deliverables and material developed can be found on the ENPADASI website (www.enpadasi.eu).