PaNOSC & ExPaNDS panel session @ESOF2022 – Open Data for healthier societies: a virtuous cycle?

On 16th July, from 8:00 to 09:15 am CEST, scientists and renowned experts from the PaN community, and contributors in the PaNOSC and ExPaNDS projects, will take part in the online panel session at ESOF 2022, with the title Open Data for healthier societies: a virtuous cycle?.

ESOF registrants are invited to join the online event and contribute to the discussion during the interactive Q&A session.

Panel discussion abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the challenge the world faces in the fight against infectious diseases, and has further highlighted the challenges associated with data and its re-use. A fast, effective and coordinated science response has been critical to deliver such a fast turnaround of vaccines and novel therapies.

Health researchers need accessible data to support their endeavours from imaging of tissues to data about the basic building blocks of life in proteins. Sharing data for re-use is key to further improve diagnostics and health prevention, as well as develop new and more efficient medications, to be affordable and equally accessible to all countries worldwide. This session will showcase the needs and achievements so far for data to be open, but also the role of global mobilisation in the face of challenges like pandemics, and will highlight some of the achievements, which have led to therapies being developed, including medication for low- and middle-income countries.

Three expert scientists in the life sciences domain will present three virtuous examples: the Protein Data Bank (PDB), COVID Moonshot Consortium and the Human Organ Atlas, which led to setting up open data banks and portals for faster discoveries and breakthroughs in the life sciences domain and beyond.

The Protein Data Bank (PDB) will be introduced by Sam Horrell (Diamond Light Source). The PDB archives information about the 3D shapes of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies that helps students and researchers understand all aspects of biomedicine and agriculture, from protein synthesis to health and disease.

Benjamin Perry (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, DNDi) will present the COVID Moonshot, a worldwide, non-profit, open-science consortium involving scientists, academics, pharmaceutical research teams and students, which aims to release all the data generated by the consortium’s partners, to help researchers in the discovery of new antivirals molecules against coronaviruses, that would be globally affordable and easily-manufactured.

Claire Walsh (UCL, University College London) will guide the audience through the open access Human Organ Atlas, which collects data on studies using the new technique Hierarchical Phase-Contrast Tomography (HIP-CT), an X-ray tomography technology, for imaging whole human bodies at multiple anatomical levels, from organs up to the micron scale in 3D.

Finally, Andrew Harrison, CEO of Diamond Light Source and former chair of the LEAPS initiative, will present how European photon sources embraced and reacted to the new challenge posed by the pandemic. By making the infrastructures remotely accessible, LEAPS member facilities joined forces and offered their expertise and capacities to the scientific community at large. Several facilities opened calls for rapid access to dedicated beamtime for prioritising research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and developing therapies and vaccines against the COVID-19 disease, with an increased effort to make data open and easily findable and reusable.

The public will be guided and invited by the moderator, Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke (Diamond Light Source), to take part in the discussion on the importance of open data, and on the challenges still to be tackled, and will be engaged with live questions through a dedicated online platform.