Brandi Klingerman | July 24, 2018
From interdisciplinary teams to multi-institutional partnerships, collaborations in research have become commonplace. However, these interactions are often made up of siloed teams who pass information along a pipeline rather than operating cohesively. In a new study, researchers have shown how hackathons, or other crowdsourcing events, may provide a good strategy for building bridges over the traditional divides of research partnerships and accelerate scientific discovery.
The study, which was published in Genome Research, follows the results of a hackathon hosted by the University of Notre Dame, the H3Africa Bioinformatics Network, and IBM Research Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. The week-long event pulled together a group of 23 researchers from eight African countries to analyze unpublished data of several isolates of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The hackathon participants were asked to assess the potential of using this information to predict the parasite’s ability to develop drug resistance to artemisinin, a preferred treatment for malaria.
“One of the goals of this hackathon event was to help train young, African scientists on integrated analysis of genomics data as a means for understanding and predicting drug resistance,” said Geoffrey Siwo, co-author on the study, research assistant professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame, and affiliated faculty member of the Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH) and the Center for Research Computing. “This event not only provided an opportunity to do so, but also allowed us to expose these researchers to the possibility of participating in scientific discoveries. This is especially important because although these local researchers may be involved in the data collection process, the hackathon provided a rare role reversal where the data was collected outside Africa and interpreted by these scientists.”
Read more here.