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Maastricht University receives Agilent award

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Dr Chris Evelo and the department of bioinformatics at Maastricht University have received an Agilent Thought Leader Award, supporting development of software to integrate different types of biological data. The goal of this award is to help accelerate breakthroughs in disease research by facilitating integrative systems biology approaches.

The Evelo Lab helped develop WikiPathways.org as a community-curated platform for structuring multi-omics data and the associated open-access pathway analysis tool PathVisio. The Agilent Thought Leader Award will fund development of tools for visualising metabolite fluxes using PathVisio. The goal is to make modelling results much more accessible to biologists and easier for them to interpret.

'Our work is aimed at achieving better understanding of large biological datasets,' Dr Evelo said. 'For this we need the context of biology that we already know and the integration of many types of data. This grant allows us to use existing representation of biological pathways to view flux data from models. That will model results which are much easier to interpret than abstract graphs.'

The tools that will be developed in Dr Evelo's lab will also help researchers who develop flux modelling approaches to improve their models and facilitate their distribution. Basically, these efforts will build a bridge between biologists and metabolic modellers, enabling both communities to better leverage each others’ insights.