Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spanish-language version of the T2D Knowledge Portal launched

Members of the Portal team were in Mexico City on January 28 to unveil a Spanish translation of the T2D Knowledge Portal, which represents a major step towards democratizing genomic research on diabetes. “We want to harness the brainpower of the entire scientific community to crack open the genes, molecules and pathways that cause type 2 diabetes”, said Jose Florez, Principal Investigator of the Portal team at the Broad Institute. Better accessibility of the Portal for Spanish speakers will help expand the brainpower that can be applied to this global health problem.

During our visit to the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Broad Institute Director Eric Lander presented a talk on the Portal. Afterwards, we led a hands-on workshop for about 30 Mexican researchers, clinicians, and students on how to use the Portal for scientific discovery.

Poster advertising our workshop
Guidance from the Carlos Slim Foundation and its Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine in the Americas (SIGMA), one of the funders of the T2D Knowledge Portal, inspired the creation of the Spanish-language version of this web resource. “Type 2 diabetes impacts up to 14 percent of the adult population in Mexico—clearly, tackling the disease is one of our biggest public health imperatives,” said Dr. Roberto Tapia Conyer, the executive director of the Carlos Slim Foundation. “Our investment in the portal, and in SIGMA, is an investment in the health of future generations in Mexico.”

The Portal contains genetic data from more than 100,000 individuals. It currently comprises information from 28 large genetic association studies performed by several major international networks, including recent SIGMA studies that uncovered major genetic risk factors for T2D among Latin American populations.

Previously, it was difficult for anyone other than select specialists to fully access and analyze these large-scale genomic data sets. Now, the Portal provides worldwide access to these studies for all students and researchers, and the Spanish-language version expands its accessibility even further.

Lander commented, “The open sharing of data is fundamental to scientific progress, but it isn’t always easy to achieve. This portal doesn’t just help us overcome that barrier—by tapping into data on patients from around the world, it’s also going to help lead scientists to the genetic risk factors most prevalent among Latin American populations and others that have been underrepresented in large-scale genomic studies.”

Members of the visiting Portal team, happy after a successful workshop