ELIXIR Finland offers data storage services, access to supercomputers and software tools as well as training. Through ELIXIR, life scientists have access to substantial biological and medical data sets.
Over the past ten years, the amount of data produced by bio and medical research has increased dramatically. This has resulted in data collections that require significant resources to maintain. Small, specialised data resources have also increased. ELIXIR uses biomedical data to create quality criteria to identify the most important data resources in Europe. In future, such data will be easy to find as it will be accessible in accordance with the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) of open data.
ELIXIR data sources include, for example, sequence data, nucleotide transcript data, data on protein expression and information on the structure and function of drug-like small molecules. Data generated through metabolomics is also obtained. Metabolomics is a method used for the comprehensive study of small-molecule metabolites and their structure, function and synergistic effects in the cells, tissues, blood and secretions of the body.
Many resources of the ELIXIR nodes, such as files, tools, real-time search interfaces and application programming interfaces (API) are always available.
ELIXIR nodes share and store data and provide computing resources, software and tools for member organisations. ELIXIR Hub creates the data registers and defines standards for the data. It also establishes a decentralised computing infrastructure for biomedical data in Europe.
ELIXIR data resources have been divided into two categories, “core” and “deposition”.
ELIXIR’s key data sources have been duplicated for CSC and merged with CSC’s computing resources. On the other hand, the national data resources maintained by CSC do not meet the “core” and “deposition” criteria of ELIXIR. The situation will change in future. The objective of recording the genomes of the Finnish population for health care purposes is a good example of this. The collected data is valuable for research. The national genome research strategy includes a plan to make this data anonymous in order to support both public and private research. The other Nordic countries also share this vision.
Finnish sample collections are significant for studying the hereditary causes of diseases. Thanks to the SISu project, the data on genetic variation in Finns has been compiled into one database. The open information on genetic ancestry available at sisuproject.fi is unique even on a global scale.
Read more about SISu Data Sources https://www.elixir-finland.org/en/sisu-2/
Finland has a long tradition of collecting and analysing biobank samples and the associated clinical data. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) and CSC – IT Center for Science will collaborate within the framework of three biomedical infrastructure projects in Europe: Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI), European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine (EATRIS) and European Life Science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR).
BBMRI is responsible for biobanks utilised in both clinical research and research conducted on the health effects of lifestyle and the environment. EATRIS, in turn, applies the results of basic research to medical science.
The purpose of the FinHealth Study is to collect up-to-date information on the health and well-being of adults residing in Finland, and on the factors influencing their health and well-being.
Your valuable contribution will
– support the study of disease prevention and treatment
– promote the ability to function and well-being of Finnish people
– improve Finnish health care and welfare services.
The study is carried out at 50 localities in 2017, with the objective of studying 10,000 randomly selected persons over the age of 18.
The study consists of a physical examination and questionnaires. Some subjects also take walking or balance tests or an extensive nutrition interview.
The University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan are conducting extensive genetic research on dogs. The sequencing of the canine genome has opened up many opportunities for uncovering the genetic background of the hereditary diseases, build, coat colour, size and various behavioural characteristics of different breeds. The unique population history and breed structure of dogs make them great candidates for genetic research. Compared to similar human studies, genetic studies on dogs make it possible to identify genes, even those causing multifactorial diseases, from a much smaller collection of samples.
A canine DNA bank has been established at Biomedicum Helsinki for the purpose of genetic research. The samples submitted for research are stored in the DNA bank. Information on the dog and its owner is stored in a secure database. A large collection of samples together with up-to-date health and other information about the dog (e.g. behaviour) provides countless possibilities for genetic research.
The aim of genetic research is to identify genetic defects leading to different hereditary diseases and other breed-specific traits in order to develop genetic tests for diseases for the purposes of breeding and to apply the gained knowledge in the study of human diseases. A new genetic discovery also opens up possibilities for a better understanding of disease mechanisms and provides the basis for developing diagnostic methods, treatments and potential medications.
The completion of the sequencing of the feline genome in early 2008 has enabled diverse genetic research on cats. It has become possible to identify genes that predispose cats to diseases, clarify our knowledge of the domestic cat’s origin and the history of various cat breeds and better understand the genetic background of different feline characteristics. The research is conducted under the faculties of veterinary medicine and medicine of the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center at the university campuses in Viikki and Meilahti.
The aim is to build a comprehensive DNA bank of Finnish pedigree cats that can be used to map the hereditary diseases and characteristics of cats. The research is possible only with the samples submitted by cat owners and breeders. A feline DNA bank has been established at Biomedicum for the purpose of genetic research. The samples submitted for research are stored in the DNA bank. Information on the cat and its owner is stored in a secure database.
Auria Biobank is the first clinical biobank established in Finland. It obtained a licence to operate from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Valvira on March 10, 2014. Auria Biobank has been established by the University of Turku and the hospital districts of Southwest Finland, Satakunta and Vaasa. Approximately 80% of the samples in Auria Biobank are cancer samples. In accordance with the specialities of the hospital districts of Southwest Finland and Satakunta, the biobank supports research in cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in particular.
Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCS) -area of special responsibility and the University of Helsinki have established a clinical biobank that supports the translational research done in the region, and network with national and international biobanks. The research field of Helsinki Biobank is the research done in health and medical science in HUCS area. Helsinki Biobank operates to support research which aims at promoting population health, understanding the factors in disease mechanisms or the development of health care products.
Hematological Biobank is owned by the Finnish Association of Hematology, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and Finnish Red Cross Blood Service. The Association of Finnish Cancer Patients is also involved in Hematological Biobank. Biobanks’s research area covers the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of hematological disorders. Hematological Biobank is a national biobank and collects samples and data from patients with hematological disorder in all Finnish hematological units that have made an agreement on sample collection. The aim of the Hematological Biobank is to collect a comprehensive and high quality sample and data repository for hematology research.
The Biobank of Eastern Finland was established by the hospital district of North Savo, The South Savo Social and Health Care Authority, the hospital district of Eastern Savo, Siun sote – Joint municipal authority for North Karelia social and health services and the University of Eastern Finland. The Biobank of Eastern Finland aims to mediate high quality human samples to medical research to promote development of new products and services that promote public health.
The Central Finland Hospital District and the University of Jyväskylä established a biobank in Jyväskylä that aims to promote research and to support the development of diagnostics and treatment.
The population of Northern Finland is uniquely homogeneous, which makes the sample collections of the Northern Finland Biobank especially valuable for research. Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District (PPSHP), the University of Oulu (UO), Nordlab and the hospital/healthcare districts of Lapland, Länsi-Pohja, Central Ostrobothnia and Kainuu have agreed to establish a biobank in Northern Finland.
Finnish Clinical Biobank Tampere (FCBT) was established by Pirkanmaa Hospital District, University of Tampere, Etelä-Pohjanmaa Hospital District and Kanta-Häme Hospital District. FCBT’s license to operate was granted by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Valvira, on September 8th, 2015.
FCBT’s role is to support disease prevention, studies on the effectiveness or side effects of treatment of patients, and studies exploiting pathological findings. The main focus of the biobank, in accordance with the research strategy defined by the University of Tampere and Pirkanmaa Hospital District, is research in cardiovascular disease, cancer, immunology and type 1 diabetes.
THL Biobank belongs to the National Institute for Health and Welfare. THL Biobank’s registered areas of research include population’s health promotion, identification of factors involved in disease mechanisms, and disease prevention. THL Biobank is a country-wide biobank and hosts a remarkable collection of population and disease-specific samples for research purposes.
The research area of Blood Service biobank is health promotion and prevention of diseases and is specialized in transfusion medicine. The biobank collects samples from blood donors during their blood donation.
Further information on Finnish biobanks:
EMBL data resources and tools
The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA)
The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) is one of the largest public cloud data repositories in the world that contains human data compiled from various bioscience research projects. CSC collaborates with EMBL-EBI to create services that cover data description, data access and interoperability.
Vertebrate and eukaryotic genome library:
Universal Protein Resource: www.uniprot.org/
Protein Data Bank: www.rcsb.org/pdb/