From the CEO Desk

Keith_Elliston_Casual

Keith Elliston, CEO tranSMART

July 17th, 2015

The past month has been a very busy one for the Foundation. We organized and hosted our inaugural datathon, in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It took us 8 months to organize and prepare for the datathon, but we held a successful event starting on June 30th at the Thomson Reuters offices in the Boston Seaport District. We had 25 attending neuroscientists, data scientists and statisticians who formed into 5 teams, to address three main challenges: Cross Neurodegenerative Disease Biomarkers, Novel Research Findings, and new interfaces to the tranSMART platform. The teams used the tranSMART instance containing the ADNI, PPMI, LRRK2, Biofind and 10 curated PD Geo datasets provided by the University of Luxembourg and hosted at the Laboratory of Neuroimaging (LONI). We had some challenges with getting approvals to access and use the data for the datathon, but LONI kindly agreed to host the tranSMART instances on their servers, and we were able to get all the participants approved to access the private studies. The University of Michigan team worked with the LONI team to get the instances up and running, and to support them throughout the datathon. The teams had a great time working with new collaborators, and making new findings on these newly integrated datasets. There were a number of very compelling results - including potential predictors of progression in PD, and several cross-disease biomarkers. We are inviting the teams to present their results in a special Open-Data session at the upcoming Foundation Annual Meeting (October 19-21 in Amsterdam).

In addition, the Foundation’s first full fiscal year ended on June 30th, and the Foundation management team worked with our Finance Committee to form and present our FY16 budget to the board for its approval at our Board Meeting on July 15th. The board approved that budget, and it includes new investments in key areas for the Foundation. We are increasing our program spend by ~360%, which includes the initial funding for the tranSMART Fellows program (part-time Code, Community and Content Fellows). We are also increasing our Marketing spend by 50%, as we continue to invest in growing the tranSMART community. We have allocated funding for project management support - to help implement our key Quality Initiative, and for business development support to help us to increase our ability to invest in the platform and community. The board expressed their excitement about our plans for the new fiscal year, and we look forward to continuing to grow our platform and community.

I hope you have a great rest of the Summer, and look forward to seeing you at the Foundation Annual Meeting in Amsterdam!

Best regards,
 

Keith

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