Boosting machine learning skills to speed up proteomics research
December 2020 - A new generation of researchers will be trained with a comprehensive set of computational skills, including state-of-the-art machine learning and data visualization techniques, to study proteins in living organisms.
Proteins are the building blocks of life, giving cells structure, catalysing reactions through enzymes or fighting off infections through antibodies. Therefore, the study of the set of proteins of the cell—the cellular proteome—and unravelling their interactions and dynamics plays a vital role in the diagnosis of human diseases, as well as the development of new treatments for conditions as varied as dementia or cancer.
Thanks to rapid advances in machine learning and data visualization, researchers have now the unprecedented opportunity to mine large datasets to advance into a better understanding of the proteome and its interaction with the underlying genes. The new processing algorithms can reveal hidden structures, interactions, and protein modifications, while interactive and highly-visual tools open new experimental possibilities with the integration and presentation of proteomics data with other molecular information.
The Proteomics Unit of the Centre for Genomic Regulation and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra - part of OmicsTech -, together with ten other European research institutes, small businesses and industry partners, will start a new programme to train a new generation of researchers with the latest machine learning and data visualization skills to boost this burgeoning research field.
The PhD students enrolled within this programme will also gain other transferable, technical skills related to mass spectrometry, data processing, science communication, data management, and responsible research and innovation.
The international consortium will be led by Eduard Sabidó, Head of the Proteomics Unit of the CRG and the UPF, and will be receiving 4 million euros to start the programme in January 2021.
Eduard Sabidó, scientist-in-charge of the training programme says:
“In PROTrEIN we have put together an ambitious scientific and training programme to tackle the challenges in proteomics research and the training of highly valuated computational researchers.”
Sergi Beltran, Head of Bioinformatics Unit and the Data Analysis Team at the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG) -also part of OmicsTech-, who will lead one of the projects, says:
“The ITN will contribute to scientifically and technically advance the field while providing a training framework, but it will also have a direct return to society, as we aim to help with the diagnosis of some rare disease patients.”
The programme – named PROTrEIN – will be funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN), a highly competitive part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research funding scheme. ITNs bring together universities, research institutes and other sectors from across the world to train researchers to doctorate level. A total of 114 projects will be funded in this call, which had a success rate of 8.9%.
PROTrEIN opens a call today to recruit 15 PhD students at labs based in Spain, France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Finland. Applicants can be of any nationality but must satisfy the eligibility requirements for the MSCA-ITN Programme. The call is open until the 28th of February 2021, an application is solely possible via the PROTrEIN application form.