Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

ATARiS Informatics Platform Hits the Jackpot

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Bookmark and Share
ATARiS is one of several tools developed at the Broad Institute to precisely tune in to the signals within noisy datasets.

Listening to data isn’t easy. Massive amounts of data are often messy and complicated. But somewhere within the cacophony, information can harmonize and produce the sweet sound of discovery – if you have the right tools with which to hear it.

ATARiS is one of several tools developed at the Broad Institute to precisely tune in to the signals within datasets. The original idea for ATARiS came about a few years ago when members of Jill Mesirov’s computational biology and bioinformatics group, Bill Hahn's cancer biology group, and the Broad RNAi Platform were trying to address a common problem from the world of RNAi research. RNAi – short for RNA interference – allows researchers to “turn off” a gene or decrease that gene’s activity. Ideally, every gene in the genome would be paired with an RNAi reagent that could turn it – and only it – off. Instead, most RNAi reagents also disrupt other genes (a frustrating phenomenon known as off-target effects). Without a way to easily isolate on-target effects, the power of RNAi wanes.

RNAi is a critical tool for many projects at the Broad and beyond, including Project Achilles. This project – a joint effort between researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad – seeks to pinpoint cancer’s most important weaknesses. To do so, researchers use RNAi to turn off genes in hundreds of cell lines. About 50,000 RNAi reagents have been used to target 11,000 of the 21,000 human genes (about five RNAi reagents for each of these genes) in order to see which genes are critical for cancer’s survival. These crucial genes could become the targets of drugs in the future.

“What we want to do is tune in on a specific target effect,” says Diane Shao, a graduate student in senior associate member Bill Hahn’s lab at the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. However, while researchers can pick out an RNAi reagent that seems particularly adept at killing cancer cells, they can’t be entirely certain which of its effects – on-target or off-target – are bringing about the desired result.

ATARiS helps cut through the noise from the multitude of variables and values. The computational method looks for patterns across multiple samples, assessing the performance of individual RNAi reagents to target specific genes. This allows researchers to determine which gene – rather than which RNAi reagent – is most of interest.

“ATARiS makes RNAi data more accessible,” says Aviad Tsherniak, a computational biologist in Jill Mesirov’s lab at the Broad and the key architect of ATARiS. “It simplifies it and standardizes it, and it makes the data compatible with other kinds methods.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

GTEx: Useful Expression For Cancer Research
GTEx Project has recently published several papers reporting on findings from its two-year pilot phase.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Taking Immune Cells for a Test Drive
Combining biological experimentation on human white blood cells with advanced computational methods can help explain the functional impact of human genetic variation on immune disease.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Researchers Announce GenomeSpace Environment to Connect Genomic Tools
GenomeSpace environment currently connects six tools.
Friday, June 15, 2012
An ABSOLUTEly New View of the Cancer Genome
New method called ABSOLUTE sheds light on the evolution and population structure of cells within tumors.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Tool Detects Patterns Hidden in Vast Data Sets
Researchers from the Broad Institute and Harvard University have developed a tool that can tackle large data sets in a way that no other software program can.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Scientific News
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
New Autism Genes Are Revealed in Largest-Ever Study
Work draws more detailed picture of genetic risk, sheds light on sex differences in diagnosis.
Influenza A Viruses More Likely To Emerge In East Asia Than North America
Novel strains of influenza A are more likely to emerge in East Asia than in North America, according to a global analysis by the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and EcoHealth Alliance.
Bone Risks Linked to Genetic Variants
A large-scale genomic study uncovered novel genetic variants and led researchers to an unexpected gene that affects bone density and fracture risk.
The Final Word on STAP
Researchers fail to replicate STAP study; computational analysis reveals genomic inconsistency.
Study Adds to Evidence That Viruses Are Alive
A new analysis supports the hypothesis that viruses are living entities that share a long evolutionary history with cells, researchers report.
CSI -- On The Metabolite's Trail
Bioinformaticians at the University of Jena make the most efficient search engine for molecular structures available online.
Potential Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Isolated
Researchers from North Carolina State University utilized a highly sensitive mass spectrometry analysis to identify and measure difficult-to-detect N-glycan biomarkers associated with ovarian cancers in stages I – IV.
Smartphone App to Monitor Serious Blood Disorder
A researcher from Florida Atlantic University has come up with a unique way to monitor sickle cell disease -- a serious blood disorder -- using a smart phone.
Network Control: Letting Noise Lead The Way
Research team leverage cells' noisy nature to keep them healthy.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos