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13 January, 2022 - 09:50 By Tony Quested

Eagle-Quadram alliance boosts microbiome science

A new partnership committed to promoting the understanding of microbiome science has been set up by Cambridge’s Eagle Genomics and the Quadram Institute in Norwich.

The partnership will involve sharing datasets, innovation pipelines and tools to facilitate the understanding of complex microbiome data through Eagle Genomics’ AI-driven e[datascientist]™ platform.

Eagle Genomics is a Deep Tech software business pioneering the application of network science to biology; QI is a world-leading institute creating new interfaces between food science, gut biology, and human health.

The alliance builds on an agreement struck in September between Eagle and the Earlham Institute, a Norwich-based leader in data-intensive bioscience research. 

As scientists’ understanding of the role of the microbiome – the population of trillions of different bacteria and microbes that colonise our tissues, organs, and environment – and its role in both health and disease continues to improve, gaining a deeper understanding of these complex biological systems has become critical.

By applying advances in genetic sequencing technology, laboratories across the world can now identify which species of microbes are present in different microbiome ecosystems, and also comprehend, from reading the sequence of individual genes, which functions those microbes might have.

Analysis of ‘multi-omic’ data from humans, as well as that of soil, plants, animals, and their interactions with their diverse hosts, could also help scientists develop innovations to meet the rapidly increasing nutritional requirements of a growing global population.

Such an approach would also help reduce the carbon footprint of sectors such as food processing and agriculture.

Eagle Genomics, which is focused on driving the digitisation of scientific R & D across the Food, Healthcare, Personal Care and Beauty and AgBio industries, will work with research group leaders at the Quadram Institute to efficiently exploit multi-dimensional, multi-omic biological data. 

e[datascientist]™will provide the scientists with the opportunity to share their work more widely and establish new connections, in addition to using the platform to more easily interrogate, integrate and streamline new datasets. Such developments could help further advance the scientists' research - including the potential to translate their results.

Anthony Finbow, CEO, Eagle Genomics, said: “Our new knowledge partnership with the Quadram Institute presents an exciting opportunity to share and provide access to novel datasets and tools through e[datascientist]™, providing invaluable insights in minutes rather than months. 

“At Eagle Genomics, we firmly believe that the microbiome has a critical role to play across numerous industries, both now and in the future. In order better to understand these intricate relationships and unlock radical innovation opportunities, it is critical to be able to efficiently interrogate multi-dimensional microbiome data. 

“This is where e[datascientist] is playing an invaluable role. By harnessing nature – including its complex networks and associated multi-dimensional data – we can help tackle the world’s ‘grand challenges’ while unlocking significant economic potential.”

D. Roberto Zanchi, head of business development, Quadram Institute, said: “Our world-leading work on genomics and multi-omics continues to help both the UK and low and middle income countries around the world deliver genomic surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and is built on our long-standing expertise around pathogens in the food chain. 

“Data science is also absolutely key to our research at the Quadram Institute into the gut microbiome and its influence on human health, all of which is mediated by the complex interactions of micro-organisms, the food we eat, and the environment of the gastro-intestinal tract itself.”

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