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Cloud computing brings cost of protein research down to Earth
Date:4/10/2009

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center in Milwaukee have just made the very expensive and promising area of protein research more accessible to scientists worldwide.

They have developed a set of free tools called ViPDAC (virtual proteomics data analysis cluster), to be used in combination with Amazon's inexpensive "cloud computing" service, which provides the option to rent processing time on its powerful servers; and free open-source software from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Manitoba.

Their research appears online in Journal of Proteomic Research and is funded by the NIH Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Proteomics Innovation Center at the Medical College. Proteomics is a biomedical research term used to describe the large-scale study of all the proteins expressed by an organism. It usually involves the identification of proteins and determination of their modifications in both normal and disease states.

One of the major challenges for many laboratories setting up proteomics programs has been obtaining and maintaining the very costly computational infrastructure required for analysis of the vast flow of proteomics data generated by mass spectrometry instruments used to determine the elemental composition as well as chemical structure of a molecule, according to senior investigator, Simon Twigger, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology.

"We're applying this technology in our Proteomics Center to study cardiovascular disease, the effects of radiation damage, and in our collaboration with the University of Wisconsin- Madison stem cell research group," he says.

With cloud computing making the analysis less expensive and more accessible, many more users can set up and customize their own systems. Investigators can analyze their data in greater depth than previously possible, making it possible for them to learn more about t
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Contact: Eileen La Susa
lasusa@mcw.edu
414-456-4700
Medical College of Wisconsin
Source:Eurekalert

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