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Interdisciplinary team designs a new tool for high-throughput proteomics


The information age of genomics has revolutionized biology and medicine and it is still growing, powered by high-throughput DNA sequencing and equally impressive computational methods to handle the copious amounts of data collected. It is time for proteomics research to join the party.

An interdisciplinary team at the University of Tennessee and the Organic and Biological Mass Spectrometry Group (OSMS) at Oak Ridge National Lab built a computational data analysis tool to bring the power of high performance computing (HPC) to high-throughput protein sequencing. The combination of these resources is a solid and significant first step toward enabling the fast and sophisticated analysis of proteomes that will allow researchers to revolutionize the study of biology.

PRISMS (Proteome Informatics Suite for Mass Spectrometry) integrates the data storage, access, and management requirements of sequenced proteins into a singular web-based interface. The software utilizes the substantially increased computing power of an HPC cluster to more efficiently and effectively conduct computational analyses. These data can then be immediately accessible, reproducibly evaluated, and increasingly mined for more complex and intriguing research questions. PRISMS frees the biologist to focus on understanding the biology and not on managing the data.

This research was conducted as part of the Scalable Computing and Leading Edge Innovative Technologies graduate training program (SCALE-IT), which is funded through an NSF Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training grant (IGERT award# 0801540). Brian Erikson and Dr. Bob Hettich are with the OBMS. Rachel Adams, Sally Ellingson, and Dylan Storey are doctoral students in the Genome Science and Technology graduate program. Rick Weber is a doctoral student in Computer Engineering.

Address Goals

PRISMS will be a key enabler of high-throughput proteomics. It will be made available to researchers interested in incorporating comparative proteomics into their research paradigm. Furthermore, it is a stepping stone toward address the de novo peptide sequencing challenge that will pave the way for next generation proteome sequencing.