Published: 29-08-2022 09:07 | Updated: 29-08-2022 09:52

Karolinska Institutet assigned responsibility for continued national investment in precision medicine and diagnostics

Karolinska Institutet (KI) has been assigned the task of hosting the national node for data-driven life science in precision medicine and diagnostics. By developing and providing support and optimal conditions, the aim is to drive research in this area forwards regionally, nationally and internationally.

Outside portrait of Anna Martling in a green park.
Anna Martling. Photo: Cecilia Odlind

SciLifeLab’s and Wallenberg’s National Programme for Data-driven Life Science (DDLS) was launched in 2020, as an initiative that aims to establish Sweden among the world-leading nations in data-driven life science. It is a 12-year investment focusing on four strategic research areas:

  • cell and molecular biology,
  • evolution and biological diversity,
  • precision medicine and diagnostics,
  • infectious disease epidemiology and biology.

Thus far, attention has centred on recruiting researchers in these areas. Now, the investment is being further bolstered by the creation of four national data science nodes (DSNs). These are to offer support structures for the research areas. Karolinska Institutet is to be responsible for the precision medicine and diagnostics node.

- For researchers to be able to work efficiently and fully, both soft and hard infrastructures are required. Together with Region Stockholm, Karolinska Institutet has already invested heavily in precision medicine and diagnostics over the past few years. We at KI are proud to have been entrusted the task of building up this node for support structures, comments Anna Martling, dean of Karolinska Institutet’s Campus Nord.

Building networks and collaborations

The task includes: coordinating with other data-related activities across Sweden; and, developing new support structures while also linking to present structures in the precision medicine and diagnostics research area.

- “To find synergies, we need to map out what there currently is and then further develop and build new networks. Collaborations with the regions will also be important to link health data and research so that future patients benefit,” continues Anna.

Examples of functions that are to be developed include: research environments; data management; data storage; ethics and law; and, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Part of international development

Within the task’s framework, KI is currently recruiting cutting-edge expertise to drive development forwards. Skills in health informatics, database management, bioinformatics, data-driven analysis, data security and IT architecture are amongst those being sought.

- Through our responsibility for the node, we will strengthen research; not only in precision medicine and diagnostics in Sweden, but also in data-driven life science generally. For Sweden to be part of and lead the envisaged development, this is an enormously important investment, concludes Anna.