Supported also by philanthropic funds from a crowdfunding promoted by Coop (Unicoop Firenze; Unicoop Tirreno; Coop Centro Italia; Coop Alleanza 3.0; Coop Unione Amiatina e Coop Reno), the Data Science for Health (DaScH) Laboratory is the new TLS research unit for the application of data sciences and new technologies at the service of scientific research.
The DaScH-Lab can rely on the expertise of a diverse group of computational and machine-learning scientists working at the interface with experimental teams on a wide range of life science challenges.
DaScH-Lab develops and applies innovative approaches to understand biology through computing, focusing on data-rich problems to facilitate the discovery of biologic products against infectious diseases.
The lab covers different areas of data science, including:
Population genomics and immuno-informatics: analysis of pangenomes from bacteria and viruses, of immune repertoires from healthy and diseased individuals, and their interplay.
Computational structural biology: development of deep-learning models combined with molecular dynamics simulations for the analysis of antigen-antibody interactions, to improve or design ab-initio biologic products.
Digital microscopy: use of deep-learning techniques, including generative-adversarial networks (GANs), for the high-throughput analysis of confocal microscopy images to explore host-pathogen interactions at the sub-cellular level and automate the in silico analysis of compounds.
Advanced Data Platforms to manage and integrate high-dimensional biologic data-flows, in collaboration with the Siena Artificial Intelligence Hub network.
To perform its activities, the lab uses a balanced mix of on-prem and in-cloud computational resources, including a Virtual-Reality laboratory for real-time molecular dynamic (MD) simulations and structural modelling that allows the team to explore the dynamics of interacting molecules, a Google Cloud Platform and a strategic collaboration with the University of Pisa high-performance computing centre.
The lab has established strategic collaborations with Academic partners in Italy and abroad also to support joint doctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships, including the Universities Siena, Modena and Cambridge (UK).