February 19, 2013

The DREAM Project Joins Sage Bionetworks to Enable Collaborative Science

The DREAM Project Joins Sage Bionetworks to Enable Collaborative Science

Press Release | Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:01am EST

SEATTLE--(Business Wire)--
Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization, announced today that it will merge
its efforts with that of the DREAM Project to run open science computational
challenges, which foster the broader collaboration of the research community and
provide a meaningful impact to both discovery and clinical research. 

This collaboration will pair Sage Bionetworks` Synapse, an open compute platform
that allows data to be shared and worked on collaboratively by teams of teams,
with the experience that the DREAM Project brings from running 24 successful
computational challenges over the last five years. 

Sage Bionetworks and DREAM are convinced that open computational challenges
represent an innovative new method to rapidly share and evolve predictive
disease models that would otherwise take years to produce using the usual siloed
research paradigms. Their merger provides a collaborative framework that will
bring the ideals of open science one step closer to reality. 

"The traditional ways of doing science has researchers too focused on being the
first to publish," remarked Dr. Gustavo Stolovitzky, Founder of the DREAM
Project. "This has given rise to a culture of secrecy about scientific results
and data. By refocusing our efforts on creating a collaborative research
environment, we at DREAM and Sage Bionetworks can foster a complementary way of
doing science, which will accelerate the pace of discovery with the goal of
contributing to a faster reduction of suffering due to disease. This seems to me
like an ethical imperative." 

Sage Bionetworks and DREAM`s merger builds off of the success of their recent
2012 Sage Bionetworks-DREAM Breast Cancer Prognosis Challenge that for the first
time, allowed participants to share code in the context of a computational
biology challenge. Participating teams were asked to submit their computational
model to Synapse as open source code made viewable to all participants: their
models were assessed against a hidden dataset and their scores were reported on
a real-time leaderboard. The combination of immediate feedback and code sharing
allowed participants to improve their leaderboard ranking by adjusting their own
models or by borrowing the code of others to forge new models. 

Synapse is built to meet the needs of the data scientists that participate in
DREAM`s challenges. It provides an open repository of analysis-ready data that
scientific teams can work on in an open, online form accessible by all through a
collaborative web portal. 

The merger will allow Sage Bionetworks and DREAM to run several challenges
similar to the Breast Cancer Prognosis Challenge every year. Dr. Stephen Friend,
President and Founder of Sage Bionetworks, remarked, "With the growing
affordability of genomic data and wide availability of cloud-based computing, we
know it is timely for us to join our efforts to scale and dream beyond the great
things that DREAM has already enabled. We want to evolve challenges so that
solutions from the last phase become the starting point for a new step towards
meaningful validation, and where newly created datasets might allow the
answering of important clinical questions. These are the approaches that will
bring about the promises of Precision Medicine."
Press Release