Our projects in scientific coordination, challenges and benchmarking, and digital health span across our teams in research, technology, and governance. Being cross-disciplinary and open enables us to collaborate more effectively.
Tackling the complexity and scale of biomedical research requires interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts that leverage aggregated knowledge, cutting-edge tools, and shared resources across scientific communities. Sage works closely with different research communities to define available resources, use cases, and scientific objectives in order to develop resource management strategies for standardization, curation, coordination and dissemination of resources. Sage also uses community engagement strategies to maximize the value of existing resources, motivate collaboration, and accelerate scientific discovery across multiple biomedical research areas. Our scientific teams focus on research-enabling activities in a wide array of disease areas including neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease, cancer, rare disease, auto-immune conditions, immuno-oncology and complex syndromes.
Much of the work we do at Sage Bionetworks requires the support of innovative technological solutions. The Sage Technology Platform team partners with Sage’s scientific teams to develop applications that support their research collaborations. When common needs emerge across multiple projects, we work to develop general-purpose services and tools. Whenever possible, we work to coordinate with open-source communities and standards organizations to facilitate adoption of the resources we build into new research programs – both at Sage by other organizations.
Our technology development process starts with a focus on user-centered design. Whether we are serving researchers or study participants, our design team takes the time to talk with the individuals who will interact with our tools, and incorporate their perspectives into our work. Our web and mobile development teams have engineered scientific applications ranging from supporting the distribution and reuse of complex biomedical data to helping patients better track their conditions. Applications developed at Sage leverage an open API to the Sage Platform – a set of web services providing sophisticated data management capabilities built completely on state-of-the-art cloud computing technologies. Our approach provides a foundation for secure and ethical handling of sensitive biomedical research data that is fully compliant with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CFR Part 11.
Governance and Ethics
If science is going to work better together, new kinds of governance must be at its core. Governance is thus an essential part of the Sage Bionetworks’ approach to supporting innovative science with technology. The team explores the real-world implications, including ethical and social issues, of open-data sharing, developing policies and procedures for the responsible collection, use, and reuse of research assets. Where traditional governance models are used to protect institutions against risks of litigation, Sage’s model uses governance to enable fair and transparent research, to amplify good behavior, and emphasize the importance of proper attribution.
Resources and policies produced by the Governance Team, including novel approaches to informed consent, clinical protocols, and data access, are implemented by Sage’s scientists and engineers to support their work on collaborative science platforms and mobile health research efforts, and are available for open use in projects worldwide.