World’s largest health big data institute opens in Oxford
A new £115 million biomedical research centre will pave the way for treatments for some of the biggest population health issues around the globe, potentially improving the everyday lives of millions.
Opened with the support of a £20m gift from the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the centre will bring together researchers from related teams to analyse biomedical data from hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, speeding up both our understanding of diseases and the development of new treatments for conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s and a number of infectious diseases.
The Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery incorporates two related research institutes at the heart of Oxford University’s major biomedical campus in Headington. The two research institutes, the Target Discovery Institute (TDI) and the Big Data Institute (BDI), will lead the development of new types of research activity in the University.
More than six hundred scientists will be based in the centre, from a wide range of research areas, working to define disease more accurately, identify targets for new drugs, and to help us to understand how disease responds to treatment. Molecular and cell biologists, chemists, epidemiologists, statisticians, trialists, computer scientists, informatics specialists, engineers and clinical scientists will all be housed under the same roof, to improve the collaboration between different teams.
Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Technological advances have exponentially increased the information we have about what happens in a variety of disease states. Some of this comes from health care records and some from analysing patient samples. Being able to efficiently interrogate this data will play an increasing role in both research and treatment development in the coming years, and by bringing together world-leading research teams under one roof we will be able to accelerate this process significantly.’
Speaking at the opening, Sir Li Ka-shing said: ‘I believe the work done here will make history, and will make miracles. I am very honoured to have been able to join Oxford University in this noble enterprise, and consider myself truly privileged to have been able to play a part in enabling the miracles and history that will be made here.’