Dementias Platform UK launches new ground-breaking Imaging Hub on their Data Portal SeRP

A ground-breaking imaging hub, developed by SeRP tenant, the Dementias Platform UK Data Portal team based in Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School, will provide researchers with unique access to brain imaging scans, together with phenotypic and genomic data, enabling more complex research analysis into dementia.

The DPUK Data Portal brings together records of over 3 million people in a free-to-access resource. Researchers can identify which cohorts are relevant to them, apply for access to the data and then analyse it in SeRP’s secure, remote environment complete with data linkage and analysis packages.

Imaging Hub allows for complex research to be carried out

SeRP enables the new Imaging Hub to bring together raw imaging data from 20 datasets, which includes a range of imaging scans, such as structural, functional and diffusion MRI scans and standardises them according to the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS). This data can be linked with the phenotypic and genomic data associated with them, allowing for complex research analysis across modalities to be carried out.

Imaging data discovery tool

DPUK has created an imaging data discovery tool that allows researchers to see at a glance the imaging data and the types of scans available. DPUK is also developing data insight reports to give an in-depth view of the datasets including information on disease subtypes and collection methods. The tool can be accessed at: https://portal.dementiasplatform.uk/AnalyseData/ImagingMatrix

Gateway to advanced analyses and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning

The Imaging Hub will allow researchers to access large numbers of brain imaging scans, accompanied by a wealth of phenotypic and genomic data collected by cohorts, allowing advanced analyses such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The use of AI and ML in the field of dementia research is growing, owing to increasing amounts of generated data that can be used to train models. The DPUK Data Portal Imaging Hub allows researchers to access over 6,000 participants with imaging data, all standardised to the BIDS format, allowing easier automated scripting across datasets. This will enable researchers to carry out a large-scale analysis within the Portal to answer wide-ranging research questions.

The Data Portal also supports advanced analysis of imaging data by providing specialist imaging software with a secure, remote virtual environment. The SeRP Secure environment permits collaborative analyses to take place within the data portal with only the results allowed to leave. With a SeRP Scale High-Performance Computing (HPC) cluster, the Data Portal’s Imaging Hub is equipped to handle the demands of computationally heavy analyses.

Depositing data with DPUK Data Portal Imaging Hub

SeRP’s scalability affords researchers using the Imaging Hub the capability to store the exceptionally large datasets inherent in medical imaging research. Coupled with the Hub’s imaging pipeline this data is standardised, defaced, and tagged for improved provisioning resulting in a greater level of research readiness.

SeRP Co-director and DPUK Data Portal Lead, Professor Ronan Lyons, said: “The Imaging Hub opens up a new world of possibilities for researchers – giving them easy access to a wealth of data – which can help transform our understanding of dementia.”

For more information on the DPUK Data Portal Imaging Hub including how to apply to use, access, or deposit data, visit  https://portal.dementiasplatform.uk