Päivi Östling aims to use her ten years of experience in precision medicine research to enable the best possible synergies in activities and projects at SciLifeLab. SciLifeLab also recently launched a Precision Medicine capability, what is the difference between the capability and the DDLS expert group, and how are they linked?
Nine members have been assigned to the Data Driven Precision Medicine and Diagnostics research area specific expert group, including Janne Lehtiö, SciLifeLab Scientific Director and DDLS steering group member, who will have the coordinating role. Other members of the group are Päivi Östling, SciLifeLab/Karolinska Institutet; Gunnar Cedersund, Linköping University; Sven Nelander, Uppsala University; Lars Klareskog, Karolinska Institutet; Johan Trygg, Umeå University; Patrik Georgii-Hemming, Karolinska Institutet; Francis Lee, Chalmers University of Technology; and David Gisselsson Nord, Lund University.
The members, all leading scientists in their field, will advise on matters within the scientific programs of the SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS). Päivi Östling has been actively involved with precision cancer medicine research since 2011, and is certainly a “research area expert”. That she is now a member of the Data Driven Precision Medicine and Diagnostics research area specific expert group should come as no surprise. Östling hopes to use her hands-on expertise from precision medicine research to enable the best possible synergies with all on-going activities and projects within the area.
Päivi Östling also leads the SciLifeLab Precision Medicine Capability. SciLifeLab capabilities aim to connect infrastructure platforms, technologies, and data-driven life science initiatives, focusing on specific themes and grand challenges. This is done together with the research community, with links to health care, patients and industry. In this case, the SciLifeLab Precision Medicine Capability and the Data Driven Precision Medicine and Diagnostics research area specific expert group is, as their names imply, involving similar themes. So, what is the difference between these two entities? According to Päivi Östling, they are linked but somewhat different from each other.
“The expert group is working on data-driven life science whereas the capability development is focused on raising precision medicine preparedness of our technology platforms. In other words, the capability is about generating the data on which the data-driven research will be based on in the future” says Päivi Östling.
Why is both the capability and the expert group needed?
“More often than not, the data generators are not the same researchers as the data-driven ones. To build a technology capability on PM you need deep experience of how high quality data sets are generated. This experimental work needs to happen in close collaboration with the technology experts at the platforms. It is important that the understanding of how data sets are created is closely linked, transferred and managed to the data-driven research of the future. Therefore, in my mind both are needed and are complementary sides of the coin” says Päivi Östling.