Outreach in Open Targets: supercharge your target identification skills

Life at Open Targets Aug 5, 2016

What is it?

Outreach, you may have heard the word before.

But what is it, really?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, outreach is an effort to bring services or information to people where they live or spend time.

So, these are very much the efforts of Open Targets: bring training, support, help, and dissemination of biological data and tools to people where they live AND work. With that in mind, Open Targets’s hired me and here I am launching and introducing Open Targets Outreach.

How does it work?

I can reach out to user communities worldwide via training sessions, and deliver these at your institution through workshops, or at your own desk, with webinars.

Email me to find out how to host a workshop or to arrange a webinar.

I’ll introduce the Open Targets project and its Platform, a comprehensive and robust web app for access and visualisation of biological data. The sessions are interactive, include hands-on experience and can be tailor made. This means that I can cover use cases relevant to your institution, e.g. focus on therapeutic areas or specific diseases; therefore I ask participants to complete a short pre-course survey.

The courses are free of charge, but my travel, accommodation and sustenance costs need to be covered by the hosts.

If you can not cover these expenses, that’s not a problem at all. I can provide distance training via webinars, at your own desk. Webinars are therefore 100% free. The minimum number of attendees for both workshops and webinars is 10.

Delivering a workshop in Edinburgh

The requirements for the training sessions are a computer (or computer room with a projector for the workshops) and fast internet connection for both attendees and me. You should have Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (version 11 at least) installed on your computer(s) too.

By the end of the workshop, you will be able to carry out effective searches of biological data, and use the Open Targets Platform to visualise genes, genetic variants, disease ontology, pathways (and more) in the context of targets and disease associations in humans for drug discovery.

In addition to workshops and webinars, you can also get my help via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and BioStars. These are some of the channels I actively use to disseminate the news, features and research findings of the Open Targets Consortium and our Platform.

If you would rather just have a chat about Open Targets, or suggest improvements, that’s possible too. You can do that if you email me.

Who is it for?

Helping  out a user during a workshop coffee break in the Netherlands

Everyone and anyone really, as long you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following:

  • Do you working on human disease biology?

  • Are you trying to identify a biological target for a new therapy or perhaps developing a new drug?

  • Would you like to find drug targets that have been validated by genome-scale experiments and cutting edge analysis?

GSK, EMBL-EBI, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Biogen, Takeda, and Celgene have all said yes too. This has led to the creation and expansion of the Open Targets partnership.

What is Open Targets?

In a nutshell, Open Targets is a public-private initiative to transform drug discovery by enabling the systematic identification and prioritisation of targets. It was originally called CTTV, for Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation, then was rebranded to Open Targets in April 2016.

Open Targets combine large-scale genomic experiments with statistical and computational techniques to identify and validate the causal links between targets, pathways and diseases. We generate both data and analytical processes by a set of interlinking projects.

In addition to generating experimental data, Open Targets developed the Open Targets Platform, a web application for access and visualisation of publicly available data (UniProt, ChEMBL, Ensembl, NHGRI-EBI GWAS, EuropePMC, COSMIC, GTEx), which supports all stages of drug discovery. Check Open Targets: a platform for therapeutic target identification and validation, one of the breakthrough articles from Nucleic Acids Research.