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Birmingham University to work with Chinese hospital of health data project

Data scientists from the University of Birmingham will work with one of China’s biggest hospital on a patient information scheme to help improve healthcare for thousands of people.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Computational Biology will work with scientists and healthcare professionals from Chengdu’s West China Hospital to link ‘Omics’ data with clinical information across a range of conditions.

Professor Wan Xuehong and Professor Jon Frampton sign an agreement to set up a Joint Research Institute.

The collaboration is intended to enable research to improve both the immediate benefits of patients and improve understanding of the cause of diseases.

Researchers will use data to examine a huge amount of medical information, potentially allowing them to better understand a range of conditions through work in precision medicine, translation medicine and rare diseases.

The agreement was signed by professor Jon Frampton, director of the University of Birmingham’s China Institute, who commented: “The University of Birmingham is a world leader in data sciences and our partnership with West China Hospital will help to increase medical understanding and improve outcomes for thousands of patients in China.

“Our expertise in data sciences is reflected in the University being invited to join The Alan Turing Institute. We very much hope to establish a collaboration in Chengdu that allows our experts to solve major health problems facing China and the wider world.”

The University of Birmingham was recently invited to join the Alan Turing Institute – a British institute set up to advance the potential of data science.

Professor Jean-Baptiste Cazier, director of the Centre for Computational Biology at the University of Birmingham, and lead for the University’s Data Intensive Life Sciences programme area for the Alan Turing Institute, said: “We have the opportunity to work with West China Hospital with their invaluable knowledge in their patients’ conditions and use our data science expertise in fields ranging from precision medicine and rare diseases to translational medicine to better understand a broad range of conditions and help deliver the right drugs to the right people.”

The University is also currently working with Birmingham Health Partners on a £54 million project funded by Health Data Research UK. As part of the project, the University of Birmingham will lead one of six new MRC research sites across the UK to use data science to address challenging healthcare issues.

Professor Georgios Gkoutos, associate Director of the Health Data Research UK, said: “This Joint Research Institute and our collaboration with the West China Hospital offers the ideal setting to unleash the potential for data and technologies to achieve the breakthrough of ‘Translational Medicine to Precision Medicine’ and revolutionise the way we are able to prevent, detect and diagnose.”

Professor Wan Xuehong, executive vice president of West China Hospital, Sichuan University, said: “I believe that through the strong alliance with West China Hospital and Birmingham University, we will make breakthroughs in rare diseases, precision medicine, and translational medicine, etc., for the benefit of people in both countries and even the world.”



Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via: reece.armstrong@rapidnews.com


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