Purdue University is awarded a grant to develop ionomicHUB (iHUB), an international collaborative cyber research environment to enhance our ability to identify and understand the genes and gene networks that function to control the ionome, the mineral nutrient and trace element composition of an organism or tissue. The iHUB is a collaborative workspace with components that integrate both cyberinfrastructure and human interactions to maximize both community access to ionomic resources, and knowledge extraction from these resources. Specifically, the iHUB project will deliver (1) tools to allow the easy sharing and annotation of data, (2) the LitCloud: A tool to allow the easy filtering and sharing of literature, (3) tools to allow the coordinated collection of ionomics data from distributed sites, (4) tools to allow the easy sharing of presentations and lectures, (5) tools to allow the self formation of online work groups and communication, (6) the iHUB interaction map (iHUB interactome), and (7) on-line help tools. The iHUB will be founded on the existing public ionomics database (www.ionomicshub.org) which currently contains ionomic data on over 200,000 samples, including Arabidopsis thaliana, rice and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To ensure integration of the iHUB with the community we also plan workshops and scientist exchanges.

These iHUB functionalities will help bridge the growing gap between the high-throughput generation of ionomic data and the efficient probing of gene function on a genomic and comparative genomic scale. The iHUB will facilitate open communication and exchange of information, and will lower the barrier for entry into the field of ionomics, allowing a diverse set of researchers from developed and developing nations to participate in advancing the field. The information obtained from the discoveries facilitated by the iHUB will be valuable from the point of view of improving crop yields, enhancing agricultural sustainability, and improving food quality for human nutrition.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Peter H. McCartney
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Purdue University
West Lafayette
United States
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