The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Spearheaded by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in partnership with Los Alamos (LANL), Oak Ridge (ORNL), and Pacific Northwest (PNNL) national laboratories, the NMDC will leverage DOE’s existing data-science resources and high-performance computing systems to develop a framework that facilitates more efficient use of microbiome data for applications in energy, environment, health, and agriculture.
Nearly every ecosystem and organism on Earth hosts a diverse community of microorganisms – its microbiome. Yet we know little about the functions of individual microbes, let alone how they interact with each other, their hosts, or their environments, and how their activity varies over time or in response to perturbations. The past decade has seen tremendous advances in genome and metagenome DNA-sequencing technologies, which has led to an unprecedented volume of microbiome data being generated. However, further progress in the field has been hindered by the lack of computational infrastructure for processing and performing integrative analyses of these and other microbiome-relevant data.