Success Story

May 3, 2018

The Genomic Data Commons explained. Past CBC awardee, Bob Grossman, UChicago discusses the power and promise of creating data commons to globally and collaboratively accelerate biomedical research

Beginning with the establishment of the first Genomic Data Commons (GDC) for cancer research in 2016, hosted by UChicago and supported by the National Cancer Institute, many new “flavors” of data commons have sprouted like mushrooms after a rain. Robert (Bob) Grossman, UChicago, the mastermind behind the GDC, has expanded the commons to include genomic data of other human maladies including infectious diseases and disorders of the brain, heart, lungs, and blood. The concept of data commons is strongly aligned with the CBC’s mission to support broadly accessible resources in order to facilitate collaborative biomedical research. Through a 2008 Lever Award, CBC funding jump-started Grossman’s work on open-source projects of this type, including the establishment of the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud — the very matrix for future GDC development. Congratulations to the entire Grossman team for continuing a ground-breaking progress in the field!

Video: The Genomic Data Commons for cancer research

UChicago Medicine, The Forefront  |   April 30, 2018

The Genomic Data Commons (GDC) is a next-generation platform that enables unprecedented data access, analysis and sharing for cancer research. Cancer researchers can access these data for analyses and submit their own datasets to share with the research community. By making high-quality data broadly accessible, the GDC provides much-needed tools to accelerate studies of the biological mechanisms of cancer and the development of personalized treatments for individual patients.

UChicago developed and operates the Data Commons with National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding. In 2016, the GDC went live with approximately 4.1 petabytes of data from NCI-supported research programs, including some of the largest and most comprehensive cancer genomics datasets in the world. Since the launch, researchers at the GDC have built upon what they have learned to develop additional data commons for infectious diseases and disorders of the brain, heart, lungs, and blood. In this video, researchers and university administrators describe the enormous value of the GDC and look toward its future.


Adapted (with modifications) from UChicago Medicine, The Forefront, published on April 30, 2018.

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Robert (Bob) Grossman, UChicago, has following ties to CBC: