Large IHEC Data Release: Over 5500 datasets now accessible via the IHEC Data Portal

March 16, 2015

IHEC is pleased to announce the launch of a dedicated resource for the epigenomic research community – the IHEC Data Portal

The IHEC Data Portal was developed to address the need to integrate and distribute datasets produced by various IHEC member consortia. The Portal implements a database and a graphical interface that currently hosts 5667 epigenomic datasets. The Portal provides an overview of all the whole genome experiments produced by IHEC members, categorized by providers, tissue types and assay types. It implements a dynamic grid that can be used to navigate through the datasets and provides links to either visualize the data in a genome browser or download it. As described by the lead Portal designer, Dr Guillaume Bourque: “Many countries have recognized the importance of generating reference epigenomics datasets, what the IHEC Data Portal does is to bring these datasets together and facilitate access with minimal restriction to the entire research community.”

Regular updates to the Portal are scheduled twice yearly. A new feature expected for the Data Portal in the near future is a tool for correlation analysis, to provide insights on the similarity of different assays and tissues. Additional functionalities planned for the Portal include the support of datasets from multiple species, a way for users to add their own data tracks, better connectivity to the raw data repositories and an option to filter and query datasets based on more metadata fields.

"The ability to access all this data in one place is a big step towards making epigenomic data more accessible to biologists, clinicians and others in the field," says Dr Henk Stunnenberg, Chair of the International Scientific Steering Committee of IHEC. "This will be increasingly important as we move to complete the reference epigenomes on the additional hundreds of cell types planned through IHEC."

The IHEC Data Portal exemplifies the importance of digital Infrastructure and software development to enable state-of-art life science research. By facilitating data distribution and interpretation, the IHEC Data Portal helps accelerate the translation of epigenomics knowledge into health and disease applications.

Within IHEC we have so far made available the data from 393 cell types from different tissues and performed epigenomic analysis of 3565 datasets on IHEC Core assays: 855 RNA-seq, 163 methylomes, 2547 ChIP-seq (Input+6 histones marks). For example, the most recent data release includes data from monocytes, granulocyte neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages (M0, M1 and M2), naive CD4+ and naive CD8+ cells and cell line samples from the BLUEPRINT project, a member consortia of IHEC.

Tutorial Video on the IHEC Data Portal

IHEC recently published an introductory tutorial for the Data Portal. Learn how to view the data in the grid, download from the Portal or display them in a Genome Browser of your choice. The video is accessible via the IHEC YouTube channel.

Background on the development of the portal

The development of the IHEC Data Portal started in 2012 by the team of Dr Guillaume Bourque at McGill University, through a project funded under the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment, and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC) from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). At the time, the goal of the Portal was to facilitate access to Canadian reference epigenomes. Since then it has been adopted by IHEC to host and display all datasets produced by the Consortium including those generated by ENCODE and the NIH Roadmap. The IHEC Data Portal is a collaboration with two Compute Canada centers and the team of Dr Pierre-Etienne Jacques at Université de Sherbrooke.

More recently, the development of the IHEC Data Portal has also received support from CANARIE, Génome Québec, Genome Canada and Compute Canada as it is part of a larger project - the Genetics and Genomics Analysis Platform (GenAP) - that aims to make advanced analysis tools for life science researchers available on Compute Canada’s national computing platform.


Contact for IHEC related questions

Eric Marcotte, PhD
Chair, IHEC Executive Committee
Institute of Genetics & Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Phone: +1 905-467-1822

Contact for questions concerning the IHEC Data Portal

Guillaume Bourque, PhD
Assoc. Professor, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University
Director of Bioinformatics, McGill University/Génome Québec Innovation Center
Phone: +1 514-398-7245