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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-supported Kidney Research National Dialogue (KRND) asked the scientific community to formulate and prioritize research objectives that would improve our understanding of kidney function and disease. Several high-priority objectives for diabetic nephropathy were identified in data and sample collection, hypothesis generation, hypothesis testing, and translation promotion. The lack of readily available human samples linked to comprehensive phenotypic, clinical, and demographic data remains a significant obstacle. With data and biological samples in place, several possibilities exist for using new technologies to develop hypotheses. Testing novel disease mechanisms with state-of-the-art tools should continue to be the foundation of the investigative community. Research must be translated to improve diagnosis and treatment of people. The objectives identified by the KRND provide the research community with future opportunities for improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports multiple basic science consortia that generate high-content datasets, reagent resources, and methodologies, in the fields of kidney, urology, hematology, digestive, and endocrine diseases, as well as metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. These currently include the Beta Cell Biology Consortium, the Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas, the Diabetic Complications Consortium, and the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers. Recognizing the synergy that would accrue from aggregating information generated and curated by these initiatives in a contiguous informatics network, we created the NIDDK Consortium Interconnectivity Network (dkCOIN; www.dkcoin.org). The goal of this pilot project, organized by the NIDDK, was to establish a single point of access to a toolkit of interconnected resources (datasets, reagents, and protocols) generated from individual consortia that could be readily accessed by biologists of diverse backgrounds and research interests. During the pilot phase of this activity dkCOIN collected nearly 2000 consortium-curated resources, including datasets (functional genomics) and reagents (mouse strains, antibodies, and adenoviral constructs) and built nearly 3000 resource-to-resource connections, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of further extending this database in the future. Thus, dkCOIN promises to be a useful informatics solution for rapidly identifying useful resources generated by participating research consortia.