CyVerse.org provides a platform for researchers studying plant diversity and has helped undergraduate biology students complete their honors theses examining factors affecting root growth. (Credit: Cowpea Diversity panel by James Burridge at URBC, South Africa, 2013)

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SGCI Client Update: COSMIC^2 Receives Funding to Grow Gateway

By Nayiri Mullinix

“The support we received from SGCI and XSEDE helped us get off the ground and, ultimately, to get funded.”

The COSMIC2 science gateway, which offers an easy, web-based platform for structural biologists to determine macromolecular structures using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has some big news! In an earlier blog post, we described how Cianfrocco worked with SGCI consultants to implement two Globus technologies that would help the project take significant steps forward. Recently, Principal Investigator Michael Cianfrocco has secured funding to further grow the gateway.

This past July, Cianfrocco learned that he had been awarded a four-year NSF grant to continue to build and improve the COSMIC2 gateway from the existing prototype and, just last week, Cianfrocco received additional funding from the University of Michigan’s Biosciences Initiative.

When asked about these awards and the future of COSMIC2, Cianfrocco said, “The support we received from SGCI and XSEDE helped us get off the ground and, ultimately, to get funded. Because of my work with SGCI and what I learned from attending the Gateways 2017 conference, I’m already thinking about long-term sustainability and how to keep COSMIC2 running when our grants come to an end.”

Cianfrocco’s goal is to make COSMIC2 the first stop for anyone new to cryo-EM, and a continued resource for seasoned users who need to be able to analyze data as efficiently and accurately as possible. By providing easy access to structural biologists who need the platform but aren’t necessarily familiar with the HPC tools needed to process data, Cianfrocco is aiming to break down barriers with this gateway, which has the potential to make a transformative impact in the field of structural biology.

With his eyes set on developing an easy-to-use science gateway that will interface with HPC resources, data processing algorithms, and long-term data storage options, the new rounds of funding will allow Cianfrocco to hire the staff, faculty, and developers needed to turn the prototype developed with SGCI support into a fully-developed gateway.

Some goals for the growth of COSMIC2 include:

  • Providing a large pool of computing time for cryo-EM users through an XSEDE allocation

  • Developing an easy-to-use web portal allowing users to select cryo-EM analysis routines

  • Writing novel algorithms to streamline data processing, removing manual user intervention

  • Implementing mechanisms for viewing output data through the web interface

  • Providing long-term data storage solutions by connecting COSMIC2 to cloud storage providers (e.g. Google Drive, Box).

Congratulations to Dr. Cianfrocco and his team!

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