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  • Corona DataLab - Data, Impact and Solutions

    © Universität Bielefeld

Abstract

© CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MSMI; Dan Higgins, MAMS

The Corona pandemic has many facets: It is a global catastrophy. It is also a gamechanger and a challenge, particularly for science. Researchers from all over the world are developing vaccines and tests, study the impact of the virus on its (human) host, examine the development of the pandemic, assess the rammifications of lockdown and social distancing, evaluate different methods of distance learning. And researchers at Bielefeld University are in the front line, carrying out research projects on the virus, its control and the health, social, economic and other consequences.

Tackeling the pandemic is not a "lone wolf's" mission. It is a group effort requiring many different expertises. Therefore, researchers from all over Bielefeld University have founded the DataLab "DataLab Corona - Data, Impact and Solutions". The aim of this format is to generate ideas for interdisciplinary projects and novel research approaches and to develop them quickly into applications, as well as to achieve (further) research results as quickly as possible. The approach is data-driven: Using data and methods of data sicence to find the best answers possible and to allow for the most informed decisions. And making research data publicly available and using already published research data, because time is of the essence. Because fighting the pandemic is a group effort.


Research Foci

One year into the pandemic we have seen a vast corpus of different governmental counter measures, such as curfews, closing businesses, closing borders, testing regimes, closing schools and kindergartens, restricting meetings among citizens and many more. Assessing the impact of these measures is a non-trivial task for different reasons: The reliability and availability of data, the different scales on which measures have been implemented (from community-level up to national or even international/EU level) and a lack of knowledge about the virus’s particularities. Bielefeld researchers are involved in addressing these challenges by bringing together data from different sources, analysing it and making predictions on the impact of counter measures. A particular focus is also placed on vulnerabilities of particular groups, such as groups with low social status, people experiencing homelessness, as well as labour migrants and refugees.


Projects, Partners, Further Information

Covid19 Pandemic Policy Monitor
Covid19 Small-Area Monitor (Partner: University Hospital Heidelberg)
Stoppt Covid- Studie (Partner: Robert Koch-Institut)
Vulnerability (Partner: Kompetenznetz Public Health Covid-19)  

For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Kayvan Bozorgmehr

By analysing blood samples taken repeatedly from a cohort of test persons, a rich data set can be obtained, helping to address a variety of highly relevant questions about the virus: From assessing the dark figure of infections over persistence of antibodies after infection or vaccination to evaluating the reliability of testing.


Projects, Partners, Further Information

Project KoCo19

For more information please contact: Prof. Dr. Christiane Fuchs

Imaging in the scale of a virus particles brings various technical challenges. Different techniques bring different artefacts to the images, depending on the steps involved. Eliminating the necessity for certain steps means eliminating the artefacts introduced by these steps. Researchers from Bielefeld are making it, thus, possible to monitor the mechanisms of the virus more directly, e.g. by assessing the coverage of a cells surface with virus particle in different stages after cell infection.



For more information please contact: Dr. Natalie Frese

The pandemic and the counter-measures, both have significant impact on society as a whole and on each and everyone individually. This topic can be scientifically addressed from an empirical standpoint by examining different key figures, e.g. suicide rates in different contexts and at different times, or media images of the pandemic. It can also be addressed from a theoretical standpoint by re-examining how we deal with crisis. Bielefeld researchers are contributing to these societal and scientific discussions, e.g. regarding the question, how critique is delivered and taken during the crisis.


For more information please contact: Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache

The spread of a virus in a large group of hosts inevitably leads to mutations of the virus, some of which result in more successful virus-variants than others. It is ultimately an evolutionary competition at high speed, with the most contagious variants at a decisive advantage. Identifying the different mutations requires genome sequence data of the virus. The larger the portion of infections for which the genome data is available is, the early the mutations harbouring the most devastating potentials can be identified. The Bielefeld Institute for Bioinformatics is a frontrunner in collecting, storing and analysing this data.

Some mechanisms of virus mutations are particularly hard to track: Certain mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have led to the partial eliminations of certain gene sequences in the virus genome. It is, however, challenging to distinguish such deletions from the experimental procedure just failing to record these sequences. There is an inherent difficulty in science in proving that something is not there. These deletions are, however, of particular interest, as they play an important role on the virus’s way from a pandemic to an epidemic. At Bielefeld University researchers are working on methods to recognise these deletions. In order to do so, the raw sequence data is required, albeit it is common practice to publish data only after pre-processing, including filling missing sequences.

The computation of these often very large and intricate data sets brings its own challenges. Bielefeld researchers are continuously working on ways to obtain results faster, which are important for understanding the virus. For that a profound understanding of the nature, of advantages and drawbacks of models (and methods) has to be developed, a task researchers in Bielefeld are actively engaged in. Additionally, compute pipelines capable of applying these methods and models to large amounts of sequence data are being developed in Bielefeld.




DataLab Members

Dr. Natalie Frese

Dr. Natalie Frese

Prof.  Dr. Christiane Fuchs

Prof. Dr. Christiane Fuchs

Lehrstuhlinhaberin

apl. Prof. Dr. Jörn Kalinowski

apl. Prof. Dr. Jörn Kalinowski

Leiter "Technologieplattform Genomik"

Prof. Dr. Barbara Kaltschmidt

Prof. Dr. Barbara Kaltschmidt

Prof. Dr. Christian Kaltschmidt

Prof. Dr. Christian Kaltschmidt

Durch den Rektor ernannt:Standortvertreter für das Kompetenznetzwerk Stammzellenforschung

Prof. Dr. Martin Kroh

Prof. Dr. Martin Kroh

Professur für Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung mit dem Schwerpunkt Quantitative Methoden

Prof. Dr. Simon Kühne

Prof. Dr. Simon Kühne

Professur für Applied Social Data Science

Dr. Marius Meinhof

Dr. Marius Meinhof

Prof. Dr. med. Sabine Oertelt-Prigione

Prof. Dr. med. Sabine Oertelt-Prigione

Leitung AG 10 Geschlechtersensible Medizin

Orkan Okan

Orkan Okan

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Prof. Dr. Oliver Razum

Prof. Dr. Oliver Razum

AG3-Leiter

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schönhuth

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schönhuth

Prof. Dr. Alexander Sczyrba

Prof. Dr. Alexander Sczyrba

Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache

Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache

Professur für Sozialwissenschaftliche Europaforschung


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