What is The Ark?
The Ark software will enable both clinical and basic science researchers, who collect and use clinical specimens and health information from any disease type, to better comprehend how underlying genetic variations/mutations interact with environmental factors to cause disease. The project has now delivered a Java-based solution that delivers the following capabilities:
- Create and configure a study;
- Define users and manage their roles and access permissions;
- Define and manage a research participant pool;
- Define and manage the collection of phenotypic research data;
- Dynamically generate Electronic Data Capture (EDC) forms for collecting most types of textual research data;
- Manage physical biospecimens and the associated data using a Laboratory Information Management System(LIMS); and
- Generate reports.
This functionality has now been released as Production Version 1.1. The project team is currently focussed on supporting Version 1.0 and gathering the requirements for future functionality to be developed, deployed and supported on the NeCTAR computing infrastructure.
The software has been designed and developed in accordance with the following guiding principles:
- The software should be web-based;
- One instance of the software should securely support multiple research studies and multiple users;
- The core application software should not be developed to suit any one study/project but rather should be configurable to suit a broad range of studies;
- The software should be as user-configurable as feasible through a browser-based graphical user interface;
- The software must be highly secure; and
- The software modules should be well integrated.
Additional functionality planned to be delivered during 2012 includes:
- Integration with the AAF authentication services;
- An integrated invoicing and billing module;
- A data extraction for analysis module;
- A pedigree (family) data management and visualisation module. Note that we have developed a prototype for a 3 dimensional pedigree visualisation tool that may be used as the basis for this module;
- Registry Management functionality for managing participant registries, such as the Australian Twin Registry; and
- A genotypic data management module.