EMBL-EBI announces the launch of the BioImage Archive, a large-scale, centralised data resource to host reference imaging data
EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) is expanding its remit to include bioimaging data. Through its new, dedicated resource for biological images, called the BioImage Archive, EMBL-EBI aims to make it easier for researchers around the world to store, share, access and analyse biological images.
New opportunities and challenges
Easy access to bioimaging data could offer new insights into how life works at a molecular level. It could also advance knowledge in fields such as human health and disease, food security and biodiversity.
Developments in microscopy and imaging technologies are allowing life-science researchers to observe biological structures and processes in completely new ways. These new data types present many exciting opportunities but also several challenges. These challenges include sharing, format diversity and analysis.
“Imaging has huge potential for the life sciences, but only if the data can be shared and accessed easily by the global research community,” explains Ewan Birney, Director of EMBL-EBI. “The BioImage Archive acts as a broker or an intermediary, facilitating the sharing of bioimages and connecting with other resources that add value to these data.”
The imaging era
The BioImage Archive is part of a wider EMBL drive to improve access to imaging technology and data. EMBL is in the process of building a new Imaging Centre in Heidelberg, which will enable researchers to access the latest microscopy technologies.
“Imaging is revolutionising the life sciences, facilitating new and exciting discoveries,” says Jan Ellenberg, Head of EMBL’s Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit and Coordinator of Euro-BioImaging’s Preparatory Phases I and II. “Image data archiving and sharing is a high priority for EMBL and for the wider European scientific community, so we welcome the creation of EMBL-EBI’s BioImage Archive.”
This image is a composite of lateral pentascolopidial organs, a wing imaginal disc pouch, and an epithelial wound in a Drosophila larva. The organs are arranged here like eyelashes. Cells surrounding an epidermal wound appear as the iris and pupil of this artistic eye.