After getting frustrated by the limitations posed by just using their own samples, Lovestone and his group were eager to collaborate to obtain the data needed to advance their research. “We had some great collaborations with a small number of scientific groups. However, it is inordinately time consuming and not very effective trying to find people to collaborate with from conferences or from reading their papers,” he says of the initial efforts to find collaborators.
“In contrast, EMIF has brought together a group of people that enabled identification of the right cohorts through the cohort selection tool, or the EMIF catalogue. In a study that we’re doing at the moment we’ve already completed a study of 500 individuals and we’re now embarking on a study of 1000 individuals,” says Lovestone. This includes some very specific data that allows the researches to quantitate the amount of pathology in an individual’s brain, where they also have good quality clinical data and where there are samples available.
With EMIF, the group was able to identify these cohorts very quickly and was able to contact the right people to confirm the samples – all of which have now been aggregated and sent to Lovestone’s lab for analysis. “This has saved us literally years and years of work, and has saved literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of euros were we have had to collect all the associated data specifically for this study,” says Lovestone. He also notes that others in EMIF have been able to accomplish similar endeavours, by using aggregation of data from different cohorts for a whole range of scientific objectives.