About Us

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The International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium (IAIC)
The goal of this new international Arabidopsis bioinformatics initiative is to enable our members to develop systems to manage the increasing amounts and types of data and allow the leveraging of resources, knowledge, and collaborations. Following a strong tradition of international cooperation in the Arabidopsis community, the IAIC is working to build teams focused on development of a distributed system of data, tools and resources. These products should be funded by a variety of sources under an international management and scientific advisory board. The IAIC needs to be dynamic and represent the evolving needs and capacities of the community while reflecting the funding interests of the respective countries. The IAIC will be guided by a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and, in the future, a Scientific Advisory Panel (see below.)

The core of the IAIC initially will consist of four parts:

  1. Arabidopsis Information Portal (AIP)
  2. Gold-standard” genome annotation
  3. Genome/sequence curation
  4. Stocks and Resources Database(s).

The Arabidopsis Information Portal (AIP)
The AIP is the underlying infrastructure of the IAIC and will interact with and link to resources across the globe including Arabidopsis datasets generated in individual laboratories, information from other species, and other biological datasets.

Once the IAIC core is established and accessible by the community, additional important ‘non-core’ modules can be linked to the AIP. This federated approach will allow for data, resources and tools generated worldwide to become part of the IAIC, allow the workload, human expertise, innovation and costs to be shared across many sites that are internationally located, and produce additional resilience and flexibility by providing opportunities to bring together creativity and energy from many places.

Experts from the Arabidopsis community and beyond will help shape the IAIC through Working Groups focused on topics such as Architecture/Engineering/Infrastructure; Modules/Use Cases, Standards and Ontologies, and others that will develop as a natural evolution of the IAIC.

Management structure of the IAIC

The management of the IAIC is split into three levels.

  1. The IAIC Committee (currently- Steering Committee, SC) will, in the future, consist of the PIs leading the modules of the IAIC and would report to and interact with the SAB. The preliminary SC, which is already formed, consists of community members that secured initial funding to establish the IAIC. They are guiding the project in its first few years until additional funding is secured for the future Information Portal, at which time the initial SC will conclude their service. The SC will also report to and interact with the SAB, upon its formation. The SC, comprised of community members, will actively seek input from the broader community through outreach efforts, including at the International Conferences on Arabidopsis Research.
  2. Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will consist of scientists from countries involved in the IAIC. The SAB will actively oversee the development of the IAIC and its activities and interact with the funding agencies, the SC, the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee (MASC) and other community members. SAB members will collectively represent a breadth and depth of backgrounds including: experimental researchers; those with appropriate expertise in technical implementation; and those that have long-term experience with Arabidopsis community needs and a demonstrated commitment to furthering community progress.
  3. Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) that would review the progress of the IAIC, report to funding agencies, and would be developed through future funding of the core resource, the Arabidopsis Informatics Portal (AIP).

Working Groups
Working Groups (WG) will comprise a small number of international experts to address specific issues relevant to the IAIC. These groups will hold virtual meetings and retain responsibility for focused discussions on topics of primary importance to the IAIC. This includes helping to identify issues that have not already identified, inviting in people who can contribute in meaningful ways, and keeping notes of relevant discussions for reference and communication to others, including the broader public. These groups serve as a means to identify key contributors for involvement in the IAIC and as a way to dynamically respond to new and changing community needs and interests.

For more information on current Working Groups, please visit the Working Groups page.

Background information for IAIC Development
The North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC) and the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee (MASC) held workshops in spring of 2010 to consider the future bioinformatics needs of the Arabidopsis community as well as other communities that depend vitally on Arabidopsis resources. Each workshop consisted of 30+ participants with expertise in plant biology as well as database use, curation and development. The workshops were organized in response to growing recognition by the Arabidopsis community and funding agencies of the need for a single data management infrastructure. Specifically, the technological, financial, and organizational sustainability of a community-oriented international Arabidopsis informatics consortium were discussed. It was recognized that cohesive, cooperative, and long-term international collaboration will be critical to successfully maintain an Arabidopsis database infrastructure that is essential for plant biology research worldwide.

The primary outcomes of the workshops were agreements that there is:

  1. a continued need for a central Arabidopsis information resource which, in the future, should be part of a larger infrastructure that would be dynamic and responsive to new directions in plant biology research;
  2. a strong justification and incentive to expand the current informatics structure into an international organization, the International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium (IAIC). This larger infrastructure was envisioned to consist of a distributed system of data, tools and resources, accessed via a single point and funded by a variety of sources, under shared international management and a scientific advisory board. The IAIC would need to be dynamic and represent the evolving needs and capacities of the community while reflecting the funding interests of the respective countries.

Further details of the workshops and their outcomes can be found in the Plant Cell commentary published by workshop participants.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. #1062348. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.