Health Data Research UK (HDR UK)


The Health Data Research (HDR) UK Cambridge site is part of the national institute for health data science (HDR UK) and comprises the Wellcome Sanger Institute, EMBL-EBI, the University of Cambridge and its hospitals. HDR UK Cambridge aims to advance understanding of disease prediction, causation, and progression through the integration of molecular data and other intermediate phenotypes with routine clinical data.

HDR UK Cambridge aims to realise novel insights into biology and disease aetiology through integration of information, at scale, on genomics, other biomolecular traits, and high-resolution electronic health records (EHRs)

Teamwork is key – we will share the knowledge we generate through this research with existing major national initiatives which are contemplating or conducting related work. This may include UK Biobank, the 100,000 Genomes Project, NIHR BioResource, Deciphering Development Disorders and the nascent Genomic Medicine Service.

There is major potential to realise novel insights from such bioresources by combining, at scale, innovative bioassays, assessment of other intermediate phenotypes, and linkages with EHRs, and by working across these cohorts to achieve even greater scale, synergy and contrast. A key concept is the increasing ability to anchor inference about the causes of
diseases in genomic data from cohorts of populations and patents. This inference involves integrative analyses (e.g., Mendelian randomisation approaches) that can help reveal the temporality and direction of causal effects across layers of biodata, extending from genomes to dynamic high-dimensional traits (e.g. proteins and other components of the “expressed genome”) to organ structure to EHRs. The results from such analyses have the potential to help underpin a shift from disease classification based on pattern of end-organ injury to one based on molecular underpinnings.