The CNAG-CRG is partner of this new EU-funded project, coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center

BCN, 8 Oct, 2020.- Coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) and funded by the European Commission, the project PerMedCoE: Exascale-ready cell-level simulations for European Personalised Medicine will optimise codes for cell-level simulations in HPC/Exascale and bridge the gap between organ and molecular simulations, thus contributing to the European Personalised Medicine Roadmap. At the CNAG-CRG, Marc A. Marti-Renom, ICREA Research Professor and head of the Structural Genomics Group, will lead the project.


The next generation of Exascale supercomputers will become a necessary tool to treat diseases on an individual level and make one step forward in personalised medicine. This recently launched project will provide an efficient and sustainable infrastructure to support the development of personalised medicine by showcasing HPC/Exascale-upgraded use cases such as translating the consequences of single cell omics information into actionable molecular disease models.


One of the most significant contributions of PerMedCoE will be to scale-up cell-level simulations to HPC/Exascale level, which will fill the gap between the molecular- and organ-level simulations provided by other Centres of Excellence (CoEs) such as CompBioMed and BioExcel.


“PerMedCoE will boost the competitiveness of European personalised medicine and aims to become the community hub for Exascale-ready software in this domain”, says Alfonso Valencia, ICREA Research Professor, BSC Life Sciences Department Director and PerMedCoE Coordinator. “This is the fourth CoE coordinated by BSC, and we are particularly pleased and grateful to lead this project at the present time, when biomedical research is more relevant than ever”.


The project main objectives

Personalised medicine opens unexplored frontiers to treating diseases at the individual level combining clinical and omics information. However, the performance of the current simulation software is still insufficient to tackle medical problems such as tumour evolution and response to treatment at the single-cell level or patient-specific treatments. For this reason, this European centre of excellence pursues the following main objectives:

  •    - To optimise key software for cell-level simulations to the new pre-exascale platforms to contribute to the European Personalised Medicine Roadmap.
  •    - To integrate personalised medicine into the new European HPC/Exascale ecosystem, by offering access to HPC/Exascale-adapted and optimised software.
  •    - To design and complete a comprehensive set of personalised medicine use cases to drive the development of cell-level simulations.
  •    - To build the basis for its sustainability by coordinating personalised medicine and HPC communities, and reaching out to industrial and academic end-users with use cases, training, expertise and best practices.


Three departments from BSC contribute to the project, making it a truly joint effort that strengthens the centre’s interdisciplinarity: the Life Sciences and Operations departments will jointly drive the optimisation of personalised medicine software to Exascale architectures, where the Computer Sciences department will contribute with the invaluable learnings from the POP CoE. Computer Sciences and Life Sciences will jointly coordinate the use cases and set up a benchmarking platform for optimised codes, as well as contributing to the preparation of efficient workflows for the personalised medicine user communities. Taking advantage of its communication expertise in the HPC community and presence in other CoEs, the BSC will also devote a significant effort to position this project and align it with other running CoEs, especially with BioExcel.


The centre will become the entry point to Exascale-ready cell-level simulation software, able to transform personal omics data into actionable mechanistic models of medical relevance, supporting developers and end-users with know-how and best practices. It will also connect simulation software developers with HPC, HTC and HPDA experts at the CoEs POP and HiDALGO, and work with other biomedical consortia such as ELIXIR and LifeTime, also connecting pre-exascale infrastructures hosted by supercomputing centres such as the BSC and CSC – IT Center for Science.


About PerMedCoE

PerMedCoE is the HPC/Exascale Centre of Excellence for Personalised Medicine in Europe and aims to provide an efficient and sustainable entry point to the HPC/Exascale-upgraded methodology to translate omics information into actionable models of cellular functions of medical relevance. Coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), this CoE has been awarded €5 million in funding from the European Commission and will run from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2023. A range of 12 world-class academic and industry partners from across Europe are participating in the CoE: Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), CSC – IT Center for Science, University of Luxembourg, Institut Curie, University Hospital Heidelberg, Atos Spain, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), University of Ljubljana and ELEM Biotech.


Further information | @PerMedCoE | #PerMedCoE


The PerMedCoE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement Nº 951773.