Dataseam

DataseamGrid helps UofL researchers identify 30 potential drugs to fight COVID-19

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The novel coronavirus may have K-12 students in Kentucky’s school districts learning at home, but researchers at the University of Louisville are using the computing power of thousands of computers in classrooms across the state to identify drugs to treat COVID-19. The desktop computers are part of the DataseamGrid, a network of computers housed in classrooms of 48 Kentucky school districts as part of a partnership designed to support research, education and workforce development.

John Trent, Ph.D., deputy director of basic and translational research at the UofL Health – James Graham Brown Cancer Center, conducts virtual screening to discover new cancer drugs using the DataseamGrid for high-volume computations. Today, he has the computers at work 24/7 to identify the most promising drugs and compounds to fight SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19.

“In these unprecedented times, we had a resource where we could potentially make an impact quickly and switch over from some of our cancer targets to SARS-CoV-2 targets,” Trent said. “We have been very successful in doing this in cancer for 15 years. We are using the same approach in targeting the coronavirus, just targeting a different protein.”

Established in 2003, Dataseam is funded by the Kentucky General Assembly to provide computing infrastructure, workforce development and educational opportunities for students and staff in Kentucky school districts. Available computing power in those units is put to work performing computer modeling calculations to screen anti-cancer drugs for Trent’s team and collaborators at UofL.

“Like a lot of industries, we have shifted our skills and infrastructure to address this issue,” said Brian Gupton, CEO of Dataseam. “We are always going to have cancer, but at least for the time being, we are glad the DataseamGrid is here for Dr. Trent to screen those drugs.”

In mid-March, Trent and his team entered new data onto the DataseamGrid, along with UofL’s dedicated research computers, in a two-pronged approach to match three-dimensional models of proteins in SARS-CoV-2 to drugs and compounds that could help in treating or preventing COVID-19. The DataseamGrid provides up to 80 percent of the computational power for these projects.

The first approach is to test about 2,000 drugs already on the market and another 9,000 investigational drugs and nutraceuticals that have been tested for toxicity to isolate those most likely to be effective against the virus.

“For the immediate approach, we are testing drugs that already are approved by the FDA or have been tested in humans. If we find activity with those drugs, we could get them into patient trials a lot quicker,” Trent said. “However, these drugs obviously were designed for something else and they may not have the same efficacy of a very selective drug.”

To find that selective drug, Trent’s second prong of research includes computational models to screen 37 million small molecules and compounds against the target proteins in SARS-CoV-2. These molecules could be used to develop a new drug specifically to treat the virus. That process would take more time, however, to obtain FDA approval.

“That initial discovery of a new, more-selective agent is more long term. You are looking at 12 to 18 months before you would even think about testing those in a patient,” Trent said. “But time is of essence at the moment, so we are doing both things at the same time.”

Using the DataseamGrid and UofL research computers, Trent and his team are screening the drugs and small molecules against 3-D structures of four proteins in the virus to see which compounds might bind with the proteins. A drug that interferes with the activity of any of these proteins would reduce the virus’s ability to spread.

Trent began the research with the first two proteins described for SARS-CoV-2: the main protease, an essential enzyme used by the virus to break down viral proteins and make new virus particles, and spike proteins, the triangular “knobs” the virus uses to attach itself to host cells. These spikes are the knobs commonly seen in graphic images on the surface of the virus. Trent now also is testing drugs against two additional target proteins that were described very recently.

So far, the process has identified about 30 drugs as potentially effective against SARS-CoV-2. Trent recommended these for biological testing by other UofL researchers in the UofL Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM). Directed by Kenneth Palmer, Ph.D., the CPM is one of only a few labs in the United States capable of testing the drugs against the virus. That testing is expected to begin in mid-April.

If the CPM researchers find the drugs to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 in the lab, they could be moved to the next phase of testing in animal models, testing that also may be conducted at CPM.

“This computer modeling is an excellent way to identify the best potential candidates for laboratory testing rapidly, and this strategy could lead to relief sooner rather than later for patients suffering from COVID-19,” Palmer said.

Gupton says it is good to know the DataseamGrid continues to support urgent medical research even though students are working from home.

“Ironically, we hope to return to cancer research as soon as possible,” Gupton said. “Even though the students are not in classrooms, Kentucky school districts are providing them with instruction, technology, internet access and even meals. The districts’ Dataseam systems engineers are supporting both the university’s work and K-12 efforts. We all are proud to be ‘digital first responders’ in Kentucky’s part of the global fight.”

As part of the Dataseam partnership, UofL provides academic scholarships annually for students from participating school districts who come to the university to pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math.

By Betty Coffman, betty.coffman@louisville.edu

Dataseam Education and Workforce Pipeline

(Frankfort, KY- October 2, 2019) – Representatives from Dataseam reported progress on Dataseam workforce initiatives to the Kentucky General Assembly Interim Joint Committee on Education.  This economic and workforce development initiative not only supplies computers to Kentucky schools and conducts cancer drug discovery research, but also is providing industry-standard technology certifications, student apprentice opportunities and college scholarships as important education and workforce byproducts of this unique effort.

Dataseam CEO Brian Gupton pointed out in addition to 2,232 Apple workstations recently placed in Kentucky schools and increased capacity to run cancer research for the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center, Dataseam is in the middle of an extensive industry certification program for school technology professionals.  Morehead State University and the University of Louisville continue to recruit and provide STEM-based scholarships to students totaling over $2.5 million.  Dataseam is working with participating schools to employ students in a U.S. Department of Labor Certified, Information Technology apprenticeship program.  It is a first of its kind in Kentucky.

Parker Smith shared his professional journey as part of the Dataseam training initiatives that have culminated in his dream job as CIO of Williamsburg Independent Schools.  “The industry certifications, professional networking and support, along with the opportunities to engage resources on a national level have helped this country boy from Clay County to do things I could not imagine,” said Smith.

Smith is an Apple Certified Support Professional, managing Dataseam technologies for research and education.  As part of its workforce development efforts, Dataseam has trained and certified more Apple professionals, as a percentage of population, than any other state.

Paige Hart, currently a 3rd year medical school student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and former Dataseam Scholar, talked about coming full circle in her education and career.  “I dream of the day that I have my full circle moment when I used Dataseam computers as a student in Caldwell County to the day as a physician I give information on the drugs produced by those same computers,” Hart said.

Blake McCullah, one of the current IT apprentices and Whitley County High School student testified about why the Dataseam program is different. “I worked and learned about computer repair, system maintenance and computer network issues.  And since this was my first job, I had to open a back account,” said McCullah.

“We have reported in the past on cancer research made possible by the DataeamGrid, but today we provided context, reality and faces to the education and workforce outcomes of our efforts with our K-12 and university partners,” said Gupton, “The investments by University of Louisville and Morehead State; the industry-standard training and certification; the opportunity and employability for participants enhance the return on the state investment in the Dataseam program.”

Dataseam built and manages one of the most powerful high-performance computing environments in the world.  Kentucky K-12 school districts and 3 universities across the state work with Dataseam to enhance education, research and economic development in Kentucky.  http://www.kydataseam.com/about

Even when being used by students and teachers, the computers lend their computing power to the DataseamGrid which runs advanced cancer drug discovery efforts for the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

At the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, researchers and physician scientists work to create new and more effective approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, delivering the most advanced treatments to cancer patients with compassion and respect.  https://uoflbrowncancercenter.org

Expanding School Technology Requires Advanced Certification

(Louisville, Kentucky) – District technology specialists from across the state recently earned a macOS Support Essentials certification.

School districts receive computers, technical and education training, as well as student college scholarships and other benefits as part of the Dataseam Program.  Dataseam has provided Kentucky schools over 26,000 computers and trained over 8,000 educators and technicians.  Because of this effort Kentucky has the largest number of Apple System Engineers per capita in the United States.

“The education sector is one of Kentucky’s largest employers and one of its largest consumers of technology. We don’t always think of education as an industry segment but these technology professionals employed in Kentucky’s K-12 schools are part of the Commonwealth’s next-generation workforce,” said Brian Gupton, Dataseam CEO.

Dataseam built and manages one of the most powerful high-performance computing environments in the world.  Kentucky K-12 school districts and 3 universities across the state work with Dataseam to enhance education, research and economic development in Kentucky.  http://www.kydataseam.com/about

The new computers will be in math, science, engineering and testing classrooms across the state.  When not being used by students the the computers lend their computing power to the DataseamGrid which runs advanced cancer drug discovery efforts for the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

At the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, researchers and physician scientists work to create new and more effective approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, delivering the most advanced treatments to cancer patients with compassion and respect. https://uoflbrowncancercenter.org

 

Seeking Stars At Morehead Space Science Center

(Morehead, Kentucky) – An eager group of students from Whitley County, Elliott County, Paducah Tilghman, and Jenkins Independent visited the Space Science Center at Morehead State University looking for a future in space.  The center at MSU is a world leader in small satellite development and tracking.

According to Space Science Director, Ben Malphrus students not only get a solid academic foundation, but they also work on projects like the current Lunar IceCube which is scheduled to go to the moon next year in search of lunar ice.  This is an important step in man living on the moon and moving further on to mars.

Students and parents alike had no idea that the space is one of the leading industries in the state of Kentucky, larger than bourbon, autos or horse racing.  Bigger yet for the potential students is that Morehead University Space Science program plays a significant role in producing experienced graduates who are in high demand across the country.

Students from schools in the Dataseam program interested in studying Space Science should apply today.

Dataseam Students Participating in Paid Apprenticeship Program

 

Whitley County High School students Samuel “Blake” McCullah, Connor Wilson, Morgan Mckiddy, and Hancock County High School student Casey Baize were honored by EWDC Deputy Secretary Josh Benton, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), and Representative Regina Huff (R-Williamsburg) for their participation in the Dataseam IT Support Specialist Apprenticeship Program.

The Dataseam IT Support Specialist Apprenticeship Program was created to help high school student gain hands-on work experience, earn professional certifications, and graduate with a better career focus.  In the paid apprenticeship students will work along side experienced professionals to maintain, configure, install, repair and trouble shoot computer, network and software at the school.

This paid apprentice program is the first of its kind registered by the federal government and Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet for high school students.

Dataseam is uniquely qualified to help prepare the next generation of information technology specialist.  The company collaborates with 38 school districts across Kentucky to manage one of the world’s larges computing clouds for research.  Dataseam provides industry certifications and technical support to help school IT professionals better support and utilize education technology.

“Congratulations to Dataseam of Kentucky on the creation of a new information technology Registered Apprenticeship program,” EWDC SecretaryDerrick Ramsey said. “This program allows apprentices to earn on the job while receiving state of the art training in careers with excellent stability and growth potential.”

“Through this program, students will receive practical instruction, hands-on experience, mentoring. They will experience available career options in the field of Information Technology,” said Whitley County Superintendent John Siler.  “Dataseam will supply our district with over $15,000 of computers to benefit all students. I am so appreciative of this opportunity to collaborate with Dataseam to increase opportunities for our students to gain real-life, hands-on experience leading to certifications and college credit for them while they are still in high school.”

“We are eager to add this IT Apprenticeship aspect to the existing statewide Dataseam ecosystem,” said Dataseam CEO, Brian Gupton. “Growing this segment of the Commonwealth’s future workforce helps to facilitate additional next-generation opportunity for more Kentuckians.  Dataseam is proud of the partnerships working together to be a part of the solution.”

The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet acts as the governing body for Registered Apprenticeships in Kentucky, and provides technical and consultative services to employers. The “Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.” campaign was launched in 2016 to signal the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s commitment to strengthening and growing Registered Apprenticeships across the Commonwealth. For more information, visithttps://educationcabinet.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

Follow the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on Facebookand Twitterfor all the latest updates. For more information about the cabinet, visit https://educationcabinet.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

Dataseam built and manages one of the most powerful cloud-based high performance computing environments in the world to benefit education, research and economic development in the state of Kentucky. Important cancer research is completed on a network of over 9,000 computers in 38 school districts. Participating School districts benefit from college scholarships, professional training and certifications, and student apprentice programs.  For more information on how to get involved with this apprenticeship program, visit http://www.kydataseam.com/

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