Innovative technologies to advance public health
This information in this case study was provided by Vinayaka Kotraiah, Advanced Molecular Detection Program Manager.
The Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program at CDC is changing the way we can look at pathogens. By modernizing the ability to investigate diseases by integrating traditional epidemiology with next-generation genomic sequencing and bioinformatics, using innovations developed through AMD gains insight into disease-causing microbes and emerging infectious pathogens.
By employing the latest technologies, the program improves CDC’s capacity in laboratory science, bioinformatics, and epidemiology. Through these advancements in genetic sequencing and other high-throughput laboratory technologies, AMD is contributing to important changes in the practice of clinical and public health microbiology.
The key to these advancements is the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics, which combines biology, computer science, and other specialties to analyze and understand biological data. Bioinformatics data sets, like those associated with DNA and amino acid sequences, can be a terabyte in size or greater, so analyzing the data requires specialized programming and advanced, high-performance computing (HPC).
Driving the need for scalable bioinformatics and computation power is the recent rise of sequence-based outbreak surveillance, which—as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic—includes tracking outbreaks on a nationwide basis. CDC’s Office of Advanced Molecular Detection collaborates with other CDC programs to scale its innovations and so extend their impact to state and local public health laboratories across the country.
In response to public health’s increasing demand for bioinformatics, Leidos supports AMD by building, maintaining, and expanding the CDC HPC infrastructure’s capacity for high-performance scientific computing and bioinformatics. Our scientists and technical experts—who just received a 2022 Innovation Award from FedHealthIT—develop responsive and resilient bioinformatics systems to accommodate AMD data analytics, adding functions for critical computing and scientific activities.