Portrait - Amel Yahou, data developer

Anne Coppola
02/07/2019
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Amel Yahou's job is to develop programs to structure and organize health data. She is also involved in a wider deliberation on the sharing and traceability of data held at Institut Curie.
Amel Yahou

Following a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry, Amel Yahou went on to study for a Master's degree in bioinformatics. She then completed training in research laboratories in biochemistry, developmental biology and basic research. Her first professional experience was at Institut Curie:

I wanted to evolve towards a more concrete position, close to users, but still in the field of biology and health. I was also highly motivated at the thought of working in the field of cancer in particular, it is very rewarding. All the more so in a team with such a variety of backgrounds. Everyone makes their contribution! 

She arrived in early summer 2018, and her job involves developing computer programs. She is currently working on two projects.

The first project, OSIRIS, is a national project led by the Institut National du Cancer/French National Cancer Institute (INCa) and coordinated within a group of Siric-certified centers, including Institut Curie. The aim of this project is to connect oncological, clinical and ohmic data (approaches that help us understand the complexity of the living organism overall), between different health institutions. A total of 7 centers are involved in implementing a shared model. Today cancer is a disease that is defined at the molecular level by detecting specific cancer biomarkers. Molecular analysis serves in the diagnosis of certain types of cancer and in the development of targeted treatments that will be more effective for a specific tumor profile. However, there are often not enough similar profiles to study within the same institution. The idea of the OSIRIS project is therefore to be able to assist research by working with other institutions to obtain more similar profiles to study. Thus standardizing data in OSIRIS format helps facilitate their exchange between different centers. "I have attended meetings with other centers and developed programs to standardize the format of data at Institut Curie," explains Amel Yahou.

We provided proof of concept using a sample of anonymous data (completely anonymous so that individuals cannot be identified) from various precision medicine trials.

Today there are infrastructures in place for requesting information from the various centers. 

The model was created for the proof of concept, but it is likely to change in the future in order to satisfy a larger number of issues.

The second project, Octopus, aims to provide tools to facilitate data exchange between the Research Center and the hospital. The introduction of computer pipelines and services will facilitate data sharing, in accordance with the MR-004. This is the new regulation adopted by the CNIL pursuant to the European general data protection regulation (GDPR), which governs the use of personal data for the purposes of study, assessment or research that does not involve a human presence. Another aim is to save time and resources by limiting unnecessary duplication of data when it is already available.

At the same time, Amel Yahou is working to improve the quality of data contained in databases and data warehouses.

It is a very rich and rewarding field; I learn a great deal and I particularly enjoy seeing the concrete way in which we help users. When a project is completed and is used, that's an achievement!

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