http://B-T.CR, a discussion site for immune repertoire analysis

23 Feb 2016, by Erick

In my dream academic utopia, there would be free and open discussion and information sharing. I love open-access journals and preprint servers, but some communication is better suited for a discussion format. For example open problems, information about resources and software, and discussion of standardization all benefit from having a more widely open discussion and a faster update time than journals or even preprint servers can provide. Social media can host this discussion, but I think that it can be useful to put a dedicated website in place for discussion.

For these reasons, together with Simon Frost I’ve started a Discourse forum at http://B-T.CR/ for immune repertoire analysis. If you aren’t already aware, the specificities of our adaptive immune cells are encoded in the sequences of the B and T cell receptors (BCRs and TCRs, hence the name), and these can now be sequenced in high throughput. The result is a fascinating but challenging-to-interpret pile of sequences that, if we were smart enough, would tell us a whole lot about health history and prognosis.

This field, at least in its most recent high-throughput incarnation, is quite young and so we have a real opportunity to coordinate research efforts, reduce the pain of finding the right resources, and increase the fun of doing science. If you are interested in this sort of work, I hope you will join and participate! You can keep track of what’s happening on the forum by signing up for email notifications, through RSS, or by following @bcr_tcr on Twitter.

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