Find help documents, tutorials, and/or relevant information.

The SPARC Data and Resource Center

Overview of the SPARC Data and Resource Center
Updated at: 07/16/2021

The Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program enables the development of the next generation of neuromodulation devices informed by the systematic development of high-resolution anatomical and functional neural circuit maps of the peripheral nervous system. For more information, visit the SPARC site at NIH.

The SPARC Data and Resource Center (DRC) is charged with creating a publicly available, multifunctional online hub facilitating coordination, synthesis, and prediction via four core functions: Data Coordination, Map Synthesis, Modeling & Simulation, and Knowledge Management. Funded investigators who are producing data, models and tools closely coordinate with the DRC. The DRC is organized into 4 Cores:

  • Data Coordination Core (DAT-Core) – Store, organize, manage, and track access to data and resources generated by SPARC; (PI = Joost Wagenaar, University of Pennsylvania).
  • Knowledge Management Core (K-Core) – Curation and knowledge management hub for SPARC, working closely with the other Cores on increasing the quality and FAIRness of SPARC datasets and building the SPARC Knowledge Graph and services (PIs: Maryann Martone, University of California, San Diego; Bernard de Bono, Whitby Inc, IN).
  • Map Synthesis Core (MAP-Core) – Map neural pathways from microscopy image data and associated experimental data into flatmaps and 3D scaffolds that provide a common coordinate framework for comparing and merging data across individuals and species. Build interactive, modular, continually updated visualizations of nerve-organ anatomy and function. (PI: Peter Hunter, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Susan Tappan, MBF Bioscience, VT).
  • Modeling and Simulation Core (SIM-Core) – Develop an open, online framework capable of establishing, hosting, connecting, executing, and sharing computational models and data analyses sustainably and reproducibly. The platform permits to create predictive, multiscale, multiphysics models spanning from modulation sources acting at feasible access points through to organ functional responses. (PI: Niels Kuster, IT’IS Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland).

An independent Steering Committee of outside experts provides oversight of DRC activities and provides advice to NIH on the operations of the DRC. The DRC provides updates to the Steering Committee twice per year. Members of the Steering Committee include:

  • James Abbas, PhD, Associate Professor, Arizona State University
  • Amy Bernard, PhD, (Steering Committee Chair), Director of Scientific Strategy, Allen Institute
  • Jan Bjaalie, MD, PhD, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Carol Bult, PhD, Professor & Knowlton Family Chair, The Jackson Laboratory
  • Sharon Crook, PhD, Professor, Arizona State University
  • Jack Judy, PhD, Professor & Intel Nanotechnology Chair, University of Florida
  • Daniel Marcus, PhD, Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Erika Ross, PhD, Director of Applied Research, Abbott Neuromodulation
  • Arun Sridhar, PhD, Director & Head of Disease Biology, Galvani Bioelectronics
  • Amy Walton, PhD, Program Director, National Science Foundation

Operation of the DRC

The DRC is led by the SPARC DRC Council, comprising the PIs of the 4 Cores and NIH. The Council meets regularly to discuss and decide on matters related to the joint strategy and operative governance across the four Cores. Details of Council operation and decision making are found in the SPARC governance document.

DRC operations include the following standing committees who report to the Council. Each committee is composed of members of each of the cores, project management support, SPARC investigators plus outside expertise as needed.

  1. Tech Committee: Meets biweekly to address technical issues across the Cores.

  2. Communications Committee: Meets biweekly to develop and implement a communications strategy for SPARC. Activities include:

    1. SPARC Mailing List
    2. SPARC Twitter
    3. SPARC YouTube
    4. Selective promotion of SPARC-related News and Events to the SPARC Portal
  3. Change Control Board (CCB): SPARC maintains 3 change control boards who meet every 6 weeks to inform and approve development sprints.

    1. DAT-Core CCB: Oversees development of the SPARC data platform to support SPARC users, including the Pennsieve Data Management Platform and the public SPARC data repository.
    2. Portal CCB: Oversees development of the SPARC Portal based upon the roadmap and user priorities.
    3. Flatmaps CCB: Oversees development sprints for the MAP-Core flatmap interface on the SPARC Portal, including the visual presentation of the connectivity knowledge contained in the SPARC Knowledge Graph within the flatmap interface.
  4. User teams: Committees representing different classes of users from both inside and outside of the SPARC Consortium who provide feedback and advice on SPARC platform development.

    1. Team Blue: advises on the data side of the SPARC Portal.
    2. Team Black: advises on the computational modeling side of SPARC.
    3. Team Red: provides high-level expert advice to help drive future development of MAP-Core visualizations and tools, and their use on the SPARC Portal.
  5. Data Standards Committee: Comprises SPARC-funded investigators responsible for approving data standards used in SPARC. Standards are recommended by K-Core based on SPARC needs and requirements of FAIR. Chair: Peregrine Osborne, University of Melbourne, Australia.

  6. User interface/User experience: Portal UI/UX efforts are led by Gazelle CX.

  7. SPARC Anatomical Working Group (SAWG): Anatomical experts who provide independent anatomical oversight of anatomical knowledge management for K-Core and MAP-Core.

User feedback is welcome and managed through a ticketing system.