West-Life was a H2020 Virtual Research Environment project that provided the application level services specific to uses cases in structural biology, covering all experimental techniques (e.g. Xray, cryo-EM, NMR, SAXS), enabling structural biologists to get the benefit of the generic services developed by EUDAT and the EGI.
The focus of structural biology is shifting from single macromolecules produced by simpler prokaryotic organisms, to the macromolecular machinery of higher organisms, including systems of central relevance for human health. Structural biologists are experts in one or more techniques. They often need to use complementary techniques in which they are less expert. (Instruct) supports them in using multiple experimental techniques, and visiting multiple experimental facilities, within a single project. The (Protein Data Bank) is a public repository where final structures and (some) of the data leading to them are deposited. Nowadays journals require such a deposition as a precondition of publication. However, metadata are often incomplete. (West-Life) piloted an infrastructure for storing and processing data that supported the growing use of combined techniques. There are some technique-specific pipelines for data analysis and structure determination but little is available in terms of automated pipelines to handle integrated datasets. Integrated management of structural biology data from different techniques is lacking altogether.
West-Life integrated the data management facilities and services (e.g. from WeNMR) that already existed, and enabled the provision of new ones. The resulting integration helped to provide users with an overview of the experiments performed at the different research infrastructures visited, and linked to the different data stores. It extended existing facilities for processing this data. As processing is performed, it automatically captured metadata reflecting the history of the project. The effort used existing metadata standards, and integrated them with new domain-specific metadata terms.