News Release

ASAP launches data-sharing tool with unique dataset of human postmortem-derived brain samples

Business Announcement

Aligning Science Across Parkinson's

ASAP Launches Data-Sharing Tool with Unique Dataset of Human Postmortem-Derived Brain Samples

  • Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) launched a platform to make high-value data for Parkinson’s disease broadly available to researchers all over the world
  • The platform launches with data from a unique human postmortem-derived brain sequencing collection, including samples from four ASAP Collaborative Research Network (CRN) teams and 156 donors
  • The database will continue to expand, with 629 donors contributing to the final harmonized dataset; there will be a consistent cadence of new data releases

CHEVY CHASE, MD (JUNE 25, 2024) The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative has launched the ASAP CRN Cloud, a data-sharing tool designed to advance Parkinson’s disease (PD) research by making data easily available to researchers worldwide. This new platform launches with a high-value dataset of human postmortem-derived brain samples, offering unprecedented insights into neurodegeneration. The dataset features samples from four CRN teams worldwide and 156 donors, with 629 donors contributing to the final harmonized dataset.

The CRN Cloud brings resources from across ASAP’s network to a single platform, enabling researchers to share, access, and work directly with other leading experts to distill discoveries offering the potential for unprecedented insights into neurodegeneration. The initial data originates from ASAP’s Collaborative Research Network, an international, multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional network of scientists working to address high-priority basic science questions at the heart of PD.

“Human postmortem-derived brain samples and data are a precious resource that are highly limited for scientific research communities studying neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease,” said Sonya Dumanis, PhD, deputy director at Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP). “By democratizing and federating data in one place through the CRN Cloud, ASAP and our partners are building responsible, open access data and resources to amplify the impact of every contribution across the research community and allow researchers to develop faster and better outcomes.”

The launch collection of human postmortem derived brain samples contains single-cell transcriptomic data. Single-cell transcriptomics allow each cell to be independently characterized and scrutinized for which genes are active or “expressed” in each cell type to better understand what goes wrong in neurodegeneration. This approach has already provided critical insight in many diseases, including cancer, where the ability to study adjacent cancerous and healthy cells has provided new insights into how cells go awry, and how they can be detected or targeted. This approach is highly anticipated in the field of neuroscience, where the brain’s diverse cell types, complex structures and subtleties of pathology can only be observed after death. 

ASAP developed the tool with implementation partner The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, along with technical partners at DataTecnica, DNAstack, and Verily.  

  • DataTecnica’s technology contributes to analysis from pre-processing to annotation, ensuring datasets are harmonized and high-quality. 
  • DNAstack provided a data platform which allows for data to be stored securely within a cloud environment while still being accessible to the broader research network – a technique called data federation. 
  • Verily Viewpoint Workbench creates a collaborative environment where scientists worldwide can access, analyze, and share data. Combining the data, governance, and analytic resources in a globally shared platform democratizes the data, enabling and empowering a vibrant global research community unconstrained by local resources.

Researchers who are interested in accessing the data should visit and submit a Data Use Application from within the platform. To submit an application, researchers need to provide their role, institution, and intended use of the data, as well as agree to the terms of the data use agreement. Once data access has been granted, researchers will have access to all data sets.

From the transcriptomic data of a single brain cell to the massive, federated data network, ASAP continues to bring information and partners together in service of reducing barriers to data access and advancing Parkinson’s research.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contact:

Rosanna Vierra, GMMB 



About Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s Disease (ASAP) 

The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative is a coordinated research initiative to advance targeted basic research for Parkinson’s disease. ASAP is devoted to accelerating the pace of discovery and informing the path to a cure for Parkinson’s disease through collaboration, research-enabling resources, and data sharing. Led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Randy Schekman and Dr. Ekemini Riley, ASAP is managed by the Coalition for Aligning Science and is working with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to implement its programs. The initiative was incubated at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy with support from the Sergey Brin Family Foundation. For more information, visit us at or on LinkedIn.

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