Researchers at Ohio State gain access to UK Biobank’s wealth of genetic health data

Researchers at The Ohio State University now have access to the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource containing genetic health information from half a million participants from the United Kingdom.

The terms of use for the UK Biobank have been a consistent challenge for researchers. Specifically, Ohio law prevents both the university and the medical center from signing contractual agreements that subject Ohio State to jurisdictions outside of Ohio. The Ohio State University Physicians Inc., or OSUP, is a private physician group and therefore not constrained by the limits of Ohio law. As a result of some out of the box thinking on the part of representatives with OSUP, the Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, researchers now have an alternative pathway to access these data.

Timothy Huerta, PhD, MS, serves as chief research information officer at the College of Medicine and Wexner Medical Center, director of Biomedical Informatics for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and associate dean for Research Information Technology. He notes that “researchers now have two options. They can identify a clinical PI, who is a member of the practice plan, who can work with the team to execute the UK Biobank agreement, or they can reach out me and I can serve in that capacity.”

Data drives discovery so these two options now serve as a clear pathway and a clear governance model that allows researchers to begin to explore data that other universities have been using for quite some time. 

For help accessing the UK Biobank, email