Happy 10th Birthday, IPA!

IPA_10th_IPAblue_300xThis year marks the 10th anniversary of IPA’s commercial launch. Since its debut, IPA has been broadly adopted by the life science research community and has been cited in more than 9,000 peer-reviewed journal articles (and counting)!

To celebrate this major milestone, we asked some of our longtime employees to share their memories of the launch, how IPA has evolved over the years, and what they hope to see in the next 10 years.

Known originally as Project Magellan, IPA was officially made available to customers in 2003. Ramon Felciano, Senior Vice President and co-founder of Ingenuity, remembers the excitement at the office that day and recalls that when the product went live he was “in the server room keeping my fingers crossed.” Sara Tanenbaum, Director, Content at Ingenuity Systems, was also at Ingenuity 10 years ago and celebrated the launch by “working on the second release of Knowledge Base,” the expert curated database at the heart of all Ingenuity products.

Over the years, IPA has evolved into a powerful tool that allows scientists to quickly understand and visualize their data. And, its success has taken the dedication of many talented people. Samir Majumdar, longtime employee and Vice President of Engineering at Ingenuity credits the success of IPA to, “lots of hard work, teamwork, passion and dedication,” and a mission-driven focus on “wanting to help scientists use IPA to accelerate discovery.”

Everyone has their favorite IPA features, and our internal team is no exception. President and CEO Jake Leschly says that the “past three releases have been the best,” particularly the “giant steps we’ve made toward inference and prediction —after these, the horizon is endless.” Ramon added that, “predictive analytics, or causal reasoning, is the stuff I’m excited about because it very concretely delivers an explicit prediction like ‘this protein’s activation will increase’ and provides a very clear action like ‘assay that protein’s activity to confirm the prediction’ to be taken.”

Samir is a big fan of how IPA integrates functions and genes/proteins, “It allows users to see the complete picture of biological interactions rather than just seeing them separately.” Sara admires “the way that Network Explorer allows users to combine data about molecular interactions, associated processes and diseases, and drug targets into one view. It allows scientists to go beyond the molecular networks and functional annotations in isolation to get a much more complete view of what is happening in their experiment.”

In looking ahead to the next 10 years, there were a number of exciting predictions for where IPA might be on its 20th anniversary in 2023. Jake expects that Ingenuity will pioneer an “alternative publication channel for scientific insights that complements traditional journal publications” and that “a large proportion of all Knowledge Base findings will be derived from crowd-sourced curation and quality control efforts.”

Sara would love to see “many different types of ‘omics’ data fully integrated to give a much better picture of what is going on in a clinical and research sample. This would include not only gene expression levels, but also genomic and somatic variants, metabolite levels, post-translational modifications, and more.”

Ramon sees a future for IPA in consumer products. He envisions Ingenuity-powered analytics that provide consumers with live, up-to-date health and safety assessments around the home. “IPA in your refrigerator would tell you if your milk is going bad, IPA in your baby’s changing table would tell you if she is getting a diaper rash, and IPA in your medicine cabinet could tell you that your doctor just prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug that might not work well for you.”

There is no doubt that IPA has made a tremendous impact in the scientific community in its first decade and it’s clear that the next 10 years will continue the rapid progress. So stay tuned and subscribe to our blog here so you can find out more stories about how IPA is helping scientists quickly model, analyze, and understand the complex biological and chemical systems at the core of life science research.