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Moving Genome Projects to the Cloud

By Rob Mitchum // April 9, 2013

The original Human Genome Project needed 13 years, hundreds of scientists and billions of dollars to produce the first complete human DNA sequence. Only ten years after that achievement  genome sequencing is a routine activity in laboratories around the world, creating a new demand for analytics tools that can grapple with the large datasets these methods produce. Large projects like the HGP could assemble their own expensive cyberinfrastructure to handle these tasks, but even as sequencing gets cheaper, data storage, transfer and analysis remains a time and financial burden for smaller labs.

Today at the Bio-IT World conference in Boston, the CI’s Globus Onlineofficially unveiled their solution for these scientists: Globus Genomics. Per the news release, “integrates the data transfer capabilities of Globus Online, the workflow tools of Galaxy, and the elastic computational infrastructure of Amazon Web Services. The result is a powerful platform for simplifying and streamlining sequencing analysis, ensuring that IT expertise is not a requirement for advanced genomics research.”


In the release, positive feedback is provided by researchers including William Dobyns, who studies the genetics and neuroscience of developmental disorders at the University of Washington, and Kenan Onel, a pediatric oncologist who directs the Familial Cancer Clinic at The University of Chicago Medicine. Nancy Cox, section chief for genetic medicine at UChicago Medicine, said the service enabled her laboratory to meet the big data challenges of modern genomic research.

“We needed a solution that would give us flexibility to extend our analysis pipelines and apply them to very large data sets,” says Dr. Cox. “Globus Genomics has provided us with a key set of tools and scalable infrastructure to support our research needs.”

If you’re at the Bio-IT World conference, you can visit the Globus Online team at Booth 100 and get a tutorial on the new Globus Genomics service.

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