Genomics is generating new insights into the genetic causes of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and congenital disorders, and promises to transform healthcare. In Australia, the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG) at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research aims to close the gap between research and the clinic by providing Australian genomics researchers with cost-effective whole human genome sequencing and access to high performance computational resources.

150 human genomes every 3 days

In 2003 the international Human Genome Project announced the first sequence map of a human genome, spending 13 years and US$3 billion to do it. Today, Garvan’s KCCG is able to sequence 150 whole human genomes every 3 days, at a cost to Australian researchers of less than A$2,000 per genome. At full capacity, the centre can sequence 18,000 whole human genomes per year and is expected to generate in excess of 4.5 petabytes of data over the next three years.

Designing a specialised network for a new era of genomics research

Dr Warren Kaplan, Garvan’s Chief of Informatics says at full capacity KCCG will be moving at least 4 terabytes of data per day from the sequencing centre to the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) in Canberra. UNSW IT partnered with AARNet for the design and deployment of the reliable high bandwidth network infrastructure required for the sequencing centre. The network provides high-speed interconnections between Garvan/UNSW and the NCI supercomputing facility.

Data is increasing exponentially

“There are more than 70 Garvan bioinformaticians working with local and international collaborators on genomic data, and we have mind-bogglingly large amounts of genomic information that needs to be moved over the AARNet network for analysis and storage at the NCI. The volume of data is increasing exponentially so we require a scalable network to meet our needs into the future,” says Dr Kaplan.

Researchers from across Australia and around the world will be able to analyse their Garvan-generated genomic information in a secure environment by using the NCI’s supercomputer or high-performance cloud computing infrastructure.

“The reality is, we at Garvan are moving towards being very connected to the world and we see AARNet as the provider of the underlying fabric that makes it all happen,” says Dr Kaplan.

Published: 02/2017

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