A new high performance computing and cloud facility has been unveiled by scientists in London, named after Dr Rosalind Franklin, the unsung heroine of elucidating the double-helix structure of DNA.
The new cloud HPC facility will allow the large-scale analysis of research data on an unprecedented scale – from sources as diverse as DNA samples to fitbits and health apps. The infrastructure will also allow researchers to analyze data more quickly, efficiently than was previously possible.
Professor Graham Lord, Director of the BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Quick and early diagnosis of diseases is an important aim of our research. Rosalind breaks new ground by helping us analyse greater volumes of genomics data than ever before. Over the last five years there have been tremendous improvements in technology which mean we are now able to scale volumes of genomics data being collected. Before Rosalind, if we wanted to analyze the data from 500 DNA samples it would have taken us approximately six months, now with the launch of Rosalind it will take only a week.”
“The work undertaken by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins at King’s College London and Watson and Crick at Cambridge was fundamental to understanding the structure of DNA. The molecule’s structure was key to appreciating its role encoding the blueprint for life, and it is fitting that this system – which will help researchers to better understand that encoded information – is named after one of the pioneers of the genetic era,” concluded Lord.
Three organizations have worked together to fund and create the new facility: NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre; NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre; and King’s College London. All three organizations are part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. Substantial funding was also provided by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the Maudsley Charity.
Michael Luck, executive dean of the faculty of natural and mathematical sciences at King’s College London stated: “In addition to research in health, this new facility provides a resource to cover research activity in basic sciences, including the simulation of materials, the computational modeling of biomolecular phenomena, and bioinformatics and big data research more generally. This will be an asset for fundamental data-driven research in physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering and mathematics.”