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23 Apr 2018

Microsoft cloud computing grant to support Garvan’s genomic research

Microsoft is to support the development of Garvan’s Genetic Index, through an Azure high performance computing grant.

Studies of the human genome at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research will be accelerated, thanks to a generous grant from Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Azure grant will support the development of Garvan’s Genetic Index – a resource for the international scientific community that will include summary data of 5,000 whole human genomes. Thanks to the Microsoft Azure grant, Garvan is planning to perform complex production bioinformatics for these genomes on the Azure Australia Central cloud.

“With Microsoft’s support, Garvan will further accelerate our genome research helping to bring closer a new and important era of healthcare,” said Dr Warren Kaplan, Chief of Informatics at Garvan’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics.

To support genomic discovery internationally, the Genetic Index will be made available to researchers around the world. Researchers will be able to get insight into the genetic basis of health and disease by looking up the frequency of genetic changes in the index. For example, if a change is rare, this could be evidence that it contributes to a disease, whereas a common change is less likely to be damaging.

“We are working with people’s sensitive health information, so it is crucial that we use best practice to secure this data and actively seek collaborators for whom this is a priority,” said Dr Kaplan.

The Genetic Index is part of an extensive suite of genomics-focused research initiatives at Garvan that seek to impact on human health, including DreamLab, the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, the Garvan-Weizmann partnership and the Clinical Immunogenomics Research Consortium Australia (CIRCA).

Read more in the Australian Financial Review or Microsoft Australia's press release.