The Centre for Public Health within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences uses the Dell Cluster to carry out research on molecular genetic disorders.
Their goal is to understand the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s risk of disease so that those at highest risk can be identified in time for treatment or lifestyle changes to prevent disease.
One specific project is entitled “A Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) and Characterisation of Genetic Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm”. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.
The research involves analysis of the GWAS dataset for association of phenotype and genotype after clustering for population stratification.
This analysis is very compute intensive and uses “Plink” and “SNOW” software running on the Dell Cluster.These programs would not be able to run this analysis on a desktop computer due to the length of running time and memory required. The use of High Performance Computing makes this research possible.