The wide field of health and medical science covers everything from improved diagnosis of illness to the development of new drugs and treatments. At NCI, researchers are applying computational and big data techniques to the big world of human health.

One of the most significant areas of research in this space is the application of widespread genomic sequencing to the understanding and treatment of disease. Cheap and easily sequenced, human genomes are a rich repository of precious data that can teach us exactly how and why diseases occur within populations or individuals. NCI’s close ties to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Australian Genomics Health Alliance and The Australian National University’s Centre for Personalised Medicine allow Australian researchers and clinicians to make use of the country’s leading HPC and HPD infrastructure in furthering their work.

Programs like Garvan’s Medical Genome Reference Bank bring troves of highly secure, ethical genomic data to researchers, allowing them to speed up and develop their research process. The promise of personalised medicine, individually tailored treatments based on a person’s genomic make up, relies on the development of big data technologies, large scale computation and robust security mechanisms. NCI is continually working with our partners on advancing this large and exciting field of research.

Other researchers at NCI are applying molecular modelling to medical questions such as understanding cell behaviour, designing new drugs and tracking the interactions that take place in the body when treating a disease. Modelling a single protein’s hundreds of atoms requires a supercomputer; a detailed view of exactly how they interact with a potential drug molecule relies on a lot of computer power.

NCI’s users in the space of health and medical research make use our latest technologies and data services. From the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure giving researchers the flexibility to run complex pipelines of data analysis with minimal hassle, to the high-performance filesystems giving almost instant access to terabytes of genomic data, NCI’s infrastructure platform is helping to support the growing computational needs of the health research community.