Chan Zuckerberg Initiative injects funds into Galaxy platform for biomedical research

Categorised: ENGAGE

The global Galaxy Project has been awarded a US$190,000 grant by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to extend Galaxy—a web-based computational platform—so that it can analyse large biomedical datasets and integrate with other analysis tools.

Galaxy is a free, web-accessible, open-source research platform that life scientists can use to test, evaluate and peer review their work. Used by hundreds of thousands of scientists across the world to analyse biomedical data—including genomic, proteomic (the study of proteins produced by genes), image processing, and systems biology data—it has the advantage that users don’t need training in programming or IT to be able to use it to analyse data.

The grant will be used to

  • extend Galaxy to allow easy browsing and importing of datasets from large data repositories
  • enable Galaxy to efficiently use cloud computing resources for large-scale, near-data computing
  • extend Galaxy integration with other data science environments.

The software extension in this project will help solidify the Kubernetes-based version of Galaxy as a full-featured, robust solution for deploying a scalable version of Galaxy on any computing platform, from laptop to computing cluster to a commercial computing cloud. The project will benefit many life science researchers and ensure the further expansion of the global Galaxy community.

This work and the Australian Research Containers Orchestration Service (ARCOS) project, which is a national collaboration being led by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), will help Galaxy Australia more easily deploy new versions of the software across a variety of computational infrastructure.

In 2020, Galaxy Australia was actively part of the international Galaxy platform that responded to the urgent need for insight into the SARS-CoV-2 virus, building a truly global, democratised, reproducible and transparent approach to systematically analysing the virus.
The grant has been awarded to partners at the Oregon Health & Sciences University, Johns Hopkins University and Melbourne Bioinformatics at the University of Melbourne. Associate Professor Andrew Lonie, Australian BioCommons Director and Senior Advisor at Melbourne Bioinformatics is very pleased to hear this news.

“This team has been working together for some years now, first building the Genomics Virtual Laboratory and more recently developing features for Galaxy to function better in distributed and cloud computing environments. This project grant acknowledges, formalises and strengthens this collaboration, enabling more coordinated efforts and, through that work, better infrastructure for our life science researchers,” said Andrew.

Galaxy Australia is now a mature, life science data analysis infrastructure and service. It has been funded over many years by National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) initiatives. It is hosted, co-funded and driven by Galaxy project teams at Melbourne and Queensland Universities (Melbourne Bioinformatics and Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation). Ongoing support also comes from ARDC’s Platforms program and Nectar Research Cloud, Australian BioCommons, Bioplatforms Australia, and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and from Queensland Government's Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative makes grants to organisations working in support of its missions in science, education, and justice & opportunity. Since its launch in 2015, it has awarded about US$2 billion in grants.

Spatial information – ARDC and ICSM to collaborate

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