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Refine OGSA-DAI installation for rapid deployment of distributed data servers

David Macrandal

Goal: To refining OGSA-DAI installation for rapid deployment of distributed data servers supporting Gene Therapy clinical trials in Cystic Fibrosis.


The Cystic Fibrosis group in the Molecular Medicine Centre (MMC) at the Western General Hospital are developing gene therapies to treat Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening hereditary disease. To understand which genes are responsible for the disease, and which genes may have diagnostic or prognostic value, they go through a long process of laboratory experiments and analysis, involving microarray experiments and several types of statistical tests.
These analyses generate substantial quantities of data which are extremely valuable to the researchers and, as such, it is very important to ensure the long term preservation of the data in RDBMS. Further challenges to preserving and curating the data arise due to the sensitivity of the data, which typically contains sensitive patient information. It is often preferable for the data to remain on-site in the location in which it was generated.

The goal of this project is to investigate and implement a system which will simplify the process of installing and configuring new database servers, exposed through OGSA-DAI, for rapid deployment in labs generating clinical gene therapy data.

Currently, installing and configuring OGSA-DAI to expose data resources is a lengthy and involved process that requires training and patience. It is intended that the system created will comprise a series of simple-to-use scripts, possibly wrapped in a simple, clean GUI app.

Technical Details

The project will require a good working knowledge of a language such as Java, Perl, etc. in which the scripts will be written. The student should be comfortable working with OGSA-DAI and an SQL variant, preferably MySQL, in an administrative role in order to construct the data resources.

During the project, the student will work closely with the NeSC middleware team, specifically those involved in the development of OGSA-DAI. If successful, the resulting scripts could be bundled as part of future releases of OGSA-DAI to encourage its adoption by a wider base of less UNIX-savvy users.

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What is cystic fibrosis? OGSA-DAI documentation: