Press release, April 20, 2016 – Dell

Dell announced today that the University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI) has implemented the PHEMI Central Big Data Warehouse solution built on Dell hardware to sequence and analyze the genomes of 20,000 individuals. The goal is to identify individual variances and find personalized treatments to detect risk for diseases like diabetes and cancer and initiate early intervention.

PHEMI built the solution on Dell hardware because of its ability to satisfy PHEMI’s performance requirements.

Through a spin-off company Molecular You Corp (MYCo), UBC’s PMI has created new initiatives such as the Molecular You Pathfinder project which uses big data analytics and the Molecular You medicine application to build a full molecular genomic profile of participants and identify how an individual’s genes affect their response to drugs.

To undertake the study PMI and MYCo implemented a big data management solution based on PHEMI software and powered by Dell PowerEdge servers. MYCo researchers first conduct a full genomic profile and phenotype test of participants using bone scans, cognitive tests, clinical lab tests, blood and urine samples. The data is then deposited into the PHEMI database which has an infinite capacity to securely store, manage and analyze genomic and clinical data. By using big data analytics to combine and study complex and diverse data sets, MYCo can then identify the precise status of an individual’s health, how that individual’s genes will affect their response to medication, and prescribe a personalized treatment plan intended to cure that individual’s chronic condition.

Dell PowerEdge 320 servers run PHEMI’s front-end management node as well as two master nodes running Apache Hadoop, the open-source analytics platform that processes massive data sets. At the recommendation of Dell Deployment Services, PHEMI also deployed four data nodes based on Dell PowerEdge 720xd servers to run Accumulo and Hadoop data processes. Dell Networking 10GbE switches connect the servers. The resulting big data solution is flexible and scalable and provides an infinite capacity to grow as new clinical data sets are sourced. The solution also provides 24×7 business continuity and disaster recovery.

The PHEMI Central Big Data Warehouse solution provides a safe and cost-effective way for companies such as MYCo to collect, store and manage genomic and clinical data. The PHEMI solution uses a Zero Trust Data model that gives MYCo full control over who can access specific clinical data and for what purpose, which allows privacy policies, governance issues, consent and data sharing agreements to be automatically enforced within the solution.


“This is an exciting time. We think the analysis we get through the system could be a game-changer in medicine. It allows us to analyze all the molecular components and interpret how these contribute to a person’s health. Using these insights we can make amazing breakthroughs that will help people in ways we never thought possible. Big data gives us a huge opportunity to tackle diseases and hopefully pick them off one by one.” – Rob Fraser, COO of UBC’s Personalized Medicine Initiative and Co-Founder of MYCo.

“It is a pivotal time in medical research and we at Dell are delighted to have the opportunity to work with educational organizations like UBC, MYCo and PHEMI. Technology enables them to do their important work to improve medical outcomes.” – Jon Dermott, vice president, Sales, Dell Canada

#DellStory For more detailed information please read the case study.

A more innovative health care system can start now.