Supporting a Rutherford Discovery Fellow

Using Science DMZ and REANNZ, Otago’s team downloaded files for Dr Louise Bicknell's research across the network.

Dr Louise Bicknell’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowship earmarks her as one of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers.

Based at the Department of Pathology at the University of Otago, her research focus is on understanding how human genetic variation present in our genomes causes and influences our development and lifetime health. 

She has identified mutations in fifteen novel disease genes covering multiple categories of monogenic disorders, providing a molecular diagnosis for more than 100 families worldwide. 

As part of her research, she had been trying to download 3000 files, each of about 10-12GB from the European Genome-Phenome archive, at the Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya supercomputer in Barcelona.

Louise had managed to download 600 files using her desktop computer – but that had taken around 3 weeks to download just 20% of the files!

After hearing a presentation by REANNZ about how we make data go faster, she got in touch with us.

We worked with the University of Otago’s IT team who manage their Science DMZ.  Science DMZ was developed by our colleagues at ESnet (Energy Sciences Network), which is funded by the US Department of Energy's Office of Science and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  

Science DMZ addresses common network performance problems encountered by research institutions by creating an environment that is tailored to the needs of high performance science applications, including high-volume bulk data transfer, remote experiment control and data visualisation.  

Science DMZs are scalable, incrementally deployable and easily adaptable to incorporate emerging technologies. 

Using the DMZ, and supported by REANNZ, Otago’s team downloaded the files across the research network, storing them on their high capacity data storage cluster.

The 30TB of data took about 48 hours to download from Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya in Barcelona, through the global network of NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) and finally down the REANNZ network to Dunedin. 

That’s 18,941 km as the crow flies – and we’d wager it’s probably one of the longest distance transfers on the planet!

Louise says, “Everyone I dealt with, from REANNZ to our university's IT team, was very approachable and helpful. The data transfer rate was truly impressive!"

REANNZ represents New Zealand’s interests in a range of global research and education forums to ensure our interests are promoted and protected. 

For example the Global Network Architecture Group is actively designing common architecture standards, promoting cooperation between countries on capacity purchases and infrastructure builds to ensure our investments go as far as they can.  They create the global platform which enables global research programmes, open research data and access, and individual international collaboration to take place.

REANNZ is proud to support and enable Louise’s work which is making an important contribution to global research and understanding.

For more information or support about Science DMZ or downloading big data, please contact us at

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