Integration of EGA secure data access into Galaxy

F1000Res. 2016 Dec 12;5:ELIXIR-2841. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.10221.1. eCollection 2016.


High-throughput molecular profiling techniques are routinely generating vast amounts of data for translational medicine studies. Secure access controlled systems are needed to manage, store, transfer and distribute these data due to its personally identifiable nature. The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) was created to facilitate access and management to long-term archival of bio-molecular data. Each data provider is responsible for ensuring a Data Access Committee is in place to grant access to data stored in the EGA. Moreover, the transfer of data during upload and download is encrypted. ELIXIR, a European research infrastructure for life-science data, initiated a project (2016 Human Data Implementation Study) to understand and document the ELIXIR requirements for secure management of controlled-access data. As part of this project, a full ecosystem was designed to connect archived raw experimental molecular profiling data with interpreted data and the computational workflows, using the CTMM Translational Research IT (CTMM-TraIT) infrastructure as an example. Here we present the first outcomes of this project, a framework to enable the download of EGA data to a Galaxy server in a secure way. Galaxy provides an intuitive user interface for molecular biologists and bioinformaticians to run and design data analysis workflows. More specifically, we developed a tool -- ega_download_streamer - that can download data securely from EGA into a Galaxy server, which can subsequently be further processed. This tool will allow a user within the browser to run an entire analysis containing sensitive data from EGA, and to make this analysis available for other researchers in a reproducible manner, as shown with a proof of concept study. The tool ega_download_streamer is available in the Galaxy tool shed:

Keywords: EGA; Galaxy; bioinformatics; data management; translational research; workflows.

Grant support

This EGA-TraIT implementation study is supported by ELIXIR. YH, CZ, JB, SH, RF, JWB, GM, A.St and SA are all supported by CTMM-TraIT (grant agreement number 05T-401).