ApacheCon Europe 2012

Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim, Germany

5–8 November 2012

Extending lifespan with Hadoop and R

Radek Maciaszek

Audience level:
Big Data

Tuesday 11:15 a.m.–noon in Level 2 Left


Many experts believe that ageing can be delayed, this is one of the main goals of the the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London. I will present the results of my lifespan-extension research where we integrated publicly available genes databases in order to identify ageing related genes. I will show what challenges we met and what we have learned about the process of ageing.


Ageing is one of the fundamental mysteries in biology and many scientists are starting to study this fascinating process. I am part of the research group led by Dr Eugene Schuster at UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing. We experiment with Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans by modifying their genes in order to create long-lived mutants. The results of our experiments are quantified using high-throughput microarray analysis. Finally we apply information technology in order to understand how the ageing process works. I will show how we mine microarrays data in order to find the connections between thousands of genes and how we identify candidates for ageing genes.

We are interested in building a better understanding of genes functions by harnessing the large quantity of experimental microarray data in the public databases. Our hope is that after understanding the ageing process in simpler organisms we will be able to apply this knowledge in humans.

Cross-referencing expressions levels in thousands of genes and hundreds of experiments turned out to be a computationally challenging problem but Hadoop and Amazon cloud came to our rescue. In this talk I will present a case study based on our use of R with Amazon Elastic MapReduce and will give background on our bioinformatics challenges.