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UK Biobank RAP Researcher Spotlight: September 2023

The Monthly Researcher Spotlight is our section highlighting the exciting work of the UK Biobank Research Analysis Platform user community. If you would like to be featured, email

This was simultaneously published in the September 2023 UK Biobank RAP Newsletter. You can sign up for future installments here.

This month's Spotlight features Ryan Longchamps, a researcher whose work revolves around identifying novel genetic targets to develop RNA-targeted therapeutics.

Ryan Longchamps, PhD

Ryan Longchamps, PhD
Assistant Director of Statistical Genetics
Ionis Pharmaceuticals


What are the focus and discovery highlights of your research?

Our group is focused on elucidating the complex role genetics plays in human disease in an effort to develop and deliver first-in-class medicines to patients in need. We implement a large number of statistical genetics and computational biology techniques to identify novel genetic targets as well as provide genetic support for existing targets across a wide range of diseases with a high degree of unmet need.

What are some of the key questions that you are looking to answer using UK Biobank data?

Our group is primarily interested in leveraging the scale of the UK Biobank to identify novel gene-trait associations. The comprehensive phenotyping available within the UKB enables us to design custom analyses for each trait of interest while the regular release of new imaging, metabolomic, proteomic and genetic data provide us with the opportunity to continually update and refine these analyses.

How has the UK Biobank Research Analysis Platform (UKB-RAP) helped you perform your research?

As a relatively new group, the UKB-RAP has drastically improved our ability to build out our analysis pipelines compared to a traditional HPC. The web interface has also been extremely useful for members of our team who have less experience with cloud computing environments. Additionally, leveraging the knowledge, experience and tools of DNAnexus Community has been incredibly valuable and has often helped us troubleshoot at a much faster rate than would be possible with less active communities.

About DNAnexus

DNAnexus the leader in biomedical informatics and data management, has created the global network for genomics and other biomedical data, operating in 33 countries including North America, Europe, China, Australia, South America, and Africa. The secure, scalable, and collaborative DNAnexus Platform helps thousands of researchers across a spectrum of industries — biopharmaceutical, bioagricultural, sequencing services, clinical diagnostics, government, and research consortia — accelerate their genomics programs.

The DNAnexus team is made up of experts in computational biology and cloud computing who work with organizations to tackle some of the most exciting opportunities in human health, making it easier—and in many cases feasible—to work with genomic data. With DNAnexus, organizations can stay a step ahead in leveraging genomics to achieve their goals. The future of human health is in genomics. DNAnexus brings it all together.