Our Customer - The University of Sydney

Haematology - Nepean Clinical School

The Project - Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) Database Upgrade

Research is conducted into Biology of the ATP-gated, cation-selective, P2X7 receptor and its significance to human infectious, malignant and autoimmune diseases as well as the genetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Project Brief

Lab Technician Kristy The database stores genotyping assay results, subject demographic and nucleotide information for over 4000 individuals and 50000 genotype profiles. Bio-bank inventory information for RNA, DNA and blood samples is also stored.

The research team's skills and objectives have outgrown the existing database capabilities and the database requires additional functionality to allow the research to grow.

New functionality includes data maintenance screens, user specified data extracts and the automated importing of assay results.


The data is considered sensitive, so strict privacy protocols apply including working on site and complying to restrictions documented in a Non-disclosure – Confidentiality Agreement.

All modifications and new work needed to comply to the existing GUI coding standards.

Data export and import formats needed to comply with proprietary formats as specified by genetic assay laboratories and proprietary analytical software.


Two technicians inspect centrifuge The existing database was stable with a well-designed schema, which simplified the initial design investigations.

A significant amount of time was required during the business analysis phase due to domain complexity. Since we were required to work on-site, staff were often available to discuss some of the more complex and subtle issues which arose.

Samples of proprietary formats were collected for the assay lab results and for the Phase Software for Haplotype Reconstruction.


Bottles containing solution The research team was presented with a database which provided:

  • enhanced functionality in the management of the bio-bank location data
  • significantly reduced data-entry time for the SNPs assays amounting to hours saved per sample plated due to automated data upload procedures
  • increased functionality and flexibility for querying the data and extracting subsets of data into MS-Excel files

To provide our solution we:

  • wrote over 10,000 lines of VBA code
  • added 10 new maintenance and reporting screens
  • added or changed 6 tables

Our software has allowed staff to add over 11,000 genotyping results in the first week of operation.

Sample of MS-Access application - Screen 1
Sample of MS-Access application - Screen 2
Sample of MS-Access application - Screen 3
Sample of MS-Access application - Screen 4