Reader in Genomics and Bioinformatics, and Bioinformatics Lead, Centre for Enzyme Innovation, University of Portsmouth
I am a Reader in Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of Portsmouth. Since 2020, I have led the south coast sequencing hub for the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium. This is a network of research institutes, public health agencies and NHS Trusts, working together to understand the spread of the virus across the UK. Through the use of whole genome sequencing of virus samples, we are able to further understand how the virus spreads, identify direct transmission chains in hospitals and other settings, and identify potential variants of concern.
In addition, I am the Bioinformatics Lead at the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI). Our goal is to identify and develop enzymatic solutions to help solve global environmental issues such as the current plastics crisis. The CEI have previously characterised and engineered an enzyme able to efficiently catalyse the breakdown of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics. We aim to explore the natural world to find further exciting candidate enzymes with unique properties, to use bioengineering to further improve these properties, and to develop these enzymes for deployment at an industrial scale.
I collaborate across the faculty on research projects utilising powerful techniques such as high-throughput sequencing (both Illumina and Nanopore-based technologies), which require extensive processing and rigorous statistical analyses.
Previous to my appointment, I worked in the group of Prof. Tony Kouzarides at the Wellcome Trust/CRUK Gurdon Institute where I worked as the bioinformatics lead. My main research focus was to analyse the role of histone and RNA modifications, and in particular their role in diseases such as cancer.
Prior to this, I held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute where I worked under Dr. Matt Hurles as a Mathematical and Statistical Biologist. My work focused on the analysis of large scale copy-number variations in the human genome and their role in common diseases such as breast cancer and Crohn's Disease.
My initial training was in Mathematics, having achieved a Bachelor's degree at the University of Warwick in 2003. I joined the MOAC Doctoral Training Centre in its first year, where students were taken from a number of different backgrounds and trained with a focus on inter-disciplinary science to communicate at the interface between the Life Sciences. I completed my MSc in 2004, and was awarded a PhD in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry in January 2009.
Jan 03, 2022 12:03 pm UTC| Health
If the pandemic had happened ten years ago, what would it have looked like? Doubtless there would have been many differences, but probably the most striking would have been the relative lack of genomic sequencing. This is...