Prof Julian Gough - Group Leader
I did my undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics (joint hon.s) then moved on to a PhD in theoretical and computational molecular biology gaining a foundation in protein structure. Combining protein structure with sequences coming out of genome projects I worked on protein domain analysis and evolution. I continue to work by applying bioinformatics tools to answer biological questions, sometimes developing new methods to achieve this goal, with awareness of evolution always a theme. My interests have now expanded from protein domains in cellular organisms in several dimensions, but based on the same principles to include: transcription, regulation and cell fate; non-coding sequence; intrinsically disordered proteins; function and phenotype prediction; viral evolution; mutation analysis; drug repurposing; continuous monitoring devices; directed evolution.
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Dr Arun Prasad Pandurangan - Investigator Scientist
Following my postgraduate degree in Computer Science, I did my PhD in computational strucutral biology focusing on the development of basic methods for protein-peptide docking and ab initio protein strucutre prediction. In my postdoctoral research, I focused on developing computational methods for fitting and refining protein atomic models into low resolution electron microscopy density maps as well as predicting the effects of mutations on protein stability. My current research interest focuses on annotating whole genome sequences with strucutral, functional and evolutionary information through the maintainance and development of the SUPERFAMILY database and applying the tool to interesting problems in structural and genomic research.
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Dr Rihab Gam - Postdoctoral Scientist
I obtained my BSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and then my MSc in Genetics and Biotechnology from the same University before moving to the UK where I obtained my PhD degree in Immunogenetics of Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. My focus on the immunogenetics of HSCs led me to work as post-doctoral scientist at the International Research Centre for Medical Sciences (IRCMS), Kumamoto University, Japan. I am currently a post-doctoral scientist at the MRC, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK where I am focusing on acquiring the required skills for Computational Personal Genomics and developing interpretation pipelines in order to incorporate the outcome into care pathways.
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Dr Kalaivani Raju - Postdoctoral Research Scientist
At the undergraduate level, I was trained as an engineer in Biotechnology at Anna University, India. After the 4-year programme, I took to full-time research for a Ph.D. in Computational Biology at the Indian Institute of Science. My area of research during the graduate days can be broadly described as computational biology with special focus on protein biophysics and evolution. For my dissertation, I asked several questions on the interrelationship between the function, dynamics and structure of protein kinases. I also identified the specificity conferring residues in 107 protein kinase families, which can potentially render modularity to the kinase superfamily. After looking at proteins from a biophysical and evolutionary point of view, I am now hoping to apply my knowledge and skills to identify cell reprogramming pathways and understand transdifferentiation.
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Dr Minkyung Sung - Postdoctoral Research Scientist
I did my BSc and MSc in Molecular biology from Pusan National University. After receiving Masters degree, I worked with NGS (Next Generation sequencing) data in Korea Bioinformation Center (KOBIC), which collaborated with Samsung-medical center. I did my PhD in Computational Biology by Omics data analysis at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). My main goal during the phD was to interpret non-coding regulatory region related to human disease or evolution using various genomic and epigenomc data. I'm curently a post doctoral researcher at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK and my biggest interest is unerstanding mechanism of transcriptional control of cell fate and tissue function and predicting useful transcriptional targets to reverse diseased tissue to normal.
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Dr Chang Lu - Postdoctoral Research Scientist
After I obtained my BSc in Mathematics from Zhejiang University, China, I decided to be explorative and joined a biology lab at Tsinghua University, Beijing, working molecular regulation mechanisms between MKPs and MAPKs in the MAPK pathway using both computational and biochemical approaches. Now I am a postdoctoral scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, with keen interest in linking genotype with phenotype through systematic analysis of genomic and phenotype ontology data for both coding and non-coding regions.
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Natalie Thurlby - PhD Candidate
I'm a final year PhD student coming form the Bristol Cenre for Complexity Sciences. My main instrest is phenotype prediction. I am developing a high throughput method that will predict phenotype given the genotype. This is achieved by combining together the information about fuctional specificity of genomic regions, Single Nucleotide Polimorphism deleriteriousness and comparing the genotype of interest against a backarunprasad.jpgground population. At present I'm trying to make predictions about phenotypes on the ALSPAC (Children of the 90s) cohort.
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Group Alumni:


Jan Zaucha - PhD Candidate
I have recently completed my PhD in the Gough group; the goal of my project was to leverage insights from protein evolutionary conservation and population genetics in order to understand how the genotype affects the phenotype. Now at Dmitrij Frishman's lab at the Technical University of Munich (website), I'm applying my expertise in personal genomics and protein homology to enhance our understanding of cancer somatic mutations and their molecular effects downstream. In particular, I am interested in predicting the variants that disrupt protein interactions thereby contributing to tumorigenesis. Apart from that, I am involved in developing tools for cancer screening using the recently developed Digital Droplet PCR technology, which is capable of detecting even faint concentrations of circulating tumor DNA within the patient's bloodstream.
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Dr Ben Smithers - Alumnus
I have recently finished my PhD in teh Gough lab, having worked on linking protein intron/exon boundaries to structural and disordered aspects of proteins. My interested in driven by the 'Big Data' problems in Biology, notably in the analysis of Next Generation Sequences using distributed and high-performance computing. Currently, my focus is on performing protein homology in the context of ever-increasing genomic data.
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Dr Hai Fang - Alumnus
Now at the University of Oxford. I have a great interest in genome-scale data mining: I developed the database of domain-centric ontologies to aid in functional genomics and phenotype prediction; applied network techniques to identify the possible connections among drugs, diseases and phenotypes; used the tree of life to study network evolution. I have also published several papers about transcriptome data mining which is unique in topology-preserving selection and clustering.
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Dr Matt E. Oates - Alumnus
Now at Congenica, a biotech startup on the Genome Campus in Cambridge. My PhD focused on finding remote homology within cell signalling pathways across the Eukaryotic tree of life. Specifically investigating how function of signalling pathways may be preserved through disordered protein interactions and PPI network rewiring, facilitating modular domain rearrangement and repurposing.
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Dr Dimitrios V. Vavoulis - Alumnus
Now at the University of Oxford. I am a trained biologist-turned-computational-scientist. I hold a BSc in Biology, an MSc with Distinction in Environmental Biology, an MSc with Distinction in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems and a PhD in Neuroscience. After I finished my PhD, I worked for 4 years as a postdoc in the Computational Biology and Bioimaging Group at the University of Warwick and then I moved to the Computational Genomics Group at the University of Bristol. Before I joined Julian Gough's group, my work focused on developing data-driven, biologically plausible computational models of neurons and neural networks. At my present post, I develop statistical methods for clustering high-dimensional, high-volume gene expression data. The driving force underlying my work has always been a keen interest in applying computational methodologies for modelling and data analysis in the Life Sciences.
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Dr Chris Musselle - Alumnus
I completed my PhD in Computer Science at the University of Bristol in 2012 looking at the online monitoring and analysis of multiple data streams. The work successfully implemented a change point detection algorithm using iterative dimensionality reduction techniques. My current research project is in the field of Population Genetics, looking at how next generation sequencing technologies can be harnessed to analyse genetic variability at the population level. I am currently developing a series of computational tools to aid in the pipeline of data analysis and manipulation from the raw sequence reads to variant discovery.
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Dr Adam Sardar - Alumnus
Now at e-Therapeutics in Oxford doing bioinformatics for drug discovery and development. I study protein-domain evolution. The core focus of my PhD is on the consistency of the concept of a tree of life with the evolutionary history of sequenced cellular genomes. I am also interestd in the transcribed proteome and in the genetic causes of yeast multicellularity. My passion for computational biology is the problem solving aspect; there are so many questions that we have are just starting to be able to answer thanks to the explosion of sequence data and the development of intelligent algorithms with which to study it.
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Dr Hashem Shihab - Alumnus
Hashem completed his PhD using hidden Markov models to predict the functional consequences of genetic variation (single base-pair mutations as well as gross insertions and deletions) and investigate the molecular mechanisms of human disease/cancer. Hashem developed the Functional Analysis through Hidden Markov Models (FATHMM) software and now works as a Research Associate within the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol.
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Dr Owen Rackham - Alumnus
Now running his own research group; Assistant Professor at Duke-NUS in Singapore. In 2013 Owen graduated with a PhD in Complexity Sciences looking at understanding the complexity of the cell at various levels. His work looked at synaptic plasticity in the brain, protein evolution and finally cell reprogramming. His main interests include the application of mathematics and complex systems thinking to molecular biology and bioinformatics. In particular he focused on the application of machine learning and graph theory in the field of regenerative medicine through next generation sequence analysis. The current era of biology is having to deal with vast quantities of data and Owen felt that it's the role of the computer scientist and bioinformatician to work in unison with biologists to get the most out of this data in an efficient and meaningful way. Owen left the group in September 2013 after a year's postdoctoral position, to work at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre: Integrative Biology department.
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Dr Ralph Pethica - Alumnus
Now CEO of an exciting start-up (Genetrainer) in personal genomics. Ralph did his PhD in the group using computational methods to investigate the ways in which new families of protein domains evolve. Ralph also developed TreeVector - Integrated Phylogenetic Trees Using SVG. Ralph completed in 2011 and after graduating Ralph moved to Google and worked as a product manager.
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Dr David Morais - Alumnus
Now at Universite de Sherbrooke in Canada. David joined the group in 2010 to work on the SUPERFAMILY resource. He made significant contributions to the underlying infrastructure, migrating many services to the cloud, whilst also working on a forthcoming homology benchmark paper. He left in 2011 to move to Montreal with his wife and daughter (pictured) and now works at Reseau Quebecois de Calcul de Haute Performance (Quebec Network of High Performance Computing).
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Dr Martin Madera - Alumnus
Martin first started work in bioinformatics working as a summer student at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular biology in Cambridge doing the work with Julian on comparing hidden Markov model methods that was later published during his PhD which he went on to do in the same lab. After graduating Martin did a post-doc at UCSC with Kevin Karplus before joining the group here in Bristol where he published PRC the profile comparer for hidden Markov models.
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