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Research group

BiOmics

Bar coded DNA sample

Technological advances have allowed scientists to gather large amounts of data about a vast array of species, organisms and single cells. Our researchers are using mathematical modelling, machine learning and other algorithms to extract information and patterns from large data sets to further our understanding of disease.

About

Contemporary scientific research benefits from rapid technological developments that enable the characterisation and quantification of biological molecules at unprecedented scale. Scientists can generate vast data that provide insight into the complex interplay of molecules within organisms. Interrogation and interpretation of these data inform the structure, function and interaction of molecules over time. 

We use ‘Omic technologies comprehensively to evaluate DNA (genomics), RNA (transcriptomics) and proteins (proteomics). We study small molecules using metabolomics. Microorganisms are investigated in a targeted manner using microbiomics or more broadly to characterise mixed samples using metagenomics.

At the University of Southampton, we generate vast datasets using these approaches across a wide range of environments and species. We work closely with NHS partners to use these capabilities to understand human disease and inform its clinical management. We bring together medical and biological scientists with mathematicians, computer and data scientists to develop and apply methods that exploit these data to their fullest potential.

From analysing patient genomes, to carrying out metagenomic analysis of water samples to using mass spectrometry metabolic profiling techniques, our scientists are studying the unique processes that take place within cells that can lead to disease or poor health outcomes in humans and help track changes in the environment.   

We are using data to answer clinical questions in areas such as cancer, autoimmune and respiratory diseases with the help of clinical colleagues we are translating our findings into novel techniques for clinicians to treat their patients, make predictions about prognosis and drug responsiveness.

Our researchers collaborate with partners at:

People, projects and publications

People

Professor Benjamin Macarthur

Personal Chair

Research interests

  • Mathematical modeling
  • Machine learning 
  • Networks

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Diana Baralle B.Sc., M.B.B.S, M.D, FRCP

Associate Dean Research

Research interests

  • RNA
  • Splicing
  • Genomics

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr James Ashton

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Paediatrics
  • Big Data

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Jane Gibson

Lecturer in Cancer B'infmtics & Genomics
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Professor John Holloway PhD, FHEA

Associate V-P Interdisciplinary Research

Research interests

  • Human genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Respiratory Disease

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Matthew Rose-Zerilli BSc (Hons), PhD

Lecturer in Integrative Cancer Biology

Research interests

  • Cancer prevention
  • Innate immunity
  • Tumour microenvironment

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Paul Skipp

Professor of Proteomics

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Ratko Djukanovic

Professor of Medicine

Research interests

  • Professor Djukanovic has a lifelong interest in asthma, especially its severe forms. where his focus is on: 1) underlying pathobiological mechanisms of asthma, 2) stratification of asthma into clinical phenotypes and mechanism-based endotypes, 3) unmet needs of severe asthma management. He also has an interest in the mechanisms and treatments of severe viral infections of the lung.
  • Underlying mechanisms of asthma: Professor Djukanovic has conducted pioneer studies into the pathology of asthma, applying research bronchoscopy  (with endobronchial biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage) and sputum induction. He led the initial task forces which defined the use of these two techniques, thereby paving the way for standardised research approches that enabled in-depth descriptions of the roles of various inflammatory cells and their mediators. He developed an explant model, consisting of bronchial biopsies placed into tissue culture, that could be stimulated ex vivo with relevant triggers, applying as needed, novel agents not yet approved for in vivo use in humans volunteers. 
  • Stratification of asthma into clinical phenotypes and mechanism-based endotypes: Professor Djukanovic led the discovery of biomarkers using omics technology (transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, breathomics). After the first ever study of transcriptomics biomarkers in the epithelium of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), together with a colleague from Amsterdam and two colleagues from Imperial College, London, he created a large (€27 milllion) programme for severe asthma (U-BIOPRED), funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative. This has resulted in more than 100 publications, providing insight into novel phenotypes and endotypes of asthma.
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Professor Rob Ewing

Professor

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Sarah Ennis

Professor of Genomics

Accepting applications from PhD students

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We are at a very exciting time in Life Science Research. The potential for novel discovery using ‘omics technologies combined with the computer science methodologies is immense.
Professor of Genomics

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