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Research project

Maths, Engineering and Life Sciences: making connections for precision medicine

Project overview

A multitude of biological and environmental factors interact to mediate human development, health and disease. It follows that a number of data types are required to describe these factors; one-dimensional viewpoints – even omic datasets – are one-dimensional oversimplifications of extraordinarily complex multi-cellular systems. To power precision medicine, we must build a multi-dimensional picture, by integrating data from multiple viewpoints from the single-cell level upwards. Our overarching aim is to develop a step change in research capability towards precision medicine at the University of Southampton. We request funding for a microfluidic engineer, a systems biologist, to promote collaboration between mathematical, computational, engineering, biology and medical specialisms in a new interdisciplinary laboratory. We request equipment to develop new quantal microfluidic processes to increase information depth and resolution down to the single cell level, novel analytical methods will then model the complexity of human disease. This investment will produce new technology and methods to capture unique cross-cutting datasets in disease systems, and new multi-dimensional analytical strategies in molecular systems biology. It will not only uncover the spatiotemporal architecture of development in single cells and cell populations; it will promote an imaginative, systems-biological mind-set, and a common vocabulary of research and enquiry in microfluidics, data science, and medical research across rare, infectious, acquired and non-communicable disease. The lasting impact of this investment will be new tools and concepts for human development and disease, and resultant advances towards the personalised therapeutic and preventative strategies that are the vision of precision medicine.


Lead researcher

Professor Deborah Mackay

Professor of Medical Epigenetics
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Other researchers

Professor John Holloway PhD, FHEA

Associate V-P Interdisciplinary Research

Research interests

  • Human genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Respiratory Disease
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Professor Cyrus Cooper

Prof Rheumatology Clinical Epidemiology

Research interests

  • Key research contributions have been:
  • discovery of the developmental influences which contribute to the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture in late adulthood
  • demonstration that maternal vitamin D insufficiency is associated with sub-optimal bone mineral accrual in childhood
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Professor Benjamin Macarthur

Personal Chair

Research interests

  • Mathematical modeling
  • Machine learning 
  • Networks
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Professor Jacek Brodzki

Head of School

Research interests

  • Topological data analysis
  • Applications of topology to medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science
  • Noncommutative Geometry
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Professor Peter Smith BSc, PhD, MA, FRSB

Professor of Life Sciences
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Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs