The University of Southampton
Woelk labAbout us

Michael S. Breen

Current members

Graduate student
Michael S. Breen

I strive to create an open environment for inquiry of many different questions across neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopment research.


(1) Much of my current research is focused on computational and systems biology applications to omic-data such as genome sequences, transcriptomic, methylation and GWAS information. I emphasise higher-order systems-level network analyses as a platform for integrating clinical and molecular data, and its utility as a multi-omic screening procedure to direct novel hypthoesis for brain disease mechanisms. I am also interested in brain disorder prediction/diagnosis using omic-data, co-expression network integration with machine-learning methodologies and network pharmacology. I have several ongoing fruitful collaborations with international groups generating data related to; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bipolar disorder, Viral prion disease, psychoneuroimmunology, Psychosis and Alzheimer’s Disease.


(2) Because everyone is using high-throughput technologies to quantify complex phenotypes, there are now enormous amounts of publicly available data. I use any high-throughput data I can get my hands, which can be translated, into understanding something new about neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopment research.


(3) With recent advances in data analysis, we often also have the opportunity to extend new methodologies for improving clinical interpretation of genomic data. Consequently, some of my current research efforts are purely methodological on the basis of using high-throughput expression data to characterise and compartmentalise heterogenous tissue from complex disorders.


(4) I am also involved in studies revolving around basic molecular evolution and theory. My tenure at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain addressed how pathogenic mutations are often population specific and has also contributed to better understanding the role of epistasis in molecular evolution. Future work will use theoretical evolution to better understand genetic vulnerability and heterogeneity to neurodevelopment disease. I also aim to pursue simple experimental projects in support of these computational inquiries.


If you are interested in collaborating, please contact me. I also take on advanced and highly motivated high-school and undergraduate students interested in solving real-life problems.


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