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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

NIHR Bioinformatics and Bio-repository

Computational Biology and Clinical Informatics at the WHRI

Our newly established computational biology team at the William Harvey Research Institute has a multidisciplinary approach to support many areas of translational research, including drug discovery, stratified medicine and clinical informatics. We are working in close partnership with clinicians working across all the disease areas at the WHRI, including Cardiovascular, Immuno-inflammatory and Endocrine diseases.

NIHR Bioinformatics and Cardiovascular Bio-repository

Good computational biology is built on strong partnerships - this is the philosophy of our team. Our team is founded on core funding from the NIHR cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit. The NIHR CVBRU is a truly multidisciplinary partnership bringing together advances in genetics, imaging and clinical pharmacology to improve cardiovascular medicine. We are building clinical databases to support these efforts, towards the ultimate goal of creating a Cardiovascular Bio-repository allowing rapid recruitment and analysis of clinical trial cohorts by genotype or phenotype.

Towards genomic medicine

Much progress has already been made in understanding the genetic basis of disease, Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified common variants, while exome and whole genome re-sequencing studies are identifying rarer variants. A heterogeneous picture of common diseases is emerging, which argues for a highly integrative approach to help to apply these findings in the clinic. Firstly the overwhelming volume of data needs in-depth functional analysis to pinpoint putative functional variants with a rationale for involvement in disease. We are using GeneGO Metacore pathway analysis to highlight common mechanisms among these disease variants, and more importantly, identify targets that could be the focus of drug discovery or drug repositioning. Overall as a clearer picture of disease pathology emerges we aim to stratify patients onto more effective therapies that reflect disease and medicine response heterogeneity.

Defining New Therapeutic Opportunities and Stratified Medicine

Our team is experienced in the process of drug discovery and we can advise on target validation and evaluation of druggability. Working with clinical teams at the WHRI were can help to identify new opportunities for drug repositioning to rapidly take existing drugs into the clinic for new indications. We are also involved in biomarker discovery for patient stratification, partnering with Rheumatology in an MRC-funded project to use RNA-seq to study response to biologic therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have a project that you think we could help with please get in touch.

Further information

For more details please email Dr Michael Barnes. 

Visit the Centre for Translational Bioinformatics to find out more about our research and services. 


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