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Mon, 19 Jun 2017
Interdisciplinary computing and complex Biosystems research at Newcastle University

Time: 11.00 AM - 12.00 PM

Venue: Alanine, Level 7 (30 Biopolis Street, Matrix)

Speaker: Prof. Anil Wipat, Professor of Integrative Bioinformatics, School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, UK


Over the past 40 years technological developments in biology and medicine and the concurrent developments in computing technology means that informatics now plays an essential role in the life sciences. Over this period we have seen the introduction of manual DNA sequencing, developments in personal computing, the first automated DNA sequencers, computing networks and the growth of the Internet, whole genome sequencing, electronic health records, automation and computing in medicine, a wealth of omics technology, grid and cloud computing, personalised medicine and much more. As a result the life sciences is flooded with data. Often these data are heterogeneous, complex and widely spread geographically. The challenges and opportunities for research in bioinformatics and its related disciplines are immense. In this talk I will present an overview of research that is being carried out in the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Systems Group (ICOS) in the School of Computing Science and more widely across the University in the Centre for Health and Bioinformatics. My aim will be to present a portfolio of projects to seek opportunities for collaborative research.

About The Speaker
Anil Wipat is Professor of Integrative Bioinformatics in the School of Computing Science, co-directs the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Biology Systems Group (ICOS - and is a member of Newcastle's Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology (CBCB - where he manages extensive and well-equipped microbiology laboratories. Anil is also founder and co-director of the Newcastle Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy (CSBB - and director of Newcastle University Centre for Health and Bioinformatics (CHaBi - He enjoys providing training in interdisciplinary science and is the founder and degree programme director for Newcastle's MSc Bioinformatics suite of programmes (

Anil trained as a molecular microbiologist, and worked in the area bacterial genomics research for 14 years before shifting the focus of his research to the area of bioinformatics and computing science in 1999. His research interests are now focussed on data integration and mining strategies, standards for biological and medical data, with an emphasis on the application of cloud computing technology to genomics, bioinformatics, systems and synthetic biology. These research interests involve purely computational research through to laboratory-based studies.

Recent work in the area of cloud computing and microbial diagnostics has centred on the development of bioinformatics workflows for mining genomic information for diagnostic targets, antibiotic resistance genes and targets for therapeutic development, firstly as part of the EPSRC funded AptaMEMS-ID and subsequently for the development of informatics underpinning early warning systems for Infectious disease as part of the iSense project (

A major focus of the work of the ICOS group is in Computational Synthetic Biology especially approaches to the computational design of engineered biological systems. In particular, his group have developed software, tools and standards for the computational design of synthetic bacterial systems (see As of 2016, Anil chairs the international steering committee for the development of the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a standard for the representation and sharing of synthetic biology designs. His group are part of the UK EPSRC Flowers consortium that is developing a computational and laboratory based infrastructure for the composition, testing and characterization of synthetic systems and he is the Newcastle principle investigator for the SynBiCITE project which aims to accelerate the commercialisation synthetic biology technologies and approaches. Anil is also the workpackage leader for the Synthetic Biology component of the NUFEB project which seeks to use synthetic biology approaches for the treatment of waste-water (

He has over 100 refereed publications many of which are interdisciplinary in nature.

Dr. Samuel Gan / Principal Investigator

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