Paul Kersey has a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He studied for his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh and subsequently worked in the MRC Laboratory of Human Genetics, studying on the cell cycle of fission yeast, before leaving the laboratory to focus on bioinformatics and data management. He currently works at EMBL-EBI where, since 2008, he has been in charge of the the expansion of Ensembl to cover non-vertebrate species, including human pathogens, disease vectors, crop plants, and model species.
Ensembl: Structuring Knowledge for Biomedical Application
Since the first completed genome was deciphered in 1995, the genomic sequence of many thousands more species has been determined, including humans, plants, fungi and bacteria, and ranging from well-studied model systems to un-culturable organisms known only through their sequence. Ensembl is a platform for the analysis, display and dissemination of genome data and has been used in the context of many genome sequencing projects over the last fifteen years, both exploiting and encouraging the culture of open data in the biological sciences. But this huge resource of data is but one dimension of a larger matrix of genome x environment interactions which determine the observed characteristics of living organisms. In this talk I will show how the novel experimental techniques have driven the development of new data structures within Ensembl to capture genomic variation at multiple scales and its relationship to phenotype; and how growing data volumes have resulted in new, scalable approaches to data integration, interpretation and access. Finally, I will explore potential applications of reference genomic data to human health and nutrition, made possible by the growing richness of the data landscape.