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Current Group Members

Maxim Tsenkov

Maxim Tsenkov Maxim studied for a B.Sc. with Honours in Molecular Genetics at the University of Dundee, with a thesis focusing on characterising mutations of PML and PML-RARa bodies derived from relapsed patients with refractory acute promyelocytic leukaemia. Throughout his bachelor’s degree, he was exposed to multiple disciplines in life sciences, from gene regulation and expression to structural biology.

After twiddling his fingers working in wet-lab based projects, he decided to make the big jump to computation biology with a keen interest in data sciences and expanding his programming skills. During one of his project rotations, he worked with Stuart MacGowan in the Barton Group to explore human population genetic variant data in TPR domains of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). This defined his Wellcome Trust Funded PhD project with us in the Barton group.

In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, anything science fiction related, and board games. Other times he plays the saxophone, and composes electronic music, as well as creating digital art and plenty of photography.

Maxim joined us on 10th September 2018.

Dr Benedict (Ben) Soares

Ben Soares Ben studied for a BSc and PhD in pure maths at the University of St Andrews with a thesis formulating theorems and algorithms to calculate symmetries of unit-sided polygons constructed in a turtle geometry from polynomial generated sequences modulo prime powers -- a mix of algebra, geometry and number theory.

In 1997 he joined EDINA, a national datacentre at the University of Edinburgh, as a software engineer. This involved early work on full-stack server-side java web applications for bibliographic resources for UK Higher Education, data-munging and network protocols.

More recently he oversaw the authentication and authorisation systems that allow HE and FE members to access EDINA's services, alongside sysadmin and infrastructure work in a linux environment. Ben believes there's nothing you can't fix with a bit of perl, bash and an ssh tunnel. He ran introductory workshops for research students on using bash and regular expressions to efficiently handle data.

Ben joins the Jalview team to employ some old skills in new ways, and learn some new ones too!

Ben enjoys cake decorating, science fiction, fixing things, board games, and occasionally venturing outside to look for meteors. He holds the world record for the tiddlywinks long jump.

Ben joined us on 4th July 2018

Mungo Carstairs

Mungo Carstairs Mungo has joined the Jalview team as a software developer to help with new feature development and architectural enhancements.

A degree in Maths at Cambridge University led on to a career in software development, ranging from commmercial systems to healthcare to financial services, with a stint of lecturing in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as a digression. An MSc at Edinburgh University in Knowledge Based Systems was followed by time spent applying expert system and neural network technologies in industry. Latterly he has led teams of Java developers, and developed special interests in application security, development best practice and software quality assurance. He is looking forward to the challenge of embarking on a new career in Bioinformatics.

Outside of work, he relaxes by playing the violin or saxophone, or enjoying long bike rides in the country lanes of Perthshire.

Mungo joined us on 1st September 2014

Dr Stuart MacGowan

Stuart MacGowan Stuart started out studying Chemistry part-time at the University of the West of Scotland (formerly Paisley University) as part of an apprenticeship with Ciba Specialty Chemicals. To advance more quickly, he went to university full time and achieved his B.Sc. Chemistry and Mathematics and then single-honours in Chemistry. A few months ago he completed his Ph.D. after four fun years researching structural effects in photosynthesis using various data analysis methods and computational chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. Until September 2017 Stuart was working to identify causative variation in the exomes of patients with rare skin disorders as part of the DGEM collaboration with Irwin McLean. Since then he has been working on one of Geoff's grants - the BBSRC funded, Bionformatics Resource for Protein Structure Prediction and Sequence Analysis. This has given him the chance to join the dots between sequence, structure, function and disease in general. To relax he enjoys watching all things sci-fi, playing classical guitar and being "affectionately" mauled by his cat.

Stuart MacGowan publications

Stuart joined the group on 21st July 2014

Dr Suzanne Duce

Suzanne Duce Suzanne has joined us as training and outreach officer who will focus on developing manuals, courses and web presence for Jalview and our other services such as Jabaws, Jpred , Kinomer and Taro.

After a first degree in Chemistry at the University of Southampton, she worked at the Institute of Food Research (Norwich) before study for a PhD in MRI at the University of Cambridge. She was awarded a Herchel Smith PhD Fellowhip (1987) from University of Cambridge, and a Career Re-entry Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust (2007). She has published over 30 scientific research papers, 19 as a principle author. Several of Suzanne's MRI images have been published on textbooks, displayed in the Wellcome Images collection and hung in a variety of exhibitions including Vision of Discovery exhibition (2009 and 2013). Suzanne is also a Director and Chair of a UK charity "Children First Uganda" that supports the most vulnerable children in Uganda.

Suzanne Duce publications

Suzanne joined the group on 5th Feb 2014.

Dr Nick Schurch

Nick Schurch Nick, like Marek (below), has also made the transition from astronomy to biology. Nick studied for an MSci in physics at the University of Bristol, before completing his astrophysics Ph.D. at the University of Leicester. Nick has had postdoc positions on three continents (Europe, USA and Asia) culminating with a UK-China Fellowship for Excellence with the Institute for High Energy Physics in Beijing, China, before joining the Barton Group in 2009. Nick has always had a strong interest in biology (despite studying physics) and over the past few years has enjoyed working in a field with more immediate relevance to the world! Nick enjoys watching films, falconry, and all things football (he is a lifelong Liverpool fan despite not coming from Liverpool!).

Nick was originally part of the Data Analysis Group (DAG) a sub-group of the Barton Group. He was supported by funding from the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA) as part of our venture to carry out innovative data analysis for high data content/high-throughput techniques such as proteomics mass-spectrometry and next generation DNA sequencing.

On 1st July 2012 Nick moved onto a joint BBSRC grant between Geoff Barton and Gordon Simpson to work on non-coding RNA in Arabidopsis.

Nick Schurch publications

Nick Schurch on Twitter

Nick joined the Group on 1st May 2009

Dr Jim Procter

Jim Procter From 1st October 2009, Jim became the Jalview Coordinator funded by BBSRC for 5 years to oversee new developments in the Jalview multiple alignment analysis workbench. Jim was previously involved in the EU ENFIN project with work on various aspects of systems biology software development applied to biological data.

Before ENFIN, Jim was a BBSRC Funded postdoctoral RA working on the Visualisation and Analysis of Biological Sequences Alignments and structures project. In particular, the development of Jalview and the VAMSAS exchange API.

Jim came across the water from the University of Hamburg's ZBH to implement bioinformatics analysis web services for Jalview as part of the BBSRC fundedVAMSAS project. After spending a number of years working on protein structure comparison and structure prediction, his dream is never to have to write a script again - but concedes that he might be being a little bit too hopeful there...

Jim Procter publications

Jim Procter on Twitter

Jim joined the Group on 1st November 2004.

Prof. Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton Geoff Barton did his first degree in Biochemistry at the University of Manchester. He then performed Ph.D. research supervised by Mike Sternberg in the Department of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, University of London before spending two years as an ICRF Fellow working with Chris Rawlings at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Labs. (Now called CRUK.) in London. In 1989 he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to set up his own group in the Lab of Molecular Biophysics, University of Oxford. From April 1995 until October 1997, Geoff was also Head of Genome Informatics at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford.

From 1st October 1997-July 2001 Geoff was a Research and Development Team Leader at the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge

From 1st January 1998-July 2001 Geoff was also head of the European Macromolecular Structure Database at EBI which is now known as the Protein Data Bank in Europe (PDBe).

From 30th March 2001 Geoff has been Professor of Bioinformatics at the School of Life Sciences,University of Dundee. Geoff moved to Dundee full-time in July 2001 and more recently founded the Data Analysis Group in collaboration with the GRE Centre.

Geoff has been Head of the Division of Computational Biology since 1st January 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).

Geoff Barton publications
Geoff Barton on Twitter Geoff Barton's LinkedIn profile

Geoff used to spend his leisure time working with the Men in Black, he then teamed up with the The Three Musketeers but now he does his best to support The Students. In July 2005 he also discovered tennis but gave it up in 2016 to try running (slowly). After finding like-minded musical colleagues he revived his love of flute playing, and on 8th May 2010 had the first review of his playing published in The Courier. You can hear some recordings here. He occasionally writes for and improvises on keyboard/synth when he is supposed to be doing other things... Geoff also maintains the Dundee West End Weather Station with records going back to 2002. He has been asked to comment on local weather in the national press including a 3 minute interview in 2013 on BBC2 by Judith Ralston and a 15 minute interview by Stephen Jardine on BBC Radio Scotland in Feb 2018.

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