I lead the Molecular Archives at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), which means we deliver open and controlled access research data to international users. We work with HDR UK as we provide a large part of the world’s ‘omic’ data and the data are relevant to human health, as are the methods and tools we use to analyse and visualise the data.
I love working in multidisciplinary and multinational teams and my current team members bring expertise and culture from biology, statistics, computer science and software engineering to address scientific questions relevant for human health. We have projects that combine our expertise to understanding the function of genes and the genetic factors related to disease risk.
Right now we are using artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to address the challenges of analysing high throughput images. This is a great example of using tools developed for medical data on biological data to improve our understanding of biology related to human health. Our application is able to detect bone abnormalities in genetic mutants, work that will inform our understanding of the genetics of bone disorders.
I’ve been working in this domain for almost 20 years and for a while I was the only woman in the team. I looked up in a conference room recently and realised that all the women were from my own institute. There is plenty of research indicating diverse teams bring new perspectives to the problem and we have benefited from the diversity as EMBL-EBI’s users and collaborators are also truly international. Our diversity allows us to better understand what people want to do, to deliver what they need and to appreciate their local challenges. Local challenges include lack of compute infrastructure or challenges of getting dates of birth from indiengous populations; the things we take for granted in Europe don’t hold true worldwide.