Wellcome Sanger Institute

Durbin Group

Computational Genomics

We have broad research interests in a variety of areas of genetics and genomics, often in collaboration with others, using novel computational, statistical and modelling techniques.

Current research projects include the following:

  • Assembly of reference genome sequences using long read technologies, in particular for the Vertebrate Genomes Project, the 25 Genomes for 25 Years project, and the new Darwin Tree of Life project that aims to sequence all ~60,000 eukaryotic species native to the British Isles (Shane McCarthy, Iliana Bista, Haynes Heaton, and with many others).
  • Related to this, we have sequenced 25 species from the Antarctic Notothenioid radiation, including the iconic icefish which live in subzero waters and have lost their red blood cells, and are studying their evolution. (Iliana Bista)
  • Sequencing cichlid fishes from Lake Malawi and nearby lakes and rivers to study speciation and genomic evolution, with Associate Faculty member Eric Miska, George Turner from Bangor University and Martin Genner from Bristol University. (Tyler Linderoth, Hubert Denise)
  • Sequencing ancient DNA samples and modelling human population movements and evolutionary history. (Rui Martiniano)
  • Development of new novel graph-based reference genome structures and mapping software in the vg package, and other efficient genomic data storage and analysis methods (Marcus Klarqvist and Eric Dawson)

Previous group members, in approximate reverse time order, with their area of research when in the group and last known subsequent position, include:

  • Erik Garrison – PhD student graph genome software – Postdoc with Benedict Paten, UC Santa Cruz
  • Hannes Svardal – postdoc cichlid fish genomics – Assistant Professor, Antwerp
  • Jack Kamm – postdoc statistical population genetics – Senior bioinformatician, Chan Zuckerburg Foundation
  • Hilary Martin – postdoc human genetics – Group Leader, Sanger Institute
  • Milan Malinsky – PhD student cichlid fish genomics – Postdoc with Walter Salzburger, Basel
  • Vladimir Shchur – postdoc tcPBWT algorithm development – Postdoc at UC Berkeley
  • Andreas Leha – postdoc HipSci cellular imaging data analysis – Head of Core Facility for Medical Biometry and Statistical Bioinformatics, Univerity of Goettingen
  • Stephan Schiffels – postdoc demographic analysis and ancient DNA – Group Leader at Max Planck Institut for the Science of Human History, Jena
  • Andrew Brown – postdoc EUROBATS and TwinsUK eQTL analysis – Postdoc in Geneva
  • Zhihao Ding – PhD student cellular genetics – Genomics plc
  • Karola Rehnstrom – postdoc Finnish population history and medical genetics – Project manager in Cambridge
  • Kees Albers – postdoc deletion variant calling and rare disease genetics – Group Leader at Radboud University Medical Centre
  • Jared Simpson – PhD student genome assembly – Assistant Professor at OICR and University of Toronto
  • Kimmo Palin – postdoc Finnish population genome sequence – Research Associate in Cancer Genetics, Helsinki
  • Quang Si Le – postdoc joint calling from low coverage sequence – Postdoc at Wellcome Trust Centre of Human Genetics, Oxford
  • Aylwyn Scally – postdoc gorilla genome sequence and mutation rate history – Group Leader in Genetics at Cambridge University
  • Weldon Whitener – PhD student methods for variation – Boston Consulting Group
  • Leopold Parts – PhD sudent cellular association genetics – Group Leader at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Kelley Harris – MPhil student haplotype sharing – postdoc at Stanford University
  • Heng Li – postdoc TreeFam, read mapping and variant calling, and demography – Senior Scientist at Broad Institute and Harvard
  • Avril Coghlan – postdoc gene finding – Bioinformatician at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • David Carter – yeast population genome sequencing – Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research
  • Jean-Karim Heriche – MitoCheck mitosis genetics and genomics – Bioinformatics Scientist at EMBL
  • Mark Minichiello – PhD student ancestral recombination graph reconstruction – VP JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Alan Moses – postdoc protein evolution in yeast – Associate Professor at University of Toronto
  • Lachlan Coin – PhD student protein domain structure – Associate Professor, IMB, U Queensland
  • Ashwin Hajarnavis – PhD student RNA structure – Assistant VP Citigroup
  • Ian Korf – postdoc gene finding – Associate Professor at UC Davis
  • Kevin Howe – PhD student C.elegans genome analysis – Team Leader at the EBI
  • Irmtraud Meyer – PhD student gene-finding algorithms – Professor, FU Berlin and Max Delbruck Center, Berlin
  • Daniel Riordan – MPhil student – Research Assistant at Stanford University
  • Marc Sohrmann – postdoc Pfam – Ingénieur pédagogique, Université de Lausanne
  • Ewan Birney – PhD student protein family HMMs and Pfam – joint Director, EBI
  • Aaron Levine – MPhil student – Associate Professor at Georgia Tech
  • Niclas Jareborg – postdoc comparative sequence analysis – Data Manager at Bioinformatics Infrastructure for Life Sciences, Sweden
  • Alex Bateman – postdoc Pfam – Senior Team Leader at the EBI
  • Steven Jones – PhD student C.elegans genome sequencing and analysis – Professor and Associate Director, Genome Center, Vancouver
  • Ian Holmes – PhD student – Associate Professor, UC Berkeley
  • Erik Sonnhammer – PhD student genome and protein sequence analysis – Professor, Stockholm University
  • Sean Eddy – postdoc hidden Markov models for proteins and covariance models for RNA – Professor at Harvard University

Previous team members

Photo of Eric T Dawson

Eric T Dawson

NIH OxCam Student



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