Dr Frank Schwach
I started my current role as a Principal Bioinformatician in the GSU in August 2023. The current focus of my work is on the development and delivery of data analysis pipelines for respiratory virus metagenomics surveilance.
Having been trained as a lab biologist, I became interested in bioinformatics during my first postdoc position in the lab of Prof David Baulcombe at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, working on small interfering RNAs in plants. The newly emerging high-throughput sequencing platforms (MPSS and 454 at the time) were ideal for the small molecules we studied, but required bioinformatics skills for the analysis of the much increased volume of sequence data, compared to earlier technologies.
Since then, I have focused my career on the development of tools and bioinformatics support for high-throughput genomics. First at the University of East Anglia, where I contributed to the creation of a public small RNA sequence analysis tool, then in the Bilker (later Lee) faculty teams at the Sanger Institute, where I developed the bioinformatics pipeline that supported the large-scale genome-modification vector pipeline PlasmoGEM between 2009 and 2020.
During the COVID19 pandemic, I took up a position at Public Health England, later UKHSA, to support the SARS-CoV2 genomics surveillance programme.
In August 2023, I joined the Data Analysis and Engineering team at the recently created Genome Surveillance Unit as a Principal Bioinformatician with a focus on the development and delivery of pipelines for respiratory virus metagenomics survaillance.