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Director of Computational Biology
Nucleome Therapeutics, Oxford, UK

Aiming to lead the forefront of bioinformatics, data science, and artificial intelligence for drug discovery

Research vision

BaselFlorence

Ground-breaking therapies of the future will all be designed by novel synergetic solutions of the complex puzzle of molecular biology. To decipher the DNA and find the needle in the haystack leading to new drugs, interdisciplinary diverse teams with agile self-learning motivated scientists is a must. Bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and data science are inevitable. Driver seats are becoming more reserved for those mixing broad computational skills with an abundance of biological knowledge and focus on top of vision and leadership.

Current research

I direct the strategy, planning, and execution of Computational Biology, including bioinformatics, machine learning, statistics, software engineering, and IT, at Nucleome Therapeutics. At this fast-emerging biopharma, we aim to discover novel disease treatments by unveiling the unknown secrets of the less-studied dark matter of the human genome, i.e. the non-coding DNA. I ensure that Computational Biology is, and will always be, in a healthy shape to serve and advance the short-, medium-, and long-term objectives of the company. An essential part of that is the alignment between disciplines within Computational Biology and with other teams such as genomics and drug discovery. I enjoy science as much as I enjoy strategy, people development, problem solving, numbers, coffee, and chocolates.

Previous research

Bioinformatic methods development: I developed and advanced a number of bioinformatic methods for gene expression clustering. My current state-of-the-art framework is called clust (Abu-Jamous & Kelly, Genome Biology, In Press). Clust extracts optimal and complete clusters automatically from one or more heterogeneous gene expression datasets collectively, it outperforms mainstream clustering algorithms with minimal manual intervention, and is available freely as an easy-to-use package on https://github.com/BaselAbujamous/clust. A web-based front-end will be released soon!

Applications in biology: I actively employ my bioinformatic methods and other methods to drive discoveries in biology. For instance, while working in Dr Steve Kelly’s laboratory at the Department of Plant Sciences, the University of Oxford (2016-2019), I identified key engineering targets to improve photosynthesis in the rice crop. These targets have been validated and are in the process of being incorporated into engineered crops. Before that, while being in Professor Asoke Nandi’s group at Brunel University London (2013-2016), I identified a counter-intuitive transcriptomic signature in breast cancer cell-lines with a prognostic value in collaboration with Professor Adrian Harris and Dr Francesca Buffa (Department of Oncology, the University of Oxford). I also participated in defining the dynamics of distinct genetic programmes during human erythropoiesis (red blood production) in collaboration with Professor David Roberts and colleagues (Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford). Moreover, I discovered a novel transcriptomic module that is consistently anti-correlated with growth in budding yeast, and elucidated the function of the CMR1 yeast gene in DNA metabolism. Additionally, I participated in identifying patterns of human brain activity during emotional stimuli in collaboration with Professor Elvira Brattico (Aarhus University, Denmark).

Publications and meetings

I published a research monograph book, a book chapter, and many journal articles, I presented my work in various national and international conferences and research meetings, and I delivered different invited talks on the topics of my research interest.

My CV is available here [CV is old. To be updated].