Functional Analysis

We are collaborating actively with experimental biologists to study the interplay between physical, regulatory and metabolic interactions in stress response and signalling networks. Most of this work either deals with pathogenic bacteria and fungi, or is related to human disease, in particular cancer.

We are working on Inference-based modelling techniques where we combine large-scale simulationstudies with parameter inference or model selection. Such an approach is particularly suited for situations in which the precise mechanisms of biological processes are not completely known. Both qualitative and quantitative aspects of a system’s responses can be assessed in this way. Furthermore, formal model selection and ranking procedures can be applied in order to improve mechanistic models. This approach is being jointly developed with the groups of Professor Mark Girolami (Glasgow University) and Professor Vincent Jansen (Royal Holloway, University of London).

We are currently especially interested in combinatorial stress responses of human pathogens; species of interest include the bacteria Eschericia coli and Neisseria, as well as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the related fungal pathogens Candida glabrata and Candida albicans, and the obligate pathogen of barley, powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis).

We are also applying the same set of tools to human signalling networks which underlie the development of healthy and cancerous cells.