CENTRE FOR PATHWAY ANALYSIS
The Centre for Pathway Analysis provides a unique interactive and multifaceted environment for therapeutic innovation where academics, pharma and biotech work side-by-side. In the Centre, we are developing our own research programme and target discovery pipeline. The methods and approaches we are developing are disease-agnostic but we are currently focused on applying these in oncology and CNS diseases.
DRUG DISCOVERY PROGRAMME
DISEASE SIGNATURE INTERROGATION
Led by Dr Rebecca Harris, a target discovery and functional validation programme will be initiated in the coming year. To date, we have worked with external researchers who have performed experimental validation and functional interrogation of the disease signatures identified through computational biology in their own labs. The opening of the Institute and our purpose built space now provides the opportunity to establish our own in house experimental capabilities. In collaboration with Cambridge researchers who have expertise with complex cellular or organoid disease models, our strategy is to develop robust assays for medium-throughput genetic and chemical screening for target identification and functional validation. These specialist facilities, set up and managed by our facilities manager Gian-marco Melfi, will also provide new opportunities for more pre-competitive collaborative projects between Cambridge academics and our Consortium partners.
COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY GROUP
DISEASE SIGNATURE IDENTIFICATION THROUGH AI
The aim of our computational biology team, led by Dr Namshik Han, is to create an atlas of disease mechanisms through the integration and interrogation of large multi-omic datasets.The team are using bespoke machine learning methods to identify new signatures of disease and therapeutic targets, as well as network analysis to gain a deep understanding of the underlying causes of disease. Working closely in collaboration with the medical research charity LifeArc and also with Storm Therapeutics, the team has been able to develop and validate methodology with clear applications in drug discovery. This unit is also working with researchers and clinicians throughout Cambridge who have unique patient datasets and disease models, and it is this sharing of expertise that ensures results are biologically interpretable and can inform go/no go decision making in drug discovery. Our approaches have been applied to target identification and repositioning and are applicable across many areas of healthcare including early detection and personalised medicine.