Bioinformatics is one of the most exciting fields in modern science. It is defined as the application of IT and computational methods to tackling biological challenges.  Read more Read less

Our research focuses on the development and application of computational methods in order to unravel the complexity of biological systems. This involves the applications of machine learning and pattern recognition techniques to reveal hidden patterns in multivariate and high throughput datasets, as well as the application of the latest web technologies, big data storage and cloud computing to provide means for managing and visualising large datasets.

At Cranfield we work closely with colleagues in health and bioscience and food, applying our expertise in bioinformatics to help solve a range of biological challenges in partnership with our clients.  

We lead and collaborate in diverse research and consultancy projects, both nationally and internationally. Our collaborators include Cambridge University, European Bioinformatics Institute. GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Aventic, UCB, Unilever and University of Athens.

About our research

We concentrate on the following key research areas:

• Analysis and interpretation of next generation sequencing datasets including de novoassembly, differential gene expression and SNP discovery. This also includes the refining and extension of our in-house Galaxy resource to facilitate internal access to research and analysis methods
• Application of machine learning and pattern recognition algorithms for interpretation of chemical and metabolomic data
• Data integration and modelling for systems biology
• Development of decision making tools and prediction models for food safety and freshness profiling
• Web application development and database front-ends for big data management and visualisation in omics research.

We also apply our expertise to a range of areas, including systems biology, drug discovery, toxicology, analytical methods development, biomarker discovery, food science and basic biology.

Our research is funded by government research councils (eg. BBSRC, EPSRC), the Wellcome Trust, the European Commission and several commercial companies.

Facilities and resources

We benefit from a strong hardware base, including a number of powerful workstations and servers. These servers are used to host novel datasets on which we are working, as well as local copies of primary databases such as Ensembl. Our servers are housed in Cranfield's data centre, where they benefit from climate control, an uninterrupted power supply, and high security.

We have a wide-range of proprietary and open source software installed, including Mascot, X!Tandem, MySQL, PostgreSQL, R and Matlab. We also have dedicated servers for web-based applications that we have developed, such as MRMaid and SORF.

For highly computationally intensive work, we have a state-of-the-art high performance computing facility.

Working with us

We have more than a decade of experience in developing novel methodologies for data management and analysis, working with both academics and industry. We have experience at national and international level, in projects funded by charities, national governments, and the European Commission (FP6 and FP7).

In addition to conducting basic bioinformatics research, we also provide off-the-shelf data analysis services aimed at meeting common research and development needs. Each service is built around a template specification of work and deliverables, reducing the time and cost needed to commission a piece of work. One such service is our pattern recognition solution.

Pattern Recognition

We build pattern recognition systems capable of identifying sample types based on data acquired from analytical instruments or sensors. The analytical data from each sample is used as a fingerprint from which the sample can be identified.

If you would like to discuss your requirements further, please contact Dr Fady Mohareb. Services are offered to both industry and academic groups, and all enquiries are dealt with in the strictest confidence.

Our clients

We lead and collaborate in diverse research and consultancy projects, both nationally and internationally.

Our collaborators include:

• Cambridge University
• European Bioinformatics Institute
• GlaxoSmithKline
• Sanofi Aventic
• UCB
• Unilever
• University of Athens.

Our impact

Due to the wide-range of areas that we apply our bioinformatics expertise to our research provides real-world solutions to a number of biological challenges.

Current research impact includes:

Development of novel methodologies to improve food quality

Together with the Agricultural University of Athens, we are working on the development of classification and regression models for predicting spoilage in meat products stored under different storage conditions and temperature. 

Development of online interactive research platforms

We apply the latest machine learning and pattern recognition algorithm, together with the latest web technologies, in order to develop online research platforms for various applications. For example:

• The Symbiosis Online Research Platform (SORF) is an online data storage and exploratory analysis tool developed and managed in-house at Cranfield University in order to provide the food research community with an interactive web application for data management, exchange, visualisation and analysis. SORF was developed as part of the Symbiosis-EU project, an FP7-funded project in collaboration with 14 European and international partners. SORF continues to be maintained and refined by theBioinformatics Group at Cranfield University.
• MRMaid: In collaboration with Professor Conrad Bessant at Queen Mary University of London, we have developed, and continue to refine and maintain, a web-based software tool called MRMaid - an online tool for mining millions of publicly available peptide spectra to help researchers design targeted proteomics assays for selected reaction monitoring (SRM) experiments.