Robert Paul Davey

Data Infrastructure and Algorithms Group Leader, Research Faculty, The Genome Analysis Centre


My main interests are in enterprise-grade software development, data management and associated high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure, sequence analysis and quality control pipelines, novel visualisation strategies for sequencing and biological data, metadata and the Semantic Web, and the open source for open science ethos. I believe all science outputs should be available for all to use, and there are many ways to make this happen through community, software, policy, and transparency throughout.


The Data Infrastructure and Algorithms group focuses on research into understanding how best to manage, represent and analyse data for open science, as well as exploring new hardware, algorithms and methodologies to develop tools to push the boundaries of data-driven informatics in the life sciences. TGAC is host to one of the largest computational resources dedicated to life science in Europe, and we apply our research expertise around this capability to develop infrastructure platforms for data and software dissemination and publication, assembly algorithms for viral and microbial metagenomics, large-scale data visualisation, and best practice and training in bioinformatics. We have active grants to undertake data federation (Grassroots Genomics, Wheat Information System), data description and citation (Collaborative Open Plant Omics - COPO) and data analysis (iPlant UK, Galaxy), as well as investigating new disruptive technologies such as the Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencer, the Edico Genome DRAGEN co-processor, and the Optalysys optical computer.

I joined TGAC in February 2010 as the lead software engineer on the MISO lab information management system project, which was released to the community as an open source framework for tracking sequencing experiments in 2012. I went on to become the Core Bioinformatics Project Leader, managing a team of developers to advance MISO as well as new projects into data infrastructure and management, and the genomic data visualisation tool, TGAC Browser. I was appointed as Data Infrastructure and Algorithms Group Leader in late 2012. Prior to joining TGAC, I was a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Food Research in the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) group, writing tools for ribosomal DNA analysis (TURNIP) and bioinformatics support to help drive this important national capability. I completed my degree in Microbiology in 2001 and my PhD in Bioinformatics in 2005 at the University of East Anglia, the latter developing algorithms for assessing the gene content of bacterial organisms using Comparative Genomic Hybridisation microarrays.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar and writing music, photography, messing around with Raspberry Pis, and walking my marvellous dog Baxter.

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