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Full NameDr David Simpson
Department:Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine
Organisation:Queen's University Belfast
- genetics, genomics and molecular biology
- Infectious diseases
- Respiratory Medicine
- Vascular Medicine
The aim of my research is to provide a better understanding of the molecular basis of disease, focussing on eye and vascular diseases. This is achieved by application of advanced genomics approaches, including microbial whole genome sequencing, transcriptional profiling using RNA-Sequencing of mRNA and non-coding RNAs (microRNA) and single cell RNA-sequencing. The use of unbiassed genome-wide approaches can provide novel insights that enable both development of new treatments and design of improved diagnostic and prognostic tests.
Recent projects include the profiling of circulating microRNAs in diabetic nephropathy (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31358876/), investigation of individual retinal endothelial cell barrier properties (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33380778/) and the role of VEGF and microRNAs in angiogenesis (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28631889/). Ongoing work includes development of molecular diagnostics for corneal ulcer and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 for detection of variants and lineage tracing to inform public health, as PI for the Belfast hub of the The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium (https://www.cogconsortium.uk/)
The potential research projects that I can offer are based upon the application of advanced molecular biology techniques to provide insights that would not be possible using more traditional approaches. This might for example involve profiling of circulating microRNAs to discover novel biomarkers. Alternatively, the incredibly powerful technique of single-cell RNA sequencing could be employed to study the pathological processes in a tissue at the level of individual cells. This enables the effects/responses of each cell type in a complex tissue to be teased apart. Many of these approaches will be provided through the Genomics Core Technology Unit, for which I am academic lead. We have a range of sequencing technologies available, including long read single molecule platforms from Oxford Nanopore and PacBio (the first in Ireland). These open up many possibilities, for example microbial whole genome sequencing and metagenomics, as well as eukaryotic genetics applications in which phasing of haplotypes is valuable.
Therefore, if you have an idea for a research project in your field please contact me and we can discuss potential options.