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2020 NIHR ACF PES Manchester Platform Science and Bioinformatics



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: North West
Medical School: The University of Manchester
Research Theme: Platform Science and Bioinformatics
Specialty Options: Clinical Oncology or Neurology or Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Plain English Summary

The NIHR priority theme Platform Science (“omics”) and Bioinformatics encompasses a wide range of approaches and technologies that can be used to identify clinically relevant biomarkers to distinguish healthy from unhealthy individuals. In addition to the sophisticated platforms that allow the acquisition of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic data, the identification of sensitive biomarkers requires advanced computational methodology to detect specific and often subtle differences against a background of huge numbers of genes/proteins/metabolites that do not cause or contribute to the disease process. Therefore, cutting-edge Platform Science research requires interdisciplinary collaboration between basic scientists, clinicians, engineers and computer scientists to generate clinically relevant data, analyse that data and use the outcomes of analyses to improve diagnosis, identify therapeutic targets, monitor disease progression and assess patient response to treatment.

The University of Manchester is internationally renowned for Platform Sciences and Bioinformatics having the expertise, infrastructure and technology to advance biomarker discovery and its clinical translation for patient benefit. This is exemplified within our Centres of excellence that include our NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (with ‘Biomarker Platforms’ and ‘Informatics and Data Sciences’ as cross-cutting themes supporting disease focused research), our innovative Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre (which brings together researchers, pathology/genetics services and industry to develop and fast track molecular diagnostic tests to the clinic) and our Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (which has high throughput gene sequencing and advanced bioinformatics capability for advancing genetic testing across a range of common and rare diseases). The above Centers link with our Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre and our Health eResearch Centre, which is developing new computational methodology for the analysis of large patient datasets.

With this strong infrastructure our Platform Science programme in Manchester offers ACFs tremendous opportunities to engage with established interdisciplinary programmes of research under the supervision of research experts and to acquire transferable skills in Platform Sciences and Bioinformatics within established Centres of excellence.

ACFs undertaking specialist training in Clinical Oncology, Neurology or Obstetrics & Gynaecology and who have an interest and research plan to address important issues related to Platform Science (“omics”) and Bioinformatics, will be appointed to 3 year ACF posts for joint clinical and academic training. They will be well supported to balance clinical work and research and will benefit from supervision by leading clinical academics in this field. This will ensure that our ACFs will be nurtured and supported to efficiently undertake their clinical training while developing their academic interests and forming robust plans and applications for externally funded research fellowships.