Alistair G Rust

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (82)1086.8 Total impact

  • Nature Genetics 12/2014; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing of human tumours has refined our understanding of the mutational processes operative in cancer initiation and progression, yet major questions remain regarding the factors that induce driver mutations and the processes that shape mutation selection during tumorigenesis. Here we performed whole-exome sequencing on adenomas from three mouse models of non-small-cell lung cancer, which were induced either by exposure to carcinogens (methyl-nitrosourea (MNU) and urethane) or by genetic activation of Kras (KrasLA2). Although the MNU-induced tumours carried exactly the same initiating mutation in Kras as seen in the KrasLA2 model (G12D), MNU tumours had an average of 192 non-synonymous, somatic single-nucleotide variants, compared with only six in tumours from the KrasLA2 model. By contrast, the KrasLA2 tumours exhibited a significantly higher level of aneuploidy and copy number alterations compared with the carcinogen-induced tumours, suggesting that carcinogen-induced and genetically engineered models lead to tumour development through different routes. The wild-type allele of Kras has been shown to act as a tumour suppressor in mouse models of non-small-cell lung cancer. We demonstrate that urethane-induced tumours from wild-type mice carry mostly (94%) Kras Q61R mutations, whereas those from Kras heterozygous animals carry mostly (92%) Kras Q61L mutations, indicating a major role for germline Kras status in mutation selection during initiation. The exome-wide mutation spectra in carcinogen-induced tumours overwhelmingly display signatures of the initiating carcinogen, while adenocarcinomas acquire additional C > T mutations at CpG sites. These data provide a basis for understanding results from human tumour genome sequencing, which has identified two broad categories of tumours based on the relative frequency of single-nucleotide variations and copy number alterations1, and underline the importance of carcinogen models for understanding the complex mutation spectra seen in human cancers.
    Nature 11/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of retroviruses and transposons to insert their genetic material into host DNA makes them widely used tools in molecular biology, cancer research and gene therapy. However, these systems have biases that may strongly affect research outcomes. To address this issue, we generated very large datasets consisting of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] unselected integrations in the mouse genome for the Sleeping Beauty (SB) and piggyBac (PB) transposons, and the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV). We analyzed [Formula: see text] (epi)genomic features to generate bias maps at both local and genome-wide scales. MMTV showed a remarkably uniform distribution of integrations across the genome. More distinct preferences were observed for the two transposons, with PB showing remarkable resemblance to bias profiles of the Murine Leukemia Virus. Furthermore, we present a model where target site selection is directed at multiple scales. At a large scale, target site selection is similar across systems, and defined by domain-oriented features, namely expression of proximal genes, proximity to CpG islands and to genic features, chromatin compaction and replication timing. Notable differences between the systems are mainly observed at smaller scales, and are directed by a diverse range of features. To study the effect of these biases on integration sites occupied under selective pressure, we turned to insertional mutagenesis (IM) screens. In IM screens, putative cancer genes are identified by finding frequently targeted genomic regions, or Common Integration Sites (CISs). Within three recently completed IM screens, we identified 7%-33% putative false positive CISs, which are likely not the result of the oncogenic selection process. Moreover, results indicate that PB, compared to SB, is more suited to tag oncogenes.
    PLoS Genetics 04/2014; 10(4):e1004250. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common pediatric brain tumor, and in ~25% of cases it is driven by aberrant activation of the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) pathway in granule neuron precursor cells (GNPs). In this study, we identified novel MB driver genes through a transposon mutagenesis screen in the developing brain of wild-type and Trp53 mutant mice. Twenty-six candidates were identified along with established driver genes such as Gli1 and Crebbp. The transcription factor FoxR2, the most frequent gene identified in the screen, is overexpressed in a small subset of human MB of the SHH subtype. Tgif2 and Alx4, two new putative oncogenes identified in the screen, are strongly expressed in the SHH subtype of human MB. Mutations in these two genes were mutually exclusive with mutations in Gli1 and tended to co-occur, consistent with involvement in the SHH pathway. Notably, Foxr2, Tgif2 and Alx4 activated Gli-binding sites in cooperation with Gli1, strengthening evidence they function in SHH signaling. In support of an oncogenic function, Foxr2 overexpression transformed NIH3T3 cells and promoted proliferation of GNPs, the latter of which was also observed for Tgif2 and Alx4. These findings offer forward genetic and functional evidence associating Foxr2, Tgif2 and Alx4 with SHH subtype MB.
    Cancer Research 03/2014; · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retroviral insertional mutagenesis (RIM) is a powerful tool for cancer genomics that was combined in this study with deep sequencing (RIM/DS) to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of lymphoma progression. Transgenic mice expressing two potent collaborating oncogenes in the germ line (CD2-MYC, -Runx2) develop rapid onset tumours that can be accelerated and rendered polyclonal by neonatal Moloney murine leukaemia virus (MoMLV) infection. RIM/DS analysis of 28 polyclonal lymphomas identified 771 common insertion sites (CISs) defining a 'progression network' that encompassed a remarkably large fraction of known MoMLV target genes, with further strong indications of oncogenic selection above the background of MoMLV integration preference. Progression driven by RIM was characterised as a Darwinian process of clonal competition engaging proliferation control networks downstream of cytokine and T-cell receptor signalling. Enhancer mode activation accounted for the most efficiently selected CIS target genes, including Ccr7 as the most prominent of a set of chemokine receptors driving paracrine growth stimulation and lymphoma dissemination. Another large target gene subset including candidate tumour suppressors was disrupted by intragenic insertions. A second RIM/DS screen comparing lymphomas of wild-type and parental transgenics showed that CD2-MYC tumours are virtually dependent on activation of Runx family genes in strong preference to other potent Myc collaborating genes (Gfi1, Notch1). Ikzf1 was identified as a novel collaborating gene for Runx2 and illustrated the interface between integration preference and oncogenic selection. Lymphoma target genes for MoMLV can be classified into (a) a small set of master regulators that confer self-renewal; overcoming p53 and other failsafe pathways and (b) a large group of progression genes that control autonomous proliferation in transformed cells. These findings provide insights into retroviral biology, human cancer genetics and the safety of vector-mediated gene therapy.
    PLoS Genetics 02/2014; 10(2):e1004167. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A major challenge in cancer genetics is to determine which low-frequency somatic mutations are drivers of tumorigenesis. Here we interrogate the genomes of 7,651 diverse human cancers and find inactivating mutations in the homeodomain transcription factor gene CUX1 (cut-like homeobox 1) in ~1–5% of various tumors. Meta-analysis of CUX1 mutational status in 2,519 cases of myeloid malignancies reveals disruptive mutations associated with poor survival, highlighting the clinical significance of CUX1 loss. In parallel, we validate CUX1 as a bona fide tumor suppressor using mouse transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis and Drosophila cancer models. We demonstrate that CUX1 deficiency activates phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling through direct transcriptional downregulation of the PI3K inhibitor PIK3IP1 (phosphoinositide-3-kinase interacting protein 1), leading to increased tumor growth and susceptibility to PI3K-AKT inhibition. Thus, our complementary approaches identify CUX1 as a pan-driver of tumorigenesis and uncover a potential strategy for treating CUX1-mutant tumors.
    Nature Genetics 12/2013; 46(1):33-38. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The most common risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). To better understand the evolutionary forces driving HCC, we performed a near-saturating transposon mutagenesis screen in a mouse HBV model of HCC. This screen identified 21 candidate early stage drivers and a very large number (2,860) of candidate later stage drivers that were enriched for genes that are mutated, deregulated or functioning in signaling pathways important for human HCC, with a striking 1,199 genes being linked to cellular metabolic processes. Our study provides a comprehensive overview of the genetic landscape of HCC.
    Nature Genetics 12/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon mutagenesis screen is a powerful tool to facilitate the discovery of cancer genes that drive tumorigenesis in mouse models. In this study, we sought to identify genes that functionally cooperate with sonic hedgehog signaling to initiate medulloblastoma (MB), a tumor of the cerebellum. By combining SB mutagenesis with Patched1 heterozygous mice (Ptch1(lacZ/+)), we observed an increased frequency of MB and decreased tumor-free survival compared with Ptch1(lacZ/+) controls. From an analysis of 85 tumors, we identified 77 common insertion sites that map to 56 genes potentially driving increased tumorigenesis. The common insertion site genes identified in the mutagenesis screen were mapped to human orthologs, which were used to select probes and corresponding expression data from an independent set of previously described human MB samples, and surprisingly were capable of accurately clustering known molecular subgroups of MB, thereby defining common regulatory networks underlying all forms of MB irrespective of subgroup. We performed a network analysis to discover the likely mechanisms of action of subnetworks and used an in vivo model to confirm a role for a highly ranked candidate gene, Nfia, in promoting MB formation. Our analysis implicates candidate cancer genes in the deregulation of apoptosis and translational elongation, and reveals a strong signature of transcriptional regulation that will have broad impact on expression programs in MB. These networks provide functional insights into the complex biology of human MB and identify potential avenues for intervention common to all clinical subgroups.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed Cake, a bioinformatics software pipeline that integrates four publicly available somatic variant-calling algorithms to identify single nucleotide variants with higher sensitivity and accuracy than any one algorithm alone. Cake can be run on a high-performance computer cluster or used as a standalone application. Cake is open-source and is available from http://cakesomatic.sourceforge.net/ CONTACT: da1@sanger.ac.uk SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
    Bioinformatics 06/2013; · 5.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We propose mutational genomics as an approach for identifying putative cancer pathways. This approach relies on expression profiling tumors that are induced by retroviral insertional mutagenesis. Akin to genetical genomics, this provides the opportunity to search for associations between tumor-initiating events (the viral insertion sites) and the consequent transcription changes, thus revealing putative regulatory interactions. An important advantage is that in mutational genomics the selective pressure exerted by the tumor growth is exploited to yield a relatively small number of loci that are likely to be causal for tumor formation. This is unlike genetical genomics which relies on the natural occurring genetic variation between samples to reveal the effects of a locus on gene expression. We performed mutational genomics using a set of 97 lymphoma from mice presenting with splenomegaly. This identified several known as well as novel interactions, including many known targets of Notch1 and Gfi1. In addition to direct one-to-one associations, many multilocus networks of association were found. This is indicative of the fact that a cell has many parallel possibilities in which it can reach a state of uncontrolled proliferation. One of the identified networks suggests that Zmiz1 functions upstream of Notch1. Taken together, our results illustrate the potential of mutational genomics as a powerful approach to dissect the regulatory pathways of cancer.
    Proceedings of the 8th IAPR international conference on Pattern Recognition in Bioinformatics; 06/2013
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    ABSTRACT: Medulloblastomas, the most frequent malignant brain tumours affecting children, comprise at least 4 distinct clinicogenetic subgroups. Aberrant sonic hedgehog (SHH) signalling is observed in approximately 25% of tumours and defines one subgroup. Although alterations in SHH pathway genes (e.g. PTCH1, SUFU) are observed in many of these tumours, high throughput genomic analyses have identified few other recurring mutations. Here, we have mutagenised the Ptch+/- murine tumour model using the Sleeping Beauty transposon system to identify additional genes and pathways involved in SHH subgroup medulloblastoma development. Mutagenesis significantly increased medulloblastoma frequency and identified 17 candidate cancer genes, including orthologs of genes somatically mutated (PTEN, CREBBP) or associated with poor outcome (PTEN, MYT1L) in the human disease. Strikingly, these candidate genes were enriched for transcription factors (p=2x10-5), the majority of which (6/7; Crebbp, Myt1L, Nfia, Nfib, Tead1 and Tgif2) were linked within a single regulatory network enriched for genes associated with a differentiated neuronal phenotype. Furthermore, activity of this network varied significantly between the human subgroups, was associated with metastatic disease, and predicted poor survival specifically within the SHH subgroup of tumours. Igf2, previously implicated in medulloblastoma, was the most differentially expressed gene in murine tumours with network perturbation, and network activity in both mouse and human tumours was characterised by enrichment for multiple gene-sets indicating increased cell proliferation, IGF signalling, MYC target upregulation, and decreased neuronal differentiation. Collectively, our data support a model of medulloblastoma development in SB-mutagenised Ptch+/- mice which involves disruption of a novel transcription factor network leading to Igf2 upregulation, proliferation of GNPs, and tumour formation. Moreover, our results identify rational therapeutic targets for SHH subgroup tumours, alongside prognostic biomarkers for the identification of poor-risk SHH patients.
    Acta neuropathologica communications. 01/2013; 1(1):35.
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    ABSTRACT: 10.1038/nature11547
    Nature 10/2012; advance online publication. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal malignancy with few effective therapies. We performed exome sequencing and copy number analysis to define genomic aberrations in a prospectively accrued clinical cohort (n = 142) of early (stage I and II) sporadic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Detailed analysis of 99 informative tumours identified substantial heterogeneity with 2,016 non-silent mutations and 1,628 copy-number variations. We define 16 significantly mutated genes, reaffirming known mutations (KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, MLL3, TGFBR2, ARID1A and SF3B1), and uncover novel mutated genes including additional genes involved in chromatin modification (EPC1 and ARID2), DNA damage repair (ATM) and other mechanisms (ZIM2, MAP2K4, NALCN, SLC16A4 and MAGEA6). Integrative analysis with in vitro functional data and animal models provided supportive evidence for potential roles for these genetic aberrations in carcinogenesis. Pathway-based analysis of recurrently mutated genes recapitulated clustering in core signalling pathways in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and identified new mutated genes in each pathway. We also identified frequent and diverse somatic aberrations in genes described traditionally as embryonic regulators of axon guidance, particularly SLIT/ROBO signalling, which was also evident in murine Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated somatic mutagenesis models of pancreatic cancer, providing further supportive evidence for the potential involvement of axon guidance genes in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
    Nature 10/2012; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) are considered to be the cell of origin of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, the genetic alterations that transform NSCs into glioma-initiating cells remain elusive. Using a unique transposon mutagenesis strategy that mutagenizes NSCs in culture, followed by additional rounds of mutagenesis to generate tumors in vivo, we have identified genes and signaling pathways that can transform NSCs into glioma-initiating cells. Mobilization of Sleeping Beauty transposons in NSCs induced the immortalization of astroglial-like cells, which were then able to generate tumors with characteristics of the mesenchymal subtype of GBM on transplantation, consistent with a potential astroglial origin for mesenchymal GBM. Sequence analysis of transposon insertion sites from tumors and immortalized cells identified more than 200 frequently mutated genes, including human GBM-associated genes, such as Met and Nf1, and made it possible to discriminate between genes that function during astroglial immortalization vs. later stages of tumor development. We also functionally validated five GBM candidate genes using a previously undescribed high-throughput method. Finally, we show that even clonally related tumors derived from the same immortalized line have acquired distinct combinations of genetic alterations during tumor development, suggesting that tumor formation in this model system involves competition among genetically variant cells, which is similar to the Darwinian evolutionary processes now thought to generate many human cancers. This mutagenesis strategy is faster and simpler than conventional transposon screens and can potentially be applied to any tissue stem/progenitor cells that can be grown and differentiated in vitro.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2012; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Antiviral responses must be tightly regulated to defend rapidly against infection while minimizing inflammatory damage. Type 1 interferons (IFN-I) are crucial mediators of antiviral responses and their transcription is regulated by a variety of transcription factors; principal among these is the family of interferon regulatory factors (IRFs). The IRF gene regulatory networks are complex and contain multiple feedback loops. The tools of systems biology are well suited to elucidate the complex interactions that give rise to precise coordination of the interferon response. Here we have used an unbiased systems approach to predict that a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors, FOXO3, is a negative regulator of a subset of antiviral genes. This prediction was validated using macrophages isolated from Foxo3-null mice. Genome-wide location analysis combined with gene deletion studies identified the Irf7 gene as a critical target of FOXO3. FOXO3 was identified as a negative regulator of Irf7 transcription and we have further demonstrated that FOXO3, IRF7 and IFN-I form a coherent feed-forward regulatory circuit. Our data suggest that the FOXO3-IRF7 regulatory circuit represents a novel mechanism for establishing the requisite set points in the interferon pathway that balances the beneficial effects and deleterious sequelae of the antiviral response.
    Nature 09/2012; 490(7420):421-5. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haploinsufficiency of the human 5q35 region spanning the NSD1 gene results in a rare genomic disorder known as Sotos syndrome (Sotos), with patients displaying a variety of clinical features, including pre- and postnatal overgrowth, intellectual disability, and urinary/renal abnormalities. We used chromosome engineering to generate a segmental monosomy, i.e., mice carrying a heterozygous 1.5-Mb deletion of 36 genes on mouse chromosome 13 (4732471D19Rik-B4galt7), syntenic with 5q35.2-q35.3 in humans (Df(13)Ms2Dja ( +/- ) mice). Surprisingly Df(13)Ms2Dja ( +/- ) mice were significantly smaller for their gestational age and also showed decreased postnatal growth, in contrast to Sotos patients. Df(13)Ms2Dja ( +/- ) mice did, however, display deficits in long-term memory retention and dilation of the pelvicalyceal system, which in part may model the learning difficulties and renal abnormalities observed in Sotos patients. Thus, haploinsufficiency of genes within the mouse 4732471D19Rik-B4galt7 deletion interval play important roles in growth, memory retention, and the development of the renal pelvicalyceal system.
    Mammalian Genome 08/2012; · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tumor suppressor gene RASSF1A is inactivated through point mutation or promoter hypermethylation in many human cancers. In this study, we conducted a Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis screen in Rassf1a-null mice to identify candidate genes that collaborate with loss of Rassf1a in tumorigenesis. We identified 10 genes, including the transcription factor Runx2, a transcriptional partner of Yes-associated protein (YAP1) that displays tumor suppressive activity through competing with the oncogenic TEA domain family of transcription factors (TEAD) for YAP1 association. While loss of RASSF1A promoted the formation of oncogenic YAP1-TEAD complexes, the combined loss of both RASSF1A and RUNX2 further increased YAP1-TEAD levels, showing that loss of RASSF1A, together with RUNX2, is consistent with the multistep model of tumorigenesis. Clinically, RUNX2 expression was frequently downregulated in various cancers, and reduced RUNX2 expression was associated with poor survival in patients with diffuse large B-cell or atypical Burkitt/Burkitt-like lymphomas. Interestingly, decreased expression levels of RASSF1 and RUNX2 were observed in both precursor T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and colorectal cancer, further supporting the hypothesis that dual regulation of YAP1-TEAD promotes oncogenic activity. Together, our findings provide evidence that loss of RASSF1A expression switches YAP1 from a tumor suppressor to an oncogene through regulating its association with transcription factors, thereby suggesting a novel mechanism for RASSF1A-mediated tumor suppression.
    Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(15):3817-27. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: CADM1 encodes an immunoglobulin superfamily (IGSF) cell adhesion molecule. Inactivation of CADM1, either by promoter hypermethylation or loss of heterozygosity, has been reported in a wide variety of tumor types, thus it has been postulated as a tumor suppressor gene. FINDINGS: We show for the first time that Cadm1 homozygous null mice die significantly faster than wildtype controls due to an increased tumor incidence (p<0.05) of predominantly lymphomas but also some solid tumors. Furthermore, tumor latency is significantly reduced after irradiation (p<0.003), suggesting there are genes that collaborate with loss of Cadm1 in tumorigenesis. To identify these co-operating genetic events, we performed a Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis screen in Cadm1 mice, and identified several common insertion sites (CIS) found specifically on a Cadm1-null background (not wildtype background). CONCLUSION: We confirm that Cadm1 is indeed a bona fide tumor suppressor gene and provide new insights into genetic partners that co-operate in Cadm1-mediated tumor suppression.
    Molecular Cancer 05/2012; 11(1):29. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nature. 2012 Apr 29;486(7402):266-70 (IF 36.28)
    Nature 04/2012; 486:266. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic screens in simple model organisms have identified many of the key components of the conserved signal transduction pathways that are oncogenic when misregulated. Here, we identify H37N21.1 as a gene that regulates vulval induction in let-60(n1046gf), a strain with a gain-of-function mutation in the Caenorhabditis elegans Ras orthologue, and show that somatic deletion of Nrbp1, the mouse orthologue of this gene, results in an intestinal progenitor cell phenotype that leads to profound changes in the proliferation and differentiation of all intestinal cell lineages. We show that Nrbp1 interacts with key components of the ubiquitination machinery and that loss of Nrbp1 in the intestine results in the accumulation of Sall4, a key mediator of stem cell fate, and of Tsc22d2. We also reveal that somatic loss of Nrbp1 results in tumourigenesis, with haematological and intestinal tumours predominating, and that nuclear receptor binding protein 1 (NRBP1) is downregulated in a range of human tumours, where low expression correlates with a poor prognosis. Thus NRBP1 is a conserved regulator of cell fate, that plays an important role in tumour suppression.
    The EMBO Journal 04/2012; 31(11):2486-97. · 9.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

8k Citations
1,086.80 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2013
    • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
      • Experimental Cancer Genetics
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2011
    • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004–2009
    • Institute for Systems Biology
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1998–2006
    • University of Hertfordshire
      • • Science and Technology Research Institute (STRI)
      • • School of Computer Science
      Hatfield, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • EMBL-EBI
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Division of Biology
      Pasadena, CA, United States