Matthew Pocock

Newcastle University, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (50)237.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: VisBOL is a Web-based application that allows the rendering of genetic circuit designs, enabling synthetic biologists to visually convey designs in SBOL visual format. VisBOL designs can be exported to formats including PNG and SVG images to be embedded in Web pages, presentations and publications. The VisBOL tool enables the automated generation of visualizations from designs specified using the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) version 2.0, as well as a range of well-known bioinformatics formats including GenBank and Pigeoncad notation. VisBOL is provided both as a user accessible website and as an open-source (BSD) JavaScript library that can be used to embed diagrams within other content and software.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · ACS Synthetic Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Visual is a graphical standard for genetic engineering. It consists of symbols representing DNA subsequences, including regulatory elements and DNA assembly features. These symbols can be used to draw illustrations for communication and instruction, and as image assets for computer-aided design. SBOL Visual is a community standard, freely available for personal, academic, and commercial use (Creative Commons CC0 license). We provide prototypical symbol images that have been used in scientific publications and software tools. We encourage users to use and modify them freely, and to join the SBOL Visual community: http://www.sbolstandard.org/visual.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Motivation: Biological systems are complex and challenging to model and therefore model reuse is highly desirable. To promote model reuse, models should include both information about the specifics of simulations and the underlying biology in the form of metadata. The availability of computationally-tractable metadata is especially important for the effective automated interpretation and processing of models. Metadata are typically represented as machine-readable annotations which enhance programmatic access to information about models. Rule-based languages have emerged as a modelling framework to represent the complexity of biological systems. Annotation approaches have been widely used for reaction-based formalisms such as SBML. However, rule-based languages still lack a rich annotation framework to add semantic information, such as machine-readable descriptions, to the components of a model. Results: We present an annotation framework and guidelines for annotating rule-based models, encoded in the commonly used Kappa and BioNetGen languages. We adapt widely adopted annotation approaches to rule-based models. We initially propose a syntax to store machine-readable annotations and describe a mapping between rule-based modelling entities, such as agents and rules, and their annotations. We then describe an ontology to both annotate these models and capture the information contained therein, and demonstrate annotating these models using examples. Finally, we present a proof of concept tool for extracting annotations from a model that can be queried and analyzed in a uniform way. The uniform representation of the annotations can be used to facilitate the creation, analysis, reuse and visualisation of rule-based models. Although examples are given, using specific implementations the proposed techniques can be applied to rule-based models in general. Availability and implementation: The annotation ontology for rulebased models can be found at http://purl.org/rbm/rbmo. The krdf tool and associated executable examples are available at http://purl.org/rbm/rbmo/krdf. Contact: anil.wipat@newcastle.ac.uk, vdanos@inf.ed.ac.uk.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Bioinformatics
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    ABSTRACT: Synthetic biology builds upon the techniques and successes of genetics, molecular biology, and metabolic engineering by applying engineering principles to the design of biological systems. The field still faces substantial challenges, including long development times, high rates of failure, and poor reproducibility. One method to ameliorate these problems would be to improve the exchange of information about designed systems between laboratories. The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) has been developed as a standard to support the specification and exchange of biological design information in synthetic biology, filling a need not satisfied by other pre-existing standards. This document details version 2.0 of SBOL, introducing a standardized format for the electronic exchange of information on the structural and functional aspects of biological designs. The standard has been designed to support the explicit and unambiguous description of biological designs by means of a well defined data model. The standard also includes rules and best practices on how to use this data model and populate it with relevant design details. The publication of this specification is intended to make these capabilities more widely accessible to potential developers and users in the synthetic biology community and beyond.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of integrative bioinformatics
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The design and construction of engineered organisms is an emerging new discipline called synthetic biology and holds considerable promise as a new technological platform. The design of biologically engineered systems is however nontrivial, requiring contributions from a wide array of disciplines. One particular issue that confronts synthetic biologists is the ability to unambiguously describe novel designs such that they can be reengineered by a third-party. For this reason, the synthetic biology open language (SBOL) was developed as a community wide standard for formally representing biological designs. A design created by one engineering team can be transmitted electronically to another who can then use this design to reproduce the experimental results. The development and the community of the SBOL standard started in 2008 and has since grown in use with now over 80 participants, including international, academic, and industrial interests. SBOL has stimulated the development of repositories and software tools to help synthetic biologists in their design efforts. This chapter summarizes the latest developments and future of the SBOL standard and its supporting infrastructure.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
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    ABSTRACT: While the first version of the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) has been adopted by several academic and commercial genetic design automation (GDA) software tools, it only covers a limited number of the requirements for a standardized exchange format for synthetic biology. In particular, SBOL Version 1.1 is capable of representing DNA components and their hierarchical composition via sequence annotations. This proposal revises SBOL Version 1.1, enabling the representation of a wider range of components with and without sequences, including RNA components, protein components, small molecules, and molecular complexes. It also introduces modules to instantiate groups of components on the basis of their shared function and assert molecular interactions between components. By increasing the range of structural and functional descriptions in SBOL and allowing for their composition, the proposed improvements enable SBOL to represent and facilitate the exchange of a broader class of genetic designs.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · ACS Synthetic Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The re-use of previously validated designs is critical to the evolution of synthetic biology from a research discipline to an engineering practice. Here we describe the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a proposed data standard for exchanging designs within the synthetic biology community. SBOL represents synthetic biology designs in a community-driven, formalized format for exchange between software tools, research groups and commercial service providers. The SBOL Developers Group has implemented SBOL as an XML/RDF serialization and provides software libraries and specification documentation to help developers implement SBOL in their own software. We describe early successes, including a demonstration of the utility of SBOL for information exchange between several different software tools and repositories from both academic and industrial partners. As a community-driven standard, SBOL will be updated as synthetic biology evolves to provide specific capabilities for different aspects of the synthetic biology workflow.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Nature Biotechnology
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    ABSTRACT: BacillOndex is an extension of the Ondex data integration system, providing a semantically annotated, integrated knowledge base for the model Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. This application allows a user to mine a variety of B. subtilis data sources, and analyse the resulting integrated dataset, which contains data about genes, gene products and their interactions. The data can be analysed either manually, by browsing using Ondex, or computationally via a Web services interface. We describe the process of creating a BacillOndex instance, and describe the use of the system for the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms in B. subtilis Marburg. The Marburg strain is the progenitor of the widely-used laboratory strain B. subtilis 168. We identified 27 SNPs with predictable phenotypic effects, including genetic traits for known phenotypes. We conclude that BacillOndex is a valuable tool for the systems-level investigation of, and hypothesis generation about, this important biotechnology workhorse. Such understanding contributes to our ability to construct synthetic genetic circuits in this organism.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of integrative bioinformatics
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    ABSTRACT: In this BioBricks Foundation Request for Comments (BBF RFC), we specify the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 1.1.0 to enable the electronic exchange of information describing DNA components used in synthetic biology. We define: 1. the vocabulary, a set of preferred terms and 2. the core data model, a common computational representation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012
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    ABSTRACT: As bioinformatics datasets grow ever larger, and analyses become increasingly complex, there is a need for data handling infrastructures to keep pace with developing technology. One solution is to apply Grid and Cloud technologies to address the computational requirements of analysing high throughput datasets. We present an approach for writing new, or wrapping existing applications, and a reference implementation of a framework, Microbase2.0, for executing those applications using Grid and Cloud technologies. We used Microbase2.0 to develop an automated Cloud-based bioinformatics workflow executing simultaneously on two different Amazon EC2 data centres and the Newcastle University Condor Grid. Several CPU years' worth of computational work was performed by this system in less than two months. The workflow produced a detailed dataset characterising the cellular localisation of 3,021,490 proteins from 867 taxa, including bacteria, archaea and unicellular eukaryotes. Microbase2.0 is freely available from http://www.microbase.org.uk/.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of integrative bioinformatics
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    ABSTRACT: In this BioBricks Foundation Request for Comments (BBF RFC), we specify the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 1.0.0 to enable the electronic exchange of information describing DNA components used in synthetic biology. We define: 1. the vocabulary, a set of preferred terms and 2. the core data model, a common computational representation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011
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    ABSTRACT: The use of computational modeling to describe and analyze biological systems is at the heart of systems biology. Model structures, simulation descriptions and numerical results can be encoded in structured formats, but there is an increasing need to provide an additional semantic layer. Semantic information adds meaning to components of structured descriptions to help identify and interpret them unambiguously. Ontologies are one of the tools frequently used for this purpose. We describe here three ontologies created specifically to address the needs of the systems biology community. The Systems Biology Ontology (SBO) provides semantic information about the model components. The Kinetic Simulation Algorithm Ontology (KiSAO) supplies information about existing algorithms available for the simulation of systems biology models, their characterization and interrelationships. The Terminology for the Description of Dynamics (TEDDY) categorizes dynamical features of the simulation results and general systems behavior. The provision of semantic information extends a model's longevity and facilitates its reuse. It provides useful insight into the biology of modeled processes, and may be used to make informed decisions on subsequent simulation experiments.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Molecular Systems Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The rise of high-throughput technologies in the post-genomic era has led to the production of large amounts of biological data. Many of these datasets are freely available on the Internet. Making optimal use of these data is a significant challenge for bioinformaticians. Various strategies for integrating data have been proposed to address this challenge. One of the most promising approaches is the development of semantically rich integrated datasets. Although well suited to computational manipulation, such integrated datasets are typically too large and complex for easy visualization and interactive exploration. We have created an integrated dataset for Saccharomyces cerevisiae using the semantic data integration tool Ondex, and have developed a view-based visualization technique that allows for concise graphical representations of the integrated data. The technique was implemented in a plug-in for Cytoscape, called OndexView. We used OndexView to investigate telomere maintenance in S. cerevisiae. The Ondex yeast dataset and the OndexView plug-in for Cytoscape are accessible at http://bsu.ncl.ac.uk/ondexview.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Bioinformatics
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    ABSTRACT: An increasing number of biomedical resources provide their information on the Semantic Web and this creates the basis for a distributed knowledge base which has the potential to advance biomedical research [1]. This potential, however, cannot be realized until researchers from the life sciences can interact with information in the Semantic Web. In particular, there is a need for tools that provide data reduction, visualization and interactive analysis capabilities. Ondex is a data integration and visualization platform developed to support Systems Biology Research [2]. At its core is a data model based on two main principles: first, all information can be represented as a graph and, second, all elements of the graph can be annotated with ontologies. This data model conforms to the Semantic Web framework, in particular to RDF, and therefore Ondex is ideally positioned as a platform that can exploit the semantic web. The Ondex system offers a range of features and analysis methods of potential value to semantic web users, including: - An interactive graph visualization interface (Ondex user client), which provides data reduction and representation methods that leverage the ontological annotation. - A suite of importers from a variety of data sources to Ondex (http://ondex.org/formats.html) - A collection of plug-ins which implement graph analysis, graph transformation and graph-matching functions. - An integration toolkit (Ondex Integrator) which allows users to compose workflows from these modular components - In addition, all importers and plug-ins are available as web-services which can be integrated in other tools, as for instance Taverna [3]. The developments that will be presented in this demo have made this functionality interoperable with the Semantic Web framework. In particular we have developed an interactive importer, based on SPARQL that allows the query-driven construction of datasets which brings together information from different RDF data resources into Ondex. These datasets can then be further refined, analysed and annotated both interactively using the Ondex user client and via user-defined workflows. The results of these analyses can be exported in RDF, which can be used to enrich existent knowledge bases, or to provide application-specific views of the data. Both importer and exporter only focus on a subset of the Ondex and RDF data models, which are shared between these two data representations [4]. In this demo we will show how Ondex can be used to query, analyse and visualize Semantic Web knowledge bases. In particular we will present real use cases focused, but not limited to, resources relevant to plant biology. We believe that Ondex can be a valid contribution to the adoption of the Semantic Web in Systems Biology research and in biomedical investigation more generally. We welcome feedback on our current import/export prototype and suggestions for the advancement of Ondex for the Semantic Web. References 1. Ruttenberg, A. et. al.: Advancing translational research with the Semantic Web, BMC Bioinformatics, 8 (Suppl. 3): S2 (2007). 2. Köhler, J., Baumbach, J., Taubert, J., Specht, M., Skusa, A., Ruegg, A., Rawlings, C., Verrier, P., Philippi, S.: Graph-based analysis and visualization of experimental results with Ondex. Bioinformatics 22 (11):1383-1390 (2006). 3. Rawlings, C.: Semantic Data Integration for Systems Biology Research, Technology Track at ISMB’09, http://www.iscb.org/uploaded/css/36/11846.pdf (2009). 4. Splendiani, A. et. al.: Ondex semantic definition, (Web document) http://ondex.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/ondex/trunk/doc/semantics/ (2009).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Nature Precedings
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    ABSTRACT: Constructing simulatable models for BioBricks by hand is a complex and time-consuming task. The time taken could be reduced by using Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools to aid in designing models, but these tools need to be augmented with domain-specific knowledge. Here we propose a standard for a RESTful (Richardson, 2007) API which facilitates the discovery and publication of models of functional biological units. This API is designed to produce parts models which can be automatically combined into complete, simulatable models of entire systems
    Full-text · Technical Report · Sep 2010
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    ABSTRACT: Web services have become a key technology for bioinformatics, since life science databases are globally decentralized and the exponential increase in the amount of available data demands for efficient systems without the need to transfer entire databases for every step of an analysis. However, various incompatibilities among database resources and analysis services make it difficult to connect and integrate these into interoperable workflows. To resolve this situation, we invited domain specialists from web service providers, client software developers, Open Bio* projects, the BioMoby project and researchers of emerging areas where a standard exchange data format is not well established, for an intensive collaboration entitled the BioHackathon 2008. The meeting was hosted by the Database Center for Life Science (DBCLS) and Computational Biology Research Center (CBRC) and was held in Tokyo from February 11th to 15th, 2008. In this report we highlight the work accomplished and the common issues arisen from this event, including the standardization of data exchange formats and services in the emerging fields of glycoinformatics, biological interaction networks, text mining, and phyloinformatics. In addition, common shared object development based on BioSQL, as well as technical challenges in large data management, asynchronous services, and security are discussed. Consequently, we improved interoperability of web services in several fields, however, further cooperation among major database centers and continued collaborative efforts between service providers and software developers are still necessary for an effective advance in bioinformatics web service technologies.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Journal of Biomedical Semantics
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    Allyson L Lister · Phillip Lord · Matthew Pocock · Anil Wipat
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    ABSTRACT: Background The creation of accurate quantitative Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) models is a time-intensive, manual process often complicated by the many data sources and formats required to annotate even a small and well-scoped model. Ideally, the retrieval and integration of biological knowledge for model annotation should be performed quickly, precisely, and with a minimum of manual effort. Results Here we present rule-based mediation, a method of semantic data integration applied to systems biology model annotation. The heterogeneous data sources are first syntactically converted into ontologies, which are then aligned to a small domain ontology by applying a rule base. We demonstrate proof-of-principle of this application of rule-based mediation using off-the-shelf semantic web technology through two use cases for SBML model annotation. Existing tools and technology provide a framework around which the system is built, reducing development time and increasing usability. Conclusions Integrating resources in this way accommodates multiple formats with different semantics, and provides richly-modelled biological knowledge suitable for annotation of SBML models. This initial work establishes the feasibility of rule-based mediation as part of an automated SBML model annotation system. Availability Detailed information on the project files as well as further information on and comparisons with similar projects is available from the project page at http://cisban-silico.cs.ncl.ac.uk/RBM/.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Journal of Biomedical Semantics
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    ABSTRACT: Drug development is expensive and prone to failure. It is potentially much less risky and expensive to reuse a drug developed for one condition for treating a second disease, than it is to develop an entirely new compound. Systematic approaches to drug repositioning are needed to increase throughput and find candidates more reliably. Here we address this need with an integrated systems biology dataset, developed using the Ondex data integration platform, for the in silico discovery of new drug repositioning candidates. We demonstrate that the information in this dataset allows known repositioning examples to be discovered. We also propose a means of automating the search for new treatment indications of existing compounds.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Journal of integrative bioinformatics
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    Allyson L Lister · Matthew Pocock · Morgan Taschuk · Anil Wipat
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    ABSTRACT: Saint is a web application which provides a lightweight annotation integration environment for quantitative biological models. The system enables modellers to rapidly mark up models with biological information derived from a range of data sources. Availability and Implementation: Saint is freely available for use on the web at http://www.cisban.ac.uk/saint. The web application is implemented in Google Web Toolkit and Tomcat, with all major browsers supported. The Java source code is freely available for download at http://saint-annotate.sourceforge.net. The Saint web server requires an installation of libSBML and has been tested on Linux (32-bit Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04). Contact: helpdesk@cisban.ac.uk; a.l.lister@ncl.ac.uk Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Bioinformatics

Publication Stats

5k Citations
237.10 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004-2014
    • Newcastle University
      • School of Computing Science
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • University of Newcastle
      • Department of Computer Science
      Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2002
    • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom