Personal profile

Biography

2016 – current: Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester.

2011 – 2016: Lecturer, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester.

20062011: Physical/Life Sciences Interface Independent Research Fellow, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester.

2003 2006: Postdoctoral Researcher, Kyoto University Bioinformatics Center (Japan).

19992003: PhD in Computer Engineering, Laval University (Canada).

1995 1999: Research Associate, Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Germany).

1991 1994: Degree in Engineering, École Centrale Paris (France).

Research interests

Pathways and biological systems modelling

Biology was dominated until recently by the reductionist approach, consisting in the thorough study of individual biochemical compounds. However, new technologies allow experimentalists to gather rapidly increasing amounts of data at the scale of the entire cell, and a key challenge for biology is now to integrate and exploit these data in order to advance towards a global understanding of biological functions. The new field of Systems Biology seeks to explain macroscopic phenotypes by the use of chemical and physical models embedding detailed knowledge of the quantities, dynamics and interactions between intracellular compounds. New algorithms and solutions are required for data integration, network analysis, model construction and simulation. In this framework, our research projects encompass on the following topics:

 

  • Constraint-based analysis of metabolic networks

The metabolism of biological cells consists in several hundreds of chemical reactions, which build a complex and highly interconnected network. The analysis of metabolic networks by constraint-based methods, such as flux balance analysis and elementary modes, has led to valuable new knowledge and applications in recent years. We are developing new methodologies to integrate these tools with high-throughput experimental data and to extend their use in whole-cell models.

 

  • Integrative and dynamical modelling

Biological processes are highly dynamic, as living cells constantly need to adapt to specific functional requirements or changes in their environment. Our projects aim at the construction of dynamic models integrating metabolism with gene regulatory and signalling pathways. We interact with experimental biologists to model pathways of particular interest, while at the same time developing methodologies that will be of general interest to biological systems modelling.

 

  • Systems pharmacology and drug metabolism

Although investments by pharmaceutical companies have been growing continuously in the last decades, the number of newly approved drugs has remained almost constant. The traditional approach in drug development generally targets a single gene or gene product. However, many diseases are multifactorial and systemic effects of drug action need to be taken into account. Our work aims to characterise and predict the interactions between drugs and cellular systems by the use of network analysis and the construction of stoichiometric and dynamic models.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Institute for Data Science and AI
  • Lydia Becker Institute
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute

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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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