our research interests

We work over a diverse range of interests in the field of genetics (not just cancer!). The primary focus of our lab is colorectal, oesophageal and sarcoma cancers, particularly around the epigenetics of these cancers. We have a particular interest in "difficult" sample types such as FFPE tissue and ctDNA and are developing methodologies to deal with these difficult materials to get clinically meaningful results out of them. We also carry out clinical grade WGS and exome sequencing experiments on tumour/normal pairs (including in FFPE material and ctDNA) and trios in heritable cancer.

We have also branched out into neurogenetics, especially around the genetics of motor learning and neurodevelopmental disorders in association with our colleagues in the Cerebra Centre at the University of Birmingham.

Our technology

The lab is primarily focused around translational cancer genetics and more specifically application of modern 'omics technologies to these. We have access to Illumina NextSeq, MiSeq and Hiseq instruments and we have been developing expertise in Oxford Nanopore technology as well. We carry out a large range of sample and library preparation types, including Exome-Seq, WGS, RNA-seq (total and mRNA), ATAC-Seq, Chip-Seq and many others. We carry out a large volume of research using the Illumina HumanMethylationEPIC system for whole genome methylation analysis and carry out research work using this for multiple groups in the UK.

We've recently started to utilise single cell technology and we have a Fluidigm C1 single cell platform in the lab, and we're shortly going to start using the 10X Genomics Chromium in both single cell and long read modes.

We also have a Hamilton Robotics NGS Star liquid handling robot (a.k.a. "Crystal Tips") that we use for a variety of library preparation and liquid handling applications. We are also one of the first groups in the UK to use the Illumina Neoprep system for RNA library preparation and have worked with Illumina to successfully develop this platform.

Our collaborators

We work with a number of research groups in Birmingham, the UK and internationally. Below is a list of our main collaborators:

  • Professor Ian Tomlinson, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Gary Middleton, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Hisham Mehanna, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Simon Leedham, University of Oxford
  • Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, University of Cambridge
  • Dr David Bentley, Illumina UK.
  • Dr Nick Loman, University of Birmingham