Biomed CDT/IANC Seminar - Andrew Pocklington
Friday 9th June 2023
Leveraging genetics to uncover disease biology and inform drug discovery
Abstract: Large-scale sequencing studies are starting to generate reliable insight into the genomic basis of CNS and other human disorders. There is an urgent need to translate these genetic findings into greater understanding of disease biology at the molecular and cellular level, and to leverage the resulting models of pathobiology to drive the development of novel therapeutics. In this talk I will first review the advantages and limitations of working with different types of genetic data, then illustrate how disease genetics has been integrated with neurobiological data to uncover cellular processes disrupted in schizophrenia. Finally, I will explore the potential of genetic analyses to identify novel therapeutic targets and guide assay development for compound screening.
Event type: Seminar
Date: Friday 9th June 2023
Speaker(s): Andrew Pocklington
Bio: Dr Pocklington began his career studying mathematical physics at the University of Edinburgh. After a PhD at Durham University and postdoctoral research in Japan and Brasil, he returned to the University of Edinburgh to complete an MSc in Informatics, specialising in bioinformatics. He was subsequently awarded an MRC Special Research Training Fellowship in Bioinformatics to study the functional organisation of the synapse proteome and its role in behaviour and disease. Based in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, he worked closely with the Genes to Cognition programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, pioneering network-analytic approaches for studying synapse molecular biology and exploring the relationship between synapse evolution, organisation and brain regional specialisation. This led to his appointment as Senior Lecturer in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University. Investigating the biological basis of neuropsychiatric disorders, he uncovered the first robust, genetic evidence for disruption of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic signalling in schizophrenia. His recent work has revealed cellular pathways active during early cortical development that are highly enriched for genetic risk factors contributing to a wide spectrum of CNS disorders. He has also led the identification and prioritisation of candidate target genes for the development of novel schizophrenia therapeutics in a partnership between Cardiff University and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.