Computer biologist receives research accolade

Dr Ulf Schmitz, a bioinformatician within the Gene & Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, received a prestigious accolade for his recent published work on novel gene regulation published in the journal Genome Biology.

Ulf’s paper received a recommendation from the F1000 Faculty which identifies and rates the best published research articles in the world.

Dr Schmitz, who uses computer code and high performance computer clusters to make sense of big data, discovered that intron retention, which is a form of alternative splicing of messenger RNA, is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of gene regulation.

Ulf and colleagues studied white blood cells from 5 different vertebrate species (human, mouse, dog, chicken and zebrafish). They concluded that intron retention acts to increase gene regulatory complexity in vertebrates. Ulf is now extending this study to examining leukaemia samples to determine if intron retention regulates the expression of cancer-specific genes.