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August 2016

Editor - Ruth Lovering

Biocurators at UCL

Last month Wafa Omer joined the annotation team for 2 months to learn how to create GO annotations. She has been focused on annotating some of the cytokine signalling pathways relevant to cardiovascular disease. Wafa is from Islamabad, Pakistan, and has submitted her thesis for a PhD in Chemical Pathology and Clinical Chemistry. Wafa has a scholarship from the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and intends to continue annotation after she leaves UCL, and to introduce GO to scientists at her university. 

Gene annotation

We are continuing the annotation of miRNAs (miRs) involved in cardiac regeneration. Out of the 41 miRs that were identified as involved in cardiac regeneration, we have so far curated 16 with their roles in processes relevant to regeneration. We are additionally prioritising the curation of 163 BHF-funded miR papers, of which we have curated 9 papers generating 64 annotations to 16 miRNAs. For the whole miR project to date, we have associated ~2500 annotations to 260 miRs.

Based on the EBI statistics, 2nd July 2016, the cardiovascular gene annotation team has associated 38,000 GO annotations with 5,400 proteins, 27,037 of which are to 3,152 human proteins. In addition, funding by the BHF has led to the generation of 2285 new GO terms.

Community engagement

In July, 19 scientists attended our ninth 2-day Introduction to Bioinformatics Resources and GO Annotation Workshop. We provided hands-on training for several resources, such as Ensembl, UniProt, Cytoscape as well as GO annotation. We were very encouraged to receive fantastic feedback from our participants. The course is free-of-charge to the participants and this was made possible by the generosity of the BHF and the International Society of Biocuration.

On July 15th Ruth and Rachael presented a talk entitled “GO further: exploiting Gene Ontology” for the UCL Division of Medicine Seminar Programme. Ruth described the ways in which the Functional Annotation Team have assisted scientists with analysing their datasets with GO and Rachael presented the progress of the miRNA curation project.

Meetings attended

In June Barbara attended the the eResearch Domain Launch at UCL, a multi-disciplinary event focusing on highlighting the diversity of computational research at UCL and providing a platform for establishing collaborative work, where she gave a 1-minute presentation about annotating cardiovascular-relevant microRNAs. Barbara presented an overview of GO, provided examples of annotations of microRNAs, highlighting the GO processes they are involved in, and concluded by emphasising the importance of GO annotations for better-informed design of future studies and cardiovascular disease therapies.

Also in June, Ruth was invited to give a 20 minute talk, “Gene Ontology annotation of cardiovascular-relevant microRNAs” at the BAS/BSCR Spring Meeting, in Manchester. Ruth gave an overview of GO and explained how the annotation extension field enables us to provide contextual information about the cells and tissues a specific microRNA is known to regulate gene expression, as well as which genes are regulated by a microRNA.

In July Rachael presented a poster entitled “Functional annotation of cardiovascular microRNAs with GO” at the 2016 BHF Centre of Research Excellence Annual Symposium held in Imperial College London.

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