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September 2018

Editor - Barbara Kramarz

Congratulations to Ruth on her promotion to Professorial Research Fellow!

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Ruth Lovering has been promoted to Professorial Research Associate. Ruth has been leading the Functional Gene Annotation team at UCL for the last ten years. Throughout this decade Ruth has contributed to curation of published knowledge about human proteins and miRNAs and promoted the teams’ work at international meetings. In line with UCL's Connected Curriculum, Ruth has also greatly contributed to teaching at UCL by having developed a ten-week MSc-level Bioinformatics Resources module as well as a two-day workshop open to Health and Life Science researchers at UCL.  Congratulations, Ruth!

Ruth_on_sofa

New funding to describe the roles of microRNAs in neuroinflammation

Ruth and Rachael, in collaboration with Professor David Brough (University of Manchester), have recently secured funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK (grant ARUK-NSG2018-003) to capture the published knowledge about microRNAs implicated in neuroinflammatory processes and to curate the functional roles of these microRNAs using Gene Ontology (GO) annotations. MicroRNAs involved in regulation of expression of the microglial proteins prioritised for GO annotation as a part of the protein annotation grant (ARUK-NAS2017A-1) will be curated first. Rachael is a pioneer in the field of microRNA GO annotation and she will be the main curator working on this project. Rachael’s key contributions to the field of miRNA bioinformatics already include the development of GO guidelines for microRNA annotation (PMID:26917558) and curation of microRNAs associated with cardiovascular processes (PMID:29871895). Rachael has also liaised with curators from different bioinformatics resources, e.g. Ensembl or miRbase, to ensure that these databases display the manually-curated GO annotations for microRNAs, which Ruth’s team has been contributing (e.g. https://tinyurl.com/EnsemblGOmiRhttps://tinyurl.com/miRBaseGOmiR). Work on this project will commence on 1st October 2018.

ARUK-UCL Gene Ontology annotation progress

Collectively, all of the ARUK-funded work, has thus far resulted in 4771 GO annotations to 738 gene products, including proteins, microRNAs and macromolecular protein complexes involved in interactions with amyloid-beta and tau as well as in dementia-relevant microglial processes. Of these, 3338 GO annotations have been associated with 417 human gene products (EBI statistics: 23rd August 2018).

Promoting functional annotation work at UCL

Barbara’s abstract has been selected for a 3-minute flash presentation at the ARUK UCL Network Scientific Meeting on 7th September 2018. Our team is very grateful for this opportunity to introduce the GO resource to the ARUK UCL Network community and explain how our work, so relevant in the era of 'Big Data', can help to improve the outcomes of high-throughput dementia research studies. Barbara will also be presenting a poster at this meeting. Please come to see our poster and talk to Barbara during one of the poster sessions.

Meetings attended

In July Ruth attended another Gene Regulation Ensemble Effort for the Knowledge Commons (GREEKC) meeting in Graz, Austria, which focused on improving ontologies for capturing the role of transcription factors.

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