Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies | EMBL-EBI

Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies

Team Leader and Senior Scientist



Dr Helen Parkinson is Head of the Knowledge Management Section at EMBL-EBI. With her faculty colleagues Tudor Groza, Melissa Harrison, Henning Hermjakob and Ugis Sarkans she provides essential resources for accessing knowledge from publications and experimental data.

Helen leads the Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies team, delivering genomic resources and semantic tools. Trained as a geneticist, Helen's research prior to joining EMBL focused on Drosophila biology, behaviour, molecular biology and medical genetics. In 1999 she shifted focus to bioinformatics and computational biology while performing positional cloning to identify the causal gene for primary pulmonary hypertension. Helen's passion is semantic data integration and providing users with high quality data at scale. Her team participates extensively in external collaborations ranging from data analysis and generation projects to infrastructural integration projects.

Helen is one of the Co-chairs of the EMBL Human Ecosystem Transversal Themewhich addresses key questions that will bring a quantitative, mechanistic, and molecular understanding of environmental effects on human biology and integrates EMBL research and services to arrive at a molecular understanding of how we interact with our physical, biological, and social environments to identify avenues for the mitigation and treatment of disease.

Helen's community activities include: membership of the MRC Data Science Advisory Group, Deputy Chairperson of BBSRC Committee C and Associate Directorship of Health Data Research UK Cambridge.

Prior to joining EMBL-EBI, Helen was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Leicester, where she worked on the genetic basis of the genetic disease Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, Hyphophatasia and synteny at human chromosomes 7 and 12. Her PhD thesis examined the temperature compensation of circadian rhythms in Drosophila with Professor Bambos Kyriacou. If she ever goes back to the bench it will be to work on an organism where forward and reverse genetics are tractable.


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