Senior Research Fellow in Bioinformatics
Eilis’ research career to date has looked at how genetic risk factors lead to the development of schizophrenia in young adulthood. Eilis graduated with a degree in Mathematics in 2010 and went on to complete a PhD in the department of Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University. She used statistical techniques to characterise the developmental trajectory of gene expression for genes associated with schizophrenia. As a student of both the Medical School and the School of Computer Science, she developed a knowledge of genetics, particularly that of psychiatric disorders, and bioinformatics skills. The results of her PhD indicated an enrichment of schizophrenia risk genes in epigenetic pathways, and she was keen to pursue this area of research. To this end, she joined the group in Exeter at the end of 2013 as a Bioinformatician. She works across projects and phenotypes but has a particular focus on developing and applying methods to integrate multiple ‘omics data with the aim of improving our understanding of the molecular consequences and biological processes affected by genetic variants associated with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. This work will be developed further as part of her recently awarded 2017 NARSAD Young Investigator Award by the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation (USA). She is a certified Software and Data Carpentry Instructor and at the University of Exeter, she leads a number of bioinformatic training workshops (e.g. Introduction to R). In 2016, she was awarded a fellowship from the Software Sustainability Institute, to act as an ambassador for their ethos of improving the quality and reproducibility of research software. In 2017 she took part in the GW4 Crucible programme designed to support the development of future research leaders and provide opportunities to establish collaborations.