Professor Dawn Field appointed as a Senior Research Fellow

Professor Dawn Field appointed as a Senior Research Fellow

We are delighted to announce that Professor Dawn Field, of  NERC’s Centre for Ecology  & Hydrology (CEH), has been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow with the Oxford e-Research Centre. This part-time appointment supports the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CEH to enhance collaborations with the University of Oxford.

Dawn is the Head of the Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics Group at the CEH, where her group undertakes research in comparative microbial genomics and microbial diversity using bioinformatic approaches and next-generation sequencing technologies. In particular she is interested in understanding the evolution and function of the “Unknown Genome”, the large fraction of sequenced genetic material found within genomic and metagenomic data sets that has yet to be characterised.

She is a founder of the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC) and its open-access journal (SIGS).  She is a founder of Minimum Information about a Biological or Biomedical Investigation initiative (MIBBI), the Environment Ontology, and the BioSharing Initiative and an active member of a variety of other data standards and ontology efforts.  She is also the Director of the NERC Environmental Bioinformatics Centre (NEBC).

In her joint position Dawn aims to build new collaborations in the general areas of data sharing, bioinformatics and environmental ‘omics. Specifically she will collaborate with Dr Susanna Sansone (and her team) and Professor Anne Trefethen (Director of Oxford e-Research Centre) to build the ISA infrastructure, a software solution for standards-compliant data sharing in the biological sciences that has been funded by the BBSRC and NERC. As a development of this project she will work with Dr Sansone’s team to build related collaborations and seek additional funding for this initiative. In particular the team will be collaborating on the use of ISA and the standards developed by the Genomics Standards Consortium (GSC) to help contribute to the development of a metagenomics portal at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI).

Info on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

In recognition of the common research interests in environmental quality and the generation of  workable solutions to pressing environmental problems, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council, and the University of Oxford agreed to explore and promote opportunities for collaboration in these areas. 

The aim of the MOU is to encourage interactions between CEH and Oxford University staff through jointly held funded projects, joint symposia, discussion groups and workshops and discipline-hopping visits to visits by CEH staff to Oxford University Departments and vice versa.  The collaboration with the e-Research Centre has already resulted in several collaborative projects funded by the BBSRC including the 'Omics Data Sharing: the Investigation / Study / Assay (ISA) Infrastructure.