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Dr Rachael Huntley
Centre for Cardiovascular Genetics
University Street
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Pre-clinical & Fundamental Science
  • Institute of Cardiovascular Science
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

I started my scientific career as a Ph.D. student with Dr. David Hanke in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge where I studied plant hormones during sex determination of Oil Palm. After my Ph.D., I moved to the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge where I studied plant cell cycle genes such as D-type cyclins and retinoblastoma protein with Dr. James Murray for six years. Wanting a change of scenery, I took a post-doctoral position in the group of Dr. Kathy Barton at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Plant Biology in Stanford, California, where I studied the role of the Arabidopsis meristem gene PINHEAD. During my time at the Carnegie Institution, I discovered Gene Ontology annotation at The Arabidopsis Information Resource and started as a voluntary curator whilst finishing my post-doc project. From Carnegie, I moved back to the UK and took a position as Biocurator at the European Bioinformatics Institute to work on the Gene Ontology Annotation Project, subsequently becoming Project Leader. In 2014 I started as Senior Research Associate in the group of Dr. Ruth Lovering in the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London where I am responsible for GO annotation of cardiovascular-relevant microRNAs.

Research Groups
Research Summary
Gene Ontology (GO) is the de facto standard to describe the biological function of gene products and is the most widely used biomedical ontology. I am part of the Functional Gene Annotation team at UCL, which associates Gene Ontology terms to cardiovascular- and Parkinson's disease-relevant human gene products. Within this team I am responsible for the biocuration of microRNAs (miRNAs) relevant to human cardiovascular development. By associating miRNAs both with the mRNAs and the pathways they regulate, we will enable scientists to better interpret the experimental data they obtain. The annotations our team creates are made publicly available, through our close collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute, and have been propagated through the world's leading biological databases, including Ensembl and NCBI Gene, and even to Wikipedia.
Teaching Summary
Teaching is an important aspect of our work and we run a bioinformatics module as part of the M.Sc. in Human Disease Genetics, as well as a 2-day bioinformatics workshop at UCL, which enables scientists to learn how to use a variety of online genomic resources in their data analyses and interpretation.
Academic Background
2017 FHEA ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow – Teaching and Learning in Higher Education University College London
1995 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Plant Biochemistry University of Cambridge
1991 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Cell and Molecular Biology Oxford Brookes University
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