Richard M. Durbin

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Richard Durbin
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Richard Durbin in his office at WTSI
Born Richard Michael Durbin
(1960-12-30) 30 December 1960 (age 58)[1]
Nationality British
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
Thesis Studies on the development and organisation of the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans (1987)
Doctoral advisor John G. White[3]
Doctoral students Ewan Birney[4]
Other notable students
Known for
  • Biological Sequence Analysis[15]
Notable awards
Spouse Julie Ahringer (m. 1996)[1]
Website
sanger.ac.uk/research/faculty/rdurbin

Richard Michael Durbin, FRS, born (1960-12-30) 30 December 1960 (age 58),[1] is a British computational biologist. He is head of Computational Genomics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and leader of the Genome Informatics group.[17][18][19][20]

Education

Durbin was educated at The Hall School Hampstead[citation needed] and Highgate School in London.[1] After competing in the 1978/9 International Mathematical Olympiad,[21] he went on to study at the University of Cambridge graduating in 1982[22] with a first class honours degree on the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos. After graduating, he continued to study for a PhD[3] at St John's College, Cambridge[1] studying the development and organisation of the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans[23] whilst working at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge.

Research

Durbin's early work included developing the primary instrument software for one of the first X-ray crystallography area detectors [24] and the MRC Biorad confocal microscope, alongside contributions to neural modelling.[25][26]

He then led the informatics for the C. elegans genome project,[27] and alongside Jean Thierry-Mieg developed the genome database AceDB, which evolved into the WormBase web resource. Following this he played an important role in data collection for and interpretation of the human genome sequence.[28]

He has developed numerous methods for computational sequence analysis.[29][30] These include gene finding (e.g. GeneWise) with Ewan Birney[31] and Hidden Markov models for protein and nucleic acid alignment and matching (e.g. HMMER) with Sean Eddy and Graeme Mitchison. A standard textbook "Biological Sequence Analysis" coauthored with Sean Eddy, Anders Krogh and Graeme Mitchison[15] describes some of this work. Using these methods Durbin worked with colleagues to build a series of important genomic data resources, including the protein family database Pfam,[32] the genome database Ensembl,[33] and the gene family database TreeFam.[34]

More recently Durbin has returned to sequencing and has developed low coverage approaches to population genome sequencing, applied first to yeast,[35][36] and has been one of the leaders in the application of new sequencing technology to study human genome variation.[37][38] Durbin currently co-leads the international 1000 Genomes Project to characterise variation down to 1% allele frequency as a foundation for human genetics.

Awards and honours

Durbin was a joint winner of the Mullard Award of the Royal Society in 1994 (for work on the confocal microscope), won the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Award of the Foundation for Science and Technology in 2004, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004[2][39][40] and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2009.

Durbin's candidacy for the Royal Society reads:

"Durbin is distinguished for his powerful contribution to computational biology. In particular, he played a leading role in establishing the new field of bioinformatics. This allows the handling of biological data on an unprecedented scale, enabling genomics to prosper. He led the analysis of the C. elegans genome, and with Thierry-Mieg developed the database software ACEDB. In the international genome project he led the analysis of protein coding genes. He introduced key computational tools in software and data handling. His Pfam database allowed the identification of domains in new protein sequences; it used hidden Markov models to which approach generally he brought rigour and which led to covariance models for RNA sequence."[41]

Personal life

Durbin is the son of James Durbin and is married to Julie Ahringer, a scientist at the Gurdon Institute. They have two children.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 DURBIN, Richard Michael. Who's Who. 2014 (online edition via Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard M. Durbin's publications indexed by Google Scholar, a service provided by Google
  3. 3.0 3.1 Durbin, Richard (1987). Studies on the development and organisation of the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Birney, Ewan (2000). Sequence alignment in bioinformatics (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. "Heng Li Credits Durbin Pedigree in Accepting Franklin Award". http://www.bio-itworld.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-27. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). open access publication - free to read
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  16. http://www.biochemist.org/society/page.htm?item=37150 EMBO welcomes 66 leading life scientists as members
  17. "Dr Richard Durbin - Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute". Archived from the original on 2012-03-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Richard M. Durbin's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  19. Dr Richard Durbin at Debrett's People of Today
  20. Richard Durbin archive collection Richard Durbin entry in the Wellcome Library archive.
  21. Richard M. Durbin's results at the International Mathematical Olympiad
  22. "The BioInformer nr. 1, 1997 -- Interview with Dr. Richard Durbin". Archived from the original on 2011-07-30. Retrieved 2011-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Durbin, Richard (1987). Studies on the development and organisation of the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  39. List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  40. Richard M. Durbin's publications indexed by the DBLP Bibliography Server at the University of Trier
  41. "Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 2013-11-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>