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CReSt core bioinformatician appointed to support and up-skill cancer researchers in Wales

Alex Gibbs has been appointed as the core bioinformatician for the Wales Cancer Research Strategy (CReSt) at the Wales Cancer Research Centre (WCRC). Alex is an expert in cancer research with a focus on skin cancer and brings invaluable experience in RNA sequencing and single cell RNA sequencing bioinformatics analyses.

In this new role, Alex aims to support cancer researchers across Wales with their bioinformatics needs. The primary objective is to enhance researcher’s skills and equip them with the necessary tools for effective data analysis. This support will be provided through various means, including directing researchers to relevant learning resources and offering hands-on teaching and tutorials.

The funding for this pivotal position has been made possible through the WCRC CReSt Catalytic Funding bid 2023-2025, reflecting the Centre’s commitment to advancing cancer research and fostering collaboration within the Welsh research community.

Alex said: “There is a plethora of publicly available cancer data out there that is waiting to be utilised by other cancer researchers. This data may enable researchers to answer their research questions without the need of performing the sequencing themselves. People who don’t have the experience required to analyse this public data may be put off as it can be a daunting task, however, I am here to help with this!”

Looking ahead, Alex envisions a future where cancer researchers in Wales are empowered to conduct their bioinformatics analyses and integrate bioinformatics seamlessly into their research. He hopes that the assistance he provides will encourage researchers to include bioinformatics in future grant applications, ultimately paving the way for more funding and the establishment of a dedicated Welsh Cancer Bioinformatics Unit.  Alongside these activities, Alex would like to build a Welsh network of Cancer bioinformaticians to share expertise and represent Wales in international cancer networks.

To facilitate access to valuable resources and guidance, Alex has started to develop informative webpages that serve as a hub for researchers. The pages include a homepage detailing available assistance and linked pages, a Cancer Research Resources page signposting useful resources, and a “What to do with a gene list” page offering tools and tutorials for essential analyses. He has also created three quick tutorial videos on some of the more popular tools: Gorilla & REVigoEnrichr and gProfiler.  Alex looks to grow this resource as part of his role and offer short courses around popular themes within the Cancer community.

Alex is eager to assist cancer researchers throughout Wales, offering guidance on data analysis, sequencing data processing, and training. Researchers seeking assistance or guidance can reach out to Alex via email.