Dr Nick Furnham PhD

Lecturer MRC Methodology Research Fellow


Nicholas joined the School as an independent investigator supported by a MRC Strategic Skill Fellowship in Methodology Research.

His research is focused on developing new computational methods to predict the function of proteins in infectious disease related genomes by:

The methods will be applied to specific problems in factious disease research, for example addressing the function of key enzymes involved in new drug treatments for Chagas disease with the aim of providing a better understanding of drug-resistance mechanisms. Another example of application is to add value to the results of high-throughput drug screens against schistosomes.

This furthers his post-doctoral research in the group of Prof. Dame Janet Thornton at the European Bioinformatics Institute (an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory), his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Sir Tom Blundell in the Biochemistry Department at Cambridge University and his original undergraduate training at King’s College London in Biological Science where he specialised in parasitology. 




The recent revolution in high throughput DNA sequencing, started by the Human Genome Project, has led to large collections of data on a diverse set of organisms. This notably includes the parasitic, bacterial and viral agents that cause infectious diseases, as well as the organisms that are responsible for disease transmission. The emergence of this data offers new and exciting opportunities to understand these disease-causing agents and to develop novel therapeutics.

An outstanding and challenging problem is to understand the functions of the proteins encoded by these genomes. Time and resources limit the number whose function can be experimentally determined; therefore methods for predicting function are of paramount importance. Moreover, new methods are required when applied to infectious diseases due to the complex relationships between the host organism and the disease causing agent. The best method for achieving this is using a multidisciplinary approach interfacing biology, chemistry and computer science techniques.

My research is focused on developing new computational methods to predict the function of protein in infectious disease related genomes and to apply them to specific problems in infectious disease research.

Research areas

  • Bacteria
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drug discovery and development
  • Drug resistance
  • Helminths
  • Medicines
  • Methodology
  • Modelling
  • Parasites
  • Protozoa
  • Trypanosomes


  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Parasitology
  • Pharmacology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • African trypanosomiasis
  • Allergy
  • Chagas Disease
  • Infectious disease
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Schistosomiasis


  • World

Other interests

  • 3D Structure
  • Analysis
  • Antiprotozoal Drug Discovery
  • Computing
  • Data
  • Drug Screening
  • Evolution
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Information Science
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Microarrays
  • Neglected Diseases
  • R statistical language
  • Research
  • Trypansoma cruzi
  • helminths
  • host virus interactions
  • molecualr biology
  • parasites
  • research and analysis
  • structural biology
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