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Dr Nick Furnham

PhD

Associate Professor
in Computational Biology of Infectious Disease

Room
361

LSHTM
Keppel Street
London
WC1E 7HT
United Kingdom

Tel.
8374

Nicholas has expertise in computatioal biology, machine learning / AI, genomics and structural biology.

He joined the School as an independent investigator supported by a MRC Strategic Skill Fellowship in Methodology Research. Prior to this he was a staff scientist / post-doctoral research in the group of Prof. Dame Janet Thornton at the European Bioinformatics Institute (an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory). He completed his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Sir Tom Blundell in the Biochemistry Department at Cambridge University after a MSc. in Bioinformatics at Exeter University. His original undergraduate training in Biological Science, where he specialised in parasitology, was at King’s College London. 

Affiliations

Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology

Centres

Antimicrobial Resistance Centre

Teaching

Nicholas runs the antimicrobial chemotherapy module and contributes to several MSc. modules including Pathogen Genomics, Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA Techniques and Advanced Training in Molecular Biology.

In addition, he supervises research students and those interested in undertaking a project should contact him directly.

Research

Dr. Furnham’s research interest focus on the development and application of computational methods to important questions in infectious disease biology. Using an interdisciplinary approach combining biology and chemistry with computer science we develop new algorithms and bioinformatics tools through large-scale integrative data processing. His research group is exploiting the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence in projects addressing questions in antimicrobial resistance and the development of novel therapeutics.

The Furnham group leads several projects including:

  • understand the molecular consequences of genomic variance through GWAS studies in surveillance and tracking of antimicrobial resistance;
  • the development of novel therapeutics using a combination of structure led high-throughput fragment based screening with pharmacogenomics and high-content screening. This has been applied to developing new anti-schistosomal agents and was nominated for a Newton Prize.
  • the development of a resource, FunTree (www.funtree.info), which brings together on a large-scale from thousands of genomes protein sequences, structures, taxonomy, phylogenetic analysis and comparisons of protein function.

 Prior projects have included putting allergy into its evolutionary context by establishing molecular similarities between known allergens and proteins in multicellular parasites. We verified these predictions experimentally to show new proteins in parasitic worms that cause allergy like immune responses, demonstrating that allergy is the price we pay for evolving immunity to these parasites. This work has received interest in the wider media with reports in Science and the Smithsonian (amongst others).

Research Area
Bacteria
Drug discovery and development
Drug resistance
Helminths
Parasites
Trypanosomes
Chemotherapy
Medicines
Methodology
Protozoa
Modelling
Discipline
Genomics
Biochemistry
Genetics
Molecular biology
Parasitology
Pharmacology
Bioinformatics
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Leishmaniasis
African trypanosomiasis
Allergy
Chagas Disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Schistosomiasis
Country
Brazil
Region
World

Selected Publications

Genome-wide analysis of multi- and extensively drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Coll, F. ; Phelan, J. ; Hill-Cawthorne, G.A. ; Nair, M.B. ; Mallard, K. ; Ali, S. ; Abdallah, A.M. ; Alghamdi, S. ; Alsomali, M. ; Ahmed, A.O. ; Portelli, S. ; Oppong, Y. ; Alves, A. ; Bessa, T.B. ; Campino, S. ; Caws, M. ; Chatterjee, A. ; Crampin, A.C. ; Dheda, K. ; Furnham, N. ; Glynn, J.R. ; Grandjean, L. ; Minh Ha, D. ; Hasan, R. ; Hasan, Z. ; Hibberd, M.L. ; Joloba, M. ; Jones-López, E.C. ; Matsumoto, T. ; Miranda, A. ; Moore, D.J. ; Mocillo, N. ; Panaiotov, S. ; Parkhill, J. ; Penha, C. ; Perdigão, J. ; Portugal, I. ; Rchiad, Z. ; Robledo, J. ; Sheen, P. ; Shesha, N.T. ; Sirgel, F.A. ; Sola, C. ; Oliveira Sousa, E. ; Streicher, E.M. ; Helden, P.V. ; Viveiros, M. ; Warren, R.M. ; McNerney, R. ; Pain, A. ; Clark, T.G. ;
2018
Nat Genet
Understanding molecular consequences of putative drug resistant mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Portelli, S. ; Phelan, J.E. ; Ascher, D.B. ; Clark, T.G. ; Furnham, N. ;
2018
Sci Rep
Computationally-guided drug repurposing enables the discovery of kinase targets and inhibitors as new schistosomicidal agents.
Giuliani, S. ; Silva, A.C. ; Borba, J.V.V.B. ; Ramos, P.I.P. ; Paveley, R.A. ; Muratov, E.N. ; Andrade, C.H. ; Furnham, N. ;
2018
PLoS Comput Biol
Discovery of New Anti-Schistosomal Hits by Integration of QSAR-Based Virtual Screening and High Content Screening.
Neves, B.J.; Dantas, R.F.; Senger, M.R.; Melo-Filho, C.C.; Valente, W.C.; de Almeida, A.C.; Rezende-Neto, J.M.; Lima, E.F.; Paveley, R.; Furnham, N.; Muratov, E.; Kamentsky, L.; Carpenter, A.E.; Braga, R.C.; Silva-Junior, F.P.; Andrade, C.H.;
2016
J Med Chem
Comparisons of Allergenic and Metazoan Parasite Proteins: Allergy the Price of Immunity.
Tyagi, N. ; Farnell, E.J. ; Fitzsimmons, C.M. ; Ryan, S. ; Tukahebwa, E. ; Maizels, R.M. ; Dunne, D.W. ; Thornton, J.M. ; Furnham, N. ;
2015
PLoS Comput Biol
Exploring the evolution of novel enzyme functions within structurally defined protein superfamilies.
Furnham, N.; Sillitoe, I.; Holliday, G.L.; Cuff, A.L.; Laskowski, R.A.; Orengo, C.A.; Thornton, J.M.;
2012
PLoS Comput Biol
FunTree: a resource for exploring the functional evolution of structurally defined enzyme superfamilies.
Furnham, N.; Sillitoe, I.; Holliday, G.L.; Cuff, A.L.; Rahman, S.A.; Laskowski, R.A.; Orengo, C.A.; Thornton, J.M.;
2011
Nucleic Acids Res
Missing in action: enzyme functional annotations in biological databases.
Furnham, N.; Garavelli, J.S.; Apweiler, R.; Thornton, J.M.;
2009
Nat Chem Biol
See all Dr Nick Furnham's Publications