Mick Watson



Mick Watson is an established bioinformatician, with 15 years’ experience in industry and academia. He was involved in the implementation and management of pipelines for functional genomics at GlaxoWellcome, SNP discovery at Incyte Genomics and Target Discovery at Paradigm Therapeutics, before joining the Institute for Animal Health as Head of Bioinformatics in 2002. He has been Director of ARK-Genomics since July 2010, and has won several grants to create a bioinformatics research group allied to the ARK-Genomics facility. His group's research focuses on the use of computational and mathematical techniques to understand genome function with an emphasis on systems of relevance to animal health and food security. Publications include both primary bioinformatics research papers and collaborative research in a variety of technical and scientific journals. The outputs from his research have included novel algorithm development, as well as the application of bioinformatics techniques to microbial and meta-genomics.



Bioinformatics, genomics and metagenomics applied to farm animal health and food security

A UN FAO report on the issue of "Food Security" forecasts that global food production will need to increase by over 40% by 2030 and by over 70% by 2050.  The objectives of research in farm animals must be  to increase yield, disease resistance, food production, food safety and quality and to decrease infections, water use, energy use, the environmental impact and the chance of zoonoses.  Genomics technologies are becoming increasingly critical in the pursuit of these goals, and second and third generation sequencing technologies have fuelled a revolution in biological research. I will present results from a range of collaborative research projects that demonstrate the power of sequencing technologuies and bioinformatics, including the use of metagenomics to investigate the rumen gut microbiome, with impacts in novel enzyme discovery, methane emissions and food production.



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