Dr Ian Simpson is a Principal Investigator in the Patrick Wild Centre and the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation in the School of Informatics.
As the global population grows, so too does the rate of neurological disease – particularly among people in the developing world. Those of us concerned with the start and end of life face an increasing challenge to develop fast and effective ways to discover the underlying mechanisms of these diseases and new ways of designing drugs to treat them.
DATA SCIENCE FOR THE BRAIN
Our research aim is to increase our understanding of the molecular underpinning of neurological diseases and to identify more specific and effective ways in which to treat and prevent them. We believe that in using a sound mechanistic-systems based approach, we will be pinpoint new high quality drug targets, which are cheaper and quicker to produce than they are at the moment.
To this end we are developing statistical, machine learning, modelling and computer science approaches in collaboration with colleagues in the Patrick Wild Centre who are involved in experimental neuroscientific research as well as pharmaceutical companies. We apply these research methods to the study autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.
Our methodological approaches fall into four main categories:-
- Statistical and machine learning based integration of bio-molecular data types e.g. hierarchical Bayesian networks, coDA, ‘graph’ based methods
- Digitisation of biology e.g. ontological, graph-based mapping, natural language processing (NLP) methods
- Dynamical modeling of biological systems across scales e.g. rule-based-languages, Kappa, BioPepa
- Algorithm, software and pipeline development e.g. R/Bioconductor packages, databases, web-applications and services.