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Philanthropy fuels bioinformatics appointment

Posted: 09th December 2018

Dr Davis McCarthy has joined St Vincent’s Institute (SVI) as Head of the new Bioinformatics and Cellular Genomics Laboratory, as a joint appointee with the University of Melbourne.

The position has been facilitated by a generous donation to the University by former SVI Board member Mr Paul Holyoake and his wife, Ms Marg Downey.

Dr McCarthy is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow who has spent the last 7 years working in the U.K., initially at the University of Oxford and then at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). In his time overseas, Dr McCarthy worked at the interface of cutting-edge statistics, computing and cell biology and brings back to Australia unique expertise in complex data analysis.

As the newly appointed Holyoake Research Fellow, Dr McCarthy will focus on developing methods to interpret the large data sets being produced by researchers using modern sequencing technologies. Dr McCarthy has a particular interest in single-cell genomics and in devising analysis frameworks for studies into the effects of changes in DNA on gene expression in individual cells.

An important part of his role will involve his formal link with the University’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, through its new research unit Melbourne Integrative Genomics (MIG).

MIG Director, Professor David Balding, said, “This new position will help establish MIG as a world leader in mathematical and computational methods for genomics, and form an important bridge between medical researchers interested in the origin and progression of disease, and cutting-edge research in computational genomics. We hope it will lead to further collaboration between the organisations.”

Director of SVI, Professor Tom Kay, said that philanthropic support for rising stars like Dr McCarthy prepares the ground for an outstanding career in the sector.

“The generous donation from Paul Holyoake and Marg Downey will give Dr McCarthy the time and resources to focus on establishing and advancing his research, and the opportunity to build important connections and knowledge. We are very grateful to the Holyoake family for their support.”

Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at the University of Melbourne Professor Jim McCluskey said, “It is fantastic to have Dr McCarthy return to Australia thanks to this very generous gift from the Holyoake family. His expertise in bioinformatics will flow through to many other research groups in the biomedical precinct and we look forward to, and value, his contribution.”

For more information please see: Bioinformatics and cellular genomics