Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes

Director of Bioinformatics

Michael holds a B.Sc. in Applied Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Cardiff University. After completing an EU-funded postdoctoral fellowship at University of Wales, Bangor, he joined GlaxoSmithKline to lead a computational biology team focused on the use of genetic, genomic and chemogenomic approaches for drug discovery and patient stratification. He also championed pre-competitive collaboration among pharma and with academia, and co-led an EFPIA team of pharmaceutical companies to gain €10M Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funding for the OpenPhacts project (www.openphacts.org), which is constructing “an open pharmacological space” - a suite of public bio- and cheminformatics resources for drug discovery. Michael now serves on the scientific advisory board of the OpenPhacts project. Michael is also passionate about improving the translational and collaborative interface between industry and academia. After fourteen years at GSK, he followed his passion for improving R&D collaborative interfaces to co-found Open Innovation Pharma Partners, with Dr Jackie Hunter, CBE. Michael joined the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI) in 2012 as the Director of Bioinformatics. His team are working across all research areas of the WHRI focused on the application of computational biology and bioinformatics to improve translational research.
Michael has published extensively and serves on several scientific advisory boards. He also edited the successful John Wiley Book, Bioinformatics for Geneticists, the third edition of which will be published in 2013. He holds a visiting Senior Lecturer post at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

Summary of Research

Dr Barnes has broad computational biology research interests spanning the translational research and  drug discovery continuum, from genetic and genomic methods for target identification to clinical informatics and patient stratification.  Active research projects in his team fall into the following key areas:

Pathway analysis of Genetic and Genomic data: Genome wide association studies (GWAS) and exome studies of complex trait pathology and drug response, including, Hypertension, Arrhythmia and Cardiovascular disease.
Exome and Whole Genome Re-sequencing: NGS pipeline development, Re-sequencing studies, causal variant identification and functional analysis.
Transcriptomic analysis: RNA-seq based transcriptomic analysis for biomarker identification and stratification of medicine response in Rheumatoid Arthritis (small RNA and mRNA). 
Chemogenomics and Drug Discovery: Target identification and druggability assessment, Chemogenomic analysis and connectivity map analysis.
Clinical Informatics: Development of Clinical datamarts to support translational research and stratified medicine. Currently developing IDBS inforsense and TranSMART based systems.

Members of the Group

Research staff: Dr C Cabrera; Anna Terry; Abu Hassan Hafiz

Key Publications

For a full list of publist publications click here

Sanseau, P, Agarwal P, Barnes MR, Pastinen T, Richards JB, Cardon LR, Mooser V. (2012) Use of genome-wide association studies for drug repositioning.  Nature Biotechnology, 30(4),317-320

Barnes, MR, Huxley-Jones, J, Molesworth, A, Kelly, FM, Taylor, A, Reid, J, Jones, N, Lennon, M, Schroeder, J, Kew, J, Maycox, P,  Angelinetta, C, Akbar, T, Hirsch, S, Mortimer, AM, Barnes, TR, de Belleroche, J (2011) Transcriptional analysis of the superior temporal cortex (BA22) and anterior prefrontal cortex (BA10) in schizophrenia: Insights into disease pathology from pathway analysis. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 89(8):1218-27

Knight, J, Barnes, MR, Breen, G and Weale, M (2011) Functional annotation of hits from genomewide association studies. PLOS One, ;6(4):e14808.

Dow, DJ, Huxley-Jones, J, Hall, JM, Francks, C, Maycox, PR,Kew, J, Gloger, I, Mehta, N,, Kelly, FM, Muglia, P, Breen, G, Jugurnauth, S, Pederoso, I, St.Clair, D, Rujescu, D, Barnes, MR(2011) Evaluation of ADAMTSL3 as a candidate gene for schizophrenia susceptibility: Gene sequencing, functional analysis and imputation-based ultra-high density association analysis. Schizophrenia Research, 127(1-3):28-34

Barnes MR, Harland L, Foord SM, et al. (2009) Lowering industry firewalls: pre-competitive informatics initiatives in drug discovery. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 8(9):701-8

Baranzini SE, Galwey NW, Wang J, Khankhanian P, Lindberg R, Pelletier D, Wu W, Uitdehaag BM, Kappos L; GeneMSA Consortium, Polman CH, Matthews PM, Hauser SL, Gibson RA, Oksenberg JR, Barnes MR (2009) Pathway and network-based analysis of genome-wide association studies in multiple sclerosis. Hum Mol Genet. 18(11):2078-90

Huxley-Jones J, Foord SM, Barnes MR. (2008) Drug discovery in the extracellular matrix. Drug Discov Today. 13(15-16):685-94

Bansal AT, Barnes MR. (2008) Genomics in drug discovery: the best things come to those who wait. Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 11(3):303-11

Pettersson F, Morris AP, Barnes MR, Cardon LR. (2008) Goldsurfer2 (Gs2): a comprehensive tool for the analysis and visualization of genome wide association studies. BMC Bioinformatics. 9:138

Barnes MR, Deharo S, Brown J, Sanseau P. (2007) The micro RNA target paradigm: a fundamental and polymorphic control layer of cellular expression. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 7(9):1387-99


National Institute for Health Research
Medical Research Council


Internal: Prof Mark Caulfield (WHRI); Prof Costantino Pitzalis (WHRI); Prof Leo Dunkel (WHRI); Prof Patricia Munroe (WHRI); Prof David Kelsell (Blizard).
External: Dr G. Breen (Institute of Psychaitry, KCL); Prof G. Ecker (University of Vienna).


Michael R. Barnes, BSc, Phd
Director of Bioinformatics
Barts and The London NIHR Biomedical Research Unit
William Harvey Research Institute
Charterhouse Square
London, EC1M 6BQ
T: +44 (0) 20 7882 2059
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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