Research Biographies

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Biomedical Genomics

Reader in Computational Biology - Head of Bioinformatics

Colin Semple

Contact Details

E-mail address:
Telephone: +44 (0)131 651 8614
Fax: +44 (0)131 651 8800
Address: MRC Human Genetics Unit MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU
Research Programme: Regulatory Genomics in Evolution and Disease



I am Head of Bioinformatics at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), one of the largest UK MRC research establishments supporting approximately 500 scientists. I am also a Reader (Associate Professor) at the University of Edinburgh in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. My group carries out computational research in regulatory genomics and also provides collaborative expertise to experimental groups within the IGMM. I am a member of the EU EpiGeneSys network of excellence, a member of the MRC Research Training Referee Panel for Fellowships in Bioinformatics, Neuroinformatics or Computational Biology (2003-present), and a member of the editorial board of BMC Bioinformatics (2005-present). My group is core funded by the MRC.


Academic Qualifications 

  • Bachelor
    • 1990, Bachelor of Science, 2:1, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Doctorate
    • 1994, Doctor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Research in a Nutshell

The genes embedded in your genome have complex patterns of activity and particular constellations of genes must be active at particular times for biological processes, such as embryonic development, to conclude successfully. I am interested in the fundamental biology of gene regulation: when, how and why genes are turned on and off. We try to understand the mechanisms underlying gene regulation, using computational analyses of genomic datasets. This can provide new insights into human evolution and help us interpret disease processes with abberant regulation, such as cancers.