Recent graduate uses skills in bioinformatics and biology to support coronavirus clinical trials

Joseph Hearnshaw

Alumnus Joseph Hearnshaw works as a Research Scientist and Bioinformatics Software Engineer at Rothamsted Research and helps out with clinical studies at The Men’s Health Clinic. In his free time and across his work, he has been developing bio tools and helping with clinical studies.

In his job at Rothamsted, Joseph has been working on a free-to-use bioinformatics tool, KnetMiner, for scientists across the world to investigate the genetic interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and the human body. This will help researchers to identify novel drugs for clinical trials to fight the disease.

Joseph and the team have conducted this work in response to a request from the White House, Microsoft and others to find a way to rapidly search through masses of COVID-19 scientific data.

The alumnus has also been using his human biology skills and knowledge to help conduct and manage a clinical study at The Men’s Health Clinic in his spare time.

Using his research skills, Joseph will be analysing results for the clinic and helping to write medical blogs. The clinics’ current study, in partnership with the University of Brown, is investigating why coronavirus may present more severe cases in men than in women.

During his placement year as a researcher in the Translation Chemistry Biology Research Group at Loughborough University, Joseph found that bioinformatics was a great way to automate data analysis, and this area of work combined his interests in computer science and biology.

He said:

The biological knowledge, research skills, and statistics skills I gained on my degree have been absolutely vital to my masters and my current job.

I think that all of our high quality independent and group research tasks in our lab environments really helped to hone all my core biology and general teamworking skills and knowledge that’ve helped shape me into the bioinformatician I am today.

Joseph graduated from Loughborough in 2018 with a degree in Human Biology.