MAARS P8 KINGS

Kings College London King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has more than 21,000 students from nearly 140 countries, and more than 5,700 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing worldclass teaching and cutting-edge research with an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
St John’s Institute of Dermatology, part of the Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at Kings College has an international reputation for translational research in dermatology. This is based on a strong clinical foundation with many tertiary services including those pertinent to this application (psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, a service headed by Prof J Barker). State of the art facilities exist to allow a seamless integration of research, from gene identification, through functional analysis of important biological pathways, data analysis and detection of relevance to the clinical situation. This in great part is based on programme grant funding from MRC and Wellcome Trust.


Main tasks of Barker’s group and Previous experience
Prof Barker is head of WP1. His main scientific task is the delivery of high quality clinical information (phenotype) coupled to deep genotyping of DNA from the same patients. This is enabled by the Medical Dermatology Tissue Bank at St John’s Institute of Dermatology allowing rapid access to large numbers of validated samples with complete phenotypic and genotypic information. Serum is also stored on all patients. He has a very strong track record in this field and the tissue bank is arguably the largest worldwide (see references for data accrued from this tissue bank).

A short profile of the staff-members involved in the project
Jonathan Barker has been Professor of Clinical Dermatology since 2000, becoming head of department in 2002. He is co-director of the Clinical Research Unit and head of the Severe Psoriasis Service, a very busy tertiary referral service. His research interests focus on inflammatory skin diseases, particularly psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, extending from gene identification to clinical intervention studies. He provides the clinical lead for a large UK-based group attempting to identify psoriasis susceptibility genes through linkage analysis and genome wide association studies. Through an MRC funded consortium at King’s College London, he is part of a group (which includes Frank Nestle) aiming to translate this information into changes into clinical practice. He is an advisor to government agencies on new technologies for psoriasis. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, given multiple plenary talks at international meetings, and is co-author of the chapter on psoriasis of the major English language textbook of dermatology. He sits on the Editorial board of several dermatology journals. He is an Executive Member and past President of the European Dermatology Forum, and a director of the International Psoriasis Council.

1. Quaranta M, et al. Genes Immun. 2009 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Brown SJ, et al.. J Invest Dermatol. 2008;128:1591-4.
3. Capon F, et al. Hum Mol Genet. 2008, 17:1938-45.
4. Wolf N, et al. J Med Genet. 2008 Feb;45(2):114-6.
5. Barker JNWN, et al. J. Invest Dermatol 2007, 127:564-567.
6. Ekelund E, et al. Am J Hum Genet. 2006, 78:1060-5.


Professor Frank O. Nestle holds the Mary Dunhill Chair of Cutaneous Medicine and Immunotherapy, at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London. He is Director of the Clinical Research Facilities, a member of the Biomedical Research Centre Executive and Non Executive Director at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals. He is also Lead of the NIHR BRC Cutaneous Medicine/Dermatology Theme and the Director of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Society (FOCIS) Centre of Excellence King’s College London. His main research interests include the pathogenesis and immunotherapy of psoriasis, and the role and therapeutic modulation of dendritic cells in inflammatory and neoplastic skin diseases. He has given over 250 scientific lectures at national and international conferences. He has published over 100 scientific articles in publications such as Nature, Nature Medicine and New England Journal of
Medicine.

Main tasks of Nestle’s group
Prof. Nestle is chair of the WP6. The main scientific task of the group is animal experimentation with novel xenograft model of psoriasis (WP6). The group also participates in transcriptomics data generation (WP3) cellular studies (WP5).

1. Nestle FO, et al Nat Rev Immunol. Vol 9, 2009 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Nestle FO, Kaplan DH, Barker J. N Engl J Med. 2009; 361:496-509
3. Conrad C, et al. Nature Med. 2007 13:836-42
4. Lande R, et al. Nature. 2007 449:564-9
5. Nestle FO, J Clin Invest. 2007 117:2382-5
6. Capon F, et al. Hum Genet. 2007 June 22: 201-206


The Centre for Bioinformatics was established in 2007 as a joint venture between the Physical Sciences & Engineering School and the Biomedical Health Sciences School at King’s College London. The Centre’s objective is to promote interdisciplinary research in Bioinformatics, to establish the basis for sustainable management and distribution of bioinformatics resources and to instigate original, collaborative research projects within KCL and outside. The Centre also runs successful training programs at MSc and PhD levels. Research expertise in the Centre spans all major aspects of Bioinformatics, including Systems Biology, Computational and Comparative Genomics, Pathway and Microarray Informatics, Structural Bioinformatics.

Dr Sophia Tsoka is Lecturer in Bioinformatics at the Centre for Bioinformatics, King’s College London. She was previously Staff Scientist and Medical Research Council Fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute (Cambridge, UK). Her research expertise lies in the areas of Computational Genomics and Systems Biology, centred on computational methodologies for the systematic characterisation and classification of genomic networks and their biomedical implications. She has published more than 30 widely cited papers and book chapters that establish methodologies for network module prediction, protein interactions analyses, metabolic reconstruction for drug target identification and data classification for disease phenotype prediction. She maintains strong research collaborations with medical and engineering departments at King’s College, Imperial College and University College London and is member of the Faculty of Translational Medicine within the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Main tasks of the Centre for Bioinformatics and previous experience
In this project, Dr Tsoka will contribute to data management and integration, and the development of novel classification methodologies (WP4). These approaches will effectively link multiple data types and identify optimal subsets of genes that are good diagnostic indicators and achieve dimensionality reduction and elimination of noise in data analyses. She has previously worked on the development of microbial genome databases, the deployment of large-scale genome annotation projects and the generation of metabolic databases for sequenced microbial species. Currently, she is involved in the analysis of gene expression data in psoriasis to develop machine learning protocols that generate transcriptional signatures and stratify psoriatic patients according to expression patterns.
1. S. Tsoka, Computers and Chemical Engineering, 31, 943-949, 2007.
2. P.D. Karp, et al., Nucleic. Acids Res., 33, 6083-6089, 2005.
3. S. Tsoka, et al, Archaea, 1, 223-229, 2004.
4. I. Yeh, et al., Genome Research, 14, 917-924, 2004.
5. C. von Mering, et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 15428-15433, 2003.

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